By Mal Boright
Smarting after a pair of home defeats, the Champlain Valley Union High boys’ basketball team hits the road Thursday for St. Johnsbury and the undefeated Hilltoppers.
The big yellow bus will fire up again Monday and haul the Redhawks to Jericho Center and Mount Mansfield Union for an attempt to get even for the 9-4 Cougars’ early season victory at CVU.
A two-game home stand ended Monday night in a knockabout 38-34 nudging by a big Spaulding High of Barre aggregation which hikes the Tide to 10-5, while dropping the Redhawks to 8-7.
On Thursday, CVU fell to 13-1 Rice Memorial High, 66-43.
Spaulding was led by junior center Marcus (B.D.) Thornton and senior Brooks Mayo.
(B.D. for Big Dude).
The massive 6-foot-7 Thornton and the 6-foot-5 Mayo meant CVU, playing without center Large Luke Aube, had to fire away from outside, and for much of the game -— at least for the Hawks — it was a trip through the Klondike, as frost settled over the hoop.
Through the first three quarters, the Redhawks drained only seven of 30 shots, a vexing 23 percent clip. Thanks to a hard man-to-man defense, forcing 20 turnovers that limited Spaulding’s shots at the wicket, the Redhawks were able to stay in contention. The Tide got off just 31 shots in the game, hitting 11. CVU finished 13-for-39.
Thornton wound up with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Mayo had nine points and 10 glass grabs.
Sparkplug Rumbling Ryan Beaudry (he goes to the boards, there is a rumble…and presto, he has the ball) got the center start for the Redhawks and performed well in muscle country under the baskets with 10 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots before fouling out in the final minute with CVU down by just 32-30.
With a very shaky lead, Spaulding gave the ball to floor general Evan Grubb, who went six-for-six at the charity stripe in the closing moments to keep the Tide in front.
CVU’s Zach Evans, with a late trey, and Ed Myers, with a steal and layup — both in the closing 50 seconds — gave Spaulding some very nervous moments.
Evans and Brad Bissonette each had eight points for the Redhawks, who got out-rebounded 28-19 by the Tide. CVU was a mediocre seven-for-15 from the line, while the visitors swished 16 of 20, including eight of nine in the final reel.
Against Rice, CVU trailed 32-18 at intermission, but tightened the defense in the third quarter, outscoring the Green Knights 8-2 over the first four-and-a-half minutes to close to within 34-26. Free throws helped Rice steady itself, and the Knights rolled up an 8-3 run early in the fourth quarter to regain control.
Beaudry, with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Aube, with 11 points and nine rebounds, led CVU. Casey Tipson and Marcus Willingham each scored 16 points to pace the winners.
Coach Seth Emerson’s junior varsity was nipped 38-37 by Rice for only its third loss of the season. The Little Hawks bounced back with a 50-28 triumph over the Tiny Tide.
Boys basketball box score
Spaulding High (38)
Bailey, 2 2-2 6; Mayo, 3 3-3 9; Thornton, 4 3-4 11; Watts, 0 0-0 0; Grubb, 2 8-11 12; Rochford, 0 0-0 0; Wagner, 0 0-0 0; LaPerle, 0 0-0 0; Kilian, 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 11 16-20 38
B. Bissonette, 3 2-2 8; Beaudry, 4 2-3 10; O’Connell, 0 0-2 0; S. Bissonette, 1 1-2 3; Busch, 1 0-0 2; Carroll, 0 0-2 0; Evans, 3 1-2 8; Lynn, 0 0-0 0; Myers, 1 0-0 2; Chevalier, 0 1-2 1.
Totals: 13 7-15 34
Spaulding 7 10 9 12 – 38
CVU 8 5 7 4 – 34