By Mal Boright
The old year, 2013, was alright for the defending Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High girls’ basketball team.
To go with the school’s first girls’ roundball title in over two decades, the Redhawks went 23-0. Yup, that was a zero in the loss column.
And now, in the new year and six games into the winter season, coach Ute Otley’s combine will take a 6-0 mark into a home session with Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans Friday night at 7 p.m.
The Comets come to Hinesburg with a 3-1 record. Their latest victory was Monday night’s 44-40 triumph over South Burlington High.
A four-game home stand concludes on Tuesday (6:30 p.m.) with 1-4 North Country Union paying a visit to Bremner Gymnasium.
CVU’s final contest of 2013 was Monday night’s 57-34 worker bee victory over Route 116 foe Mount Abraham Union (3-2). It was the Redhawks’ second thumbs-upper over the Eagles in two weeks. CVU bopped the Birds 45-25 Dec. 20 in Bristol.
Last Friday, in the first rematch of last winter’s Division 1 finalists, coach Otley’s rambunctious rascals (as in defensive demons) inflicted a serious ding on Rice Memorial High, 52-32.
Mount Abe did not succumb quickly. Veteran coach Connie LaRose’s Division 2 crew led 14-13 midway through the second period when CVU, fueled by center Laurel Jaunich’s three inside baskets plus a free throw, opened an 11-0 run before an Eagle three-pointer at the halftime buzzer cut the CVU edge to 24-17.
Jaunich had a double-double doozie of a night with 14 points and 13 collections off the glass. Included were a pair of assists and two steals.
Emily Kinneston, held to one bucket in the first half (but plenty of other contributions) unleashed 15 points in the second 16 minutes as the Redhawks pulled away. The all-around performer finished with a game-high 17 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists.
A huge second half also came from Amanda Beatty, who unloaded all of her 10 points including six-for-six from the free throw line. Beatty also had six rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.
Guard Kaelyn Kohlasch popped nine points and chalked up three assists while wandering in among the redwoods and bagging four rebounds, helping the ‘Hawks control the boards.
Six-footer Isabelle Brennan led Mount Abe with 11 points and forward Ashley Fay had 10.
CVU went 22-for-49 from the floor and a nifty 11-for-12 at the charity stripe.
In possibly a first, the Redhawks did not commit a foul through the first half. It was not until there were six minutes and 34 seconds remaining in the third period that a CVU player was whistled for a naughty. Mount Abe was just one-for-two at the line.
On Friday, Kinneston with 16 points and Jaunich with 13 also paced the attack against Rice, which after trailing by as many as seven points midway through the second period, momentarily zoned out the Redhawks’ offense to close to within 23-20 by halftime.
Call for the Big D, as in defense.
Jaunich (from Amanda Lougee), Kinneston and Jaunich again (from Kinneston) nailed three straight CVU cord cutters to open the second half as the Green Knights suddenly began giving up the ball on boo-boos. Rice veteran Hailee Barron briefly broke the spell for Rice with a lengthy trey and driving layup, but CVU responded with four straight hoops, three by Jaunich, to open a 37-25 advantage.
Barron scored a deuce at the end of the quarter, but the Redhawks opened the closing reel with a 13-3 run to unhorse the Knights.
A nervous moment came for CVU early in the third period when Kinneston picked up two fouls within 20 seconds of each other, her second and third of the game. Otley kept Kinneston in the fray and she soldiered on, never getting the fourth foul.
She continued to be a leading zapper in the CVU defense, which produced 14 Rice turnovers after intermission, helping the Redhawks take control of events.
The CVU glass crew won the rebound wars, led by Jaunich with nine grabs while Kinneston and Jenna Brassard had four each. Jaunich, Kohlasch and Caitlin Grasso were top assisters, each with three.