October 22, 2014

Vermonter at Large: Basketball in the summer?

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By Mal Boright

Some thoughts managed to find their way through a thick Vermonter’s skull during last weekend’s trip to the Vermont-New Hampshire Twin-State basketball contests featuring graduated senior stars in Keene, N.H.

The unannounced gathering of 100 or so fans and general lack of significant interest by the news media in the two states leads one to wonder if these games would have more relevance if played in March after the state championships in Vermont and New Hampshire.
These games deserve better. They are still alive and hooping thanks to the work of Essex High’s Jeff Goodrich and other dedicated individuals who brought the contests back to life last year at Essex.
Coaches asked about the March idea seem supportive but with some reservations.
Some decades ago, the top division boys’ champions in the two states went on to the New England Interscholastic Tournament at Boston Garden each March. So, there is a precedent, even though it has some years on it.
One thing hasn’t changed. It can be quite wintry in March and in Vermont and New Hampshire that is basketball time.

In their 79-66 win, the Vermont girls were solid throughout the lineup with all players on the 12-person roster making contributions.
At one point in the second half, Vermont coach Ute Otley of Champlain Valley Union High put her CVU four of Amanda Beatty, Emily Kinneston, Kaelyn Kohlash and Amanda Lougee on the court along with guard Ashlie Fay of Mount Abraham Union.
In what would be their last hurrah as a unit, it was indeed a hurrah as they outscored New Hampshire 8-2 before making way for other teammates. The Vermont lead under their care went from 61-45 to 69-47.

CVU boys head coach Michael Osborne was as assistant with the Vermont team. Before the games, Osborne was talking about team members who had been impressive in practice and at the top of the list was Jason Manwaring of little Williamstown High.
Manwaring, playing inside against New Hampshire size, proved Osborne is a prophet as he canned 23 points in 28 minutes. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and came up with four steals to earn the team’s Most Valuable Player award.
Vermont, victimized by poor early shooting, bowed 91-75 to a big and quick New Hampshire outfit.

There was a passing thought to harp about the apparent fact that Granite State roads are in much better shape that those in Vermont. Yes, the ones this scribbler was on Saturday and Sunday were smooth and solid, even the two lane jobs.
However, there was road construction up and down Vermont’s Interstate highways, and since Route 2A here in Williston sits in all of its newly repaved glory, perhaps best not to rattle the road cage.
At least for now.

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