Hoops team returns home with winning smile (1/28/10)

Jan. 28, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Having displayed some true grit in nudging past Mount Mansfield Union High 47-40 Monday night at the Cougars’ Jericho Center lair, the 9-4 Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team will entertain North Country Union at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Bremner Gymnasium.

The Falcons will wing in with a 2-10 record as of Monday.

“It was a gritty victory,” a relieved coach Scott Bliss said after the hard-earned triumph over the young but determined MMU squad.

The Redhawks trailed 32-28 late in the third period before initiating a slow but steady 12-point run that carried late into the final reel. The Cougars didn’t score again until an Eric Suder put-back and free throw that cut the CVU lead to 40-35 with 1:47 left to play.

Redhawks point guard Chris Beaton, who had one of his best performances of the season, nailed two charity tosses at 1:37. But MMU’s Ethan Brown (15 points) then launched an intercontinental trey with 57 seconds on the clock, cutting the lead to 42-38 and causing angst on the CVU side.

The Cougars had to foul to stop the clock and the Redhawks, despite a so-so shooting night at the line, were able to drain enough charity flips to stay in command. Overall, CVU hit just 19 of 34 freebies.

Bliss had praise for Beaton, saying after the contest, “He carried us at times.”

The senior led scorers with 16 points, hitting five of six shots from the field while adding a pair of assists and four big steals.

Big contributions also came from center Will Hurd. Held without a hoop, the solid citizen hit three of four free throws and hauled down three of his nine rebounds in the prime time final quarter. Two of those rebounds came off the offensive glass on missed CVU free throws and kept vital possession of the ball for the Redhawks.

The Cougars varied man-to-man and zone defenses held Jake Donnelly to 13 points (4-for-10 from the floor), but the junior was invaluable with strong ball handling, eight rebounds and at least two assists.

Robert Russ chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds while big Eoin Karnes came off the bench and hauled in four rebounds — three of those and his lone free throw coming in the final reel.

“We played well late in the game,” Russ said.

That the Redhawks did.

“We moved the ball around and were patient, not taking the first shot that presented itself,” Bliss said.

The improving Mount Mansfield club led much of the way, at times by as much as four to six points, until CVU, on two free throws by Russ, opened that dozen-point run toward the end of the third period.

While Brown was the Cougar’s top gun with six of 10 from the floor, 6-foot-7 sophomore center Suder was a mountain near the CVU hoop, blocking five shots and hauling in eight rebounds to go with his seven points.


CVU                        12            10            10            15   –   47

MMU                       15            8              9               8     –   40


CVU (9-4)

Donnelly 4-10 5-7 13, Nigh 0-2 1-3 1, Hurd 0-6 3-6 3, Russ 4-8 3-6 11, Beaton 5-6 6-10 16, Gale 0-0 0-0 0, Clayton 1-1 0-0 2, Hart 0-0 0-0 0, Leckerling 0-0 0-0 0, Karnes 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 14-33 19-34 47.


MMU (6-7)

Lacy 2-6 3-4 7, Wright 1-1 1-2 3, Suder 2-9 3-5 7, Brown 6-10 2-2 15, Leland 0-6 0-0 0, Lavounty 2-3 0-0 5, Lecours 0-1 1-2 1, Sharrow 1-1 0-0 2, Chornyak 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-37 10-15 40.