Playoffs start Friday at home
By Mal Boright
After putting away the first perfect regular season in the school’s history Friday, the 20-0 Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team starts the so-called second season (Division 1 playoffs) Friday night (7 p.m.) at Bremner Gymnasium against 12-9 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans in a quarterfinal.
The Redhawks drew a first-round bye by virtue of their number one division seed. Friday’s game will be the third this season against the Comets, who bumped off Burr and Burton Academy Tuesday night, 45-36.
And while the focus for coach Ute Otley and her rocking and rolling team is straight ahead, the success of this young quintet with just three seniors has so far produced a historic season to remember.
Otley said after the Hawks’ final regular season test, a 66-41 victory Friday over visiting Spaulding High, the campaign was a bit of a surprise to her given that the team graduated five of its top seven players last spring.
Guard Alex Krupp, one of the returning seniors, said the mix of veterans and new players, including freshmen Sadie Otley and Laurel Jaunich, have great team chemistry.
“Everybody came together,” she said. “Coach had us doing drills and running and emphasized that we could win games in the third and fourth quarters with our conditioning.”
The victory over 7-13 Spaulding was typical in that some 10 Redhawks had seen action by the end of the first quarter and the entire roster played significant minutes by the end of the contest, 11 of the 12 scoring, 11 grabbing at least one rebound and 10 picking Crimson Tide pockets for steals.
“We like to have everybody fresh,” said Otley.
Any semblance of a tight contest disappeared in the third quarter. Ahead 32-22, the Redhawks unloaded a T-Rex defense (it gobbled up everybody and everything in sight) that produced 13 turnovers by the befuddled Tide, while junior Emily Kinneston (12 points, six steals, three rebounds, three assists) hit four straight hoops off steals to help author a 19-0 run.
The onslaught was at 15 points when Otley called for a shift change with four minutes and 16 seconds left in the period. No sweat. Amanda Lougee and Krupp added baskets before Spaulding broke the string with a twofer. By then, CVU was up 51-24.
Junior guard Kaelyn Kohlasch led the scorers with 13, ripping the cords on five of seven floor shots. Senior Taylor Goldsborough snared seven rebounds and pilfered five steals.
The Redhawks, with many layups, shot 51 percent (25 of 49) from the floor and a snazzy 14-for-17 from the charity stripe. Spaulding, hampered by 32 turnovers, was 14-for-38 from the field.
Coach Kathy Kohlasch’s junior varsity also closed out a 20-0 season, but had to get through a tricky final quarter before putting down an upset-minded junior Tide.
Trailing 29-21 in the final reel, the Hawk yearlings shut down the visitors with full-court defense and finally took the lead 31-28 on an Annabelle Pugliese’s lay-in. Maddie Turneau’s two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining clinched a 35-32 triumph.
Girls basketball box score (March 1)
Fowler, 0 0-0 0; Clark, 1 1-2 3; Thygesen, 1 6-6 8; Bello, 3 1-3 7; Hardy, 1 0-0 3; LeCours, 3 0-2 8; Rochford, 0 0-0 0; Stevens, 1 0-2 2; Boucher, 2 0-0 5; McNally, 2 1-2 5.
Totals: 14 9-17 41
Beatty, 2 0-0 4; Kinneston, 6 0-0 12; Goldsborough, 1 2-2 4; Krupp, 2 2-2 6; Grasso, 1 0-0 3; Lougee, 1 1-2 3; Otley, 2 2-3 6; Jaunich, 1 5-6 7; Kohlasch, 5 2-2 13; Grevatt, 1 0-0 2; Brassard, 0 0-0 0; Bird, 3 0-0 6.
Totals: 25 14-17 66
Spaulding 11 9 8 13- 41
CVU 19 13 23 11- 66