By Mal Boright
Win number 13 of this so-far undefeated season for the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team came Tuesday night on the road: a 42-34 nudging of Spaulding High in Barre.
Coach Ute Otley and the Redhawks return to Bremner Gymnasium Friday at 7 p.m. to tangle with an 8-5 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans combine, coming off a Tuesday night 50-43 victory over Burlington High.
BFA will be motivated Friday. CVU whacked the Comets 45-27 in St. Albans Jan. 10, their first win in three years in the Railroad City.
At Spaulding Tuesday, guard Kaelyn Kohlasch, with 12 points, and inside operator Amanda Beatty, with 11, led the Redhawks.
Earlier this week, CVU was still aglow in the wake of the Hawks 48-44 triumph Friday night over previously undefeated defending Division 1 champion Rice Memorial High. It was the friendly combatants’ first meeting since the title contest last March.
One of the largest and loudest crowds in recent years saw a well-played thriller that was decided only after a heart-pounding closing minute at the end of which cool CVU freshman forward Laurel Jaunich got a hand on a desperate Rice three-point attempt.
For Jaunich and fellow freshman Sadie Otley, it was a coming out night of sorts, not that the two have not been prominent this season—because they have. And in the cauldron of excitement and noise, the placid pair excelled.
Jaunich hit six of eight shots from the floor and three of four from the free throw line in chalking up 15 points and nabbing four rebounds. Otley swished three of five floor shots and bagged a perfecto four-for-four from the line, including a pair of what proved to be game clinchers with just 23.6 seconds remaining, boosting the CVU lead to 48-42.
Also unflappable was veteran junior guard-forward and general pain-to-all-foes Emily Kinneston. After a night of shots rimming the hoop and just two points through three quarters—but with six rebounds and four assists—Kinneston knocked down nine points in the gritty final stanza, including a sweet quick jumper from the key with one minute and 27 seconds left, to give CVU some breathing room, 46-42. Kinneston finished with 11 points.
Senior inside worker Taylor Goldsborough got the ball to Kinneston for the key shot. Goldsborough was part of an operation on the boards that evened out the vital rebounding wars that saw Rice with a slight 22-21 lead despite the presence of big Cassidy Durda, who had a game high 16 points, but just five rebounds.
Beatty with five rebounds, Jaunich, Kinneston and Goldsborough all were key in the board work.
“Coach had us working on boxing out all week,” said Goldsborough, who added four points on inside shots and three rebounds to the effort. Beatty had five points along with the glass work.
Tomi Akinpetide added 14 points and five rebounds for the Green Knights.
The two teams meet again at Rice Feb.26.
Girls basketball box scores (Feb. 1)
Rice Memorial High (44)
Akinpetide, 6 2-3 14; Snell, 1 1-2 3; Durda, 7 1-3 16; Avonda, 2 1-2 5; Barron, 1 0-0 2; Zuk, 0 0-0 0; Cirignano, 1 0-0 2; Doe, 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 19 5-10 44
Lougee, 0 0-0 0; Kinneston, 5 0-0 11; Beatty, 2 1-2 5; Krupp, 1 0-0 2; Grasso, 0 0-0 0; Otley, 3 4-4 11; Jaunich, 6 3-4 15; Kohlasch, 0 0-0 0; Goldsborough, 2 0-2 4; Grevatt, 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 19 8-12 48
Rice 12 6 11 15 – 44
CVU 12 11 11 14 – 48