Feb. 19, 2009
By Mal Boright
Hoping to improve their playoff seeding, the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team will close out the regular season Thursday night in Barre against 16-3 Spaulding High.
The Crimson Tide edged CVU 43-41 at Hinesburg in mid-January.
On Tuesday night, the 10-9 Redhawks saw a three-game winning streak end at Burlington High, where the 15-4 Seahorses prevailed 51-39.
Allison Gannon scored 19 points to lead all scorers. It was Burlington’s second triumph over CVU.
The Redhawks’ late season string of victories culminated with a tense 41-38 triumph over visiting Essex High (11-7) Friday night when Gannon sank three of four free throws in the final seconds to snap a 38-38 tie.
Gannon, the veteran junior, misfired on the first of two with 17.3 seconds remaining. Essex coach Shawn Montague called a timeout after the miss, apparently hoping to increase the foul shooter’s anxiety.
“I was nervous on the first shot, but I was able to relax during the time out,” Gannon said after the game.
“If he (Montague) had not called the timeout, I would have,” CVU coach Stan Williams said with a grin after the game.
She sank the second charity shot and then swished two more with five seconds left to clinch the hard-earned win.
CVU, which trailed 17-15 after a rugged and ragged first half of physical play and turnovers galore, raised the quality level of its participation in the third quarter as senior Kendal Kohlasch struck for nine points to kick-start what until then had been an unproductive (4-for-16 in the first half) offense.
The Redhawks, led by Gannon in the fourth quarter, charged to 34-28 and 36-30 leads before Essex came back to tie at 36 with 2:30 to go.
Kohlasch put CVU up 38-36, sinking one of two foul shots at 2:13 and again with 49 seconds left.
Antonia Armstrong-Laird put back a rebound for Essex to forge the final tie at 40 seconds.
Gannon got nine of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, helped by Kohlasch, who twice found her inside with deft passes for easy hoops. Senior Becca Russ — it was seniors and their parents night — got all of her four points and two of her six rebounds in the final reel.
Assist leaders were Amanda Kinneston with four, Kohlasch with three and Carlee Evans and Kendall Berry with two each.
Defensively, CVU relied primarily on a zone defense to hold Essex to 17 baskets in 60 shots. The Redhawks also kept fouls to a minimum, allowing the Hornets just five tries from the line, where they made three.