Jan. 14, 2010
By Mal Boright
With Tuesday night’s much needed 67-61 triumph at South Burlington High in the rearview mirror, the 8-3 Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team was looking ahead to Friday night’s 7 p.m. home contest against defending Division 1 champion Rice Memorial High.
Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Mike Clayton of Champlain Valley Union High gets a little hang time while adding two points in second half action against South Burlington on Tuesday. In CVU’s 67-61 win, Clayton roared off the bench to score 14 points, take down five rebounds, assist on two hoops and provide two steals.
The youthful Green Knights will roll into Hinesburg with a 2-8 record. But the Knights put a 54-33 licking on St. Johnsbury Academy on Monday night in the Northeast Kingdom, a team the Redhawks bopped 62-30 last week at Bremner Gym.
That was CVU’s lone victory in the last four games coming into the clash with then 7-2 South Burlington High.
On Saturday, the Hawks got nailed 65-49 at home by a hot running and shooting Essex High unit.
Tuesday night, CVU coach Scott Bliss got help from many players as the Redhawks put together double digit leads, watched the Rebels fight back and then rapped for order with big plays in key moments.
Primary chef of the big soufflé called victory was junior Jake Donnelly, who turned up the heat when the times called for it.
In the third period, a first half 12-point lead and the game’s outcome appeared in serious jeopardy for CVU. The Rebels, led by reserve Hayden Chichester (7 of his 9 points), took the lead 43-42 for the first time in the game with 2:19 left in the quarter.
Donnelly, at the time just two-for-nine from the floor against the Rebs’ special attention, turned the trend back toward the Hawks with a barrage of three straight long treys, including a pressured jumper from just inside the half court line at the buzzer to put CVU up 51-45 entering the final stanza.
Donnelly later was the chief protector of the lead in the lengthy closing minutes, getting the ball early and drawing fouls from the trailing Rebels. The CVU leader nailed seven of 11 charity shots in the final period, including four of six in the final 1:18.
“Jake wants the ball and likes to get to the foul line in those situations,” Bliss said.
Tough inside operator Will Hurd snared four key rebounds in that frantic final period, and also swished three of four from the line in the closing minute.
Another key play came earlier in the fourth quarter after South Burlington had closed to within 53-52 with a seven-point run.
A Donnelly free throw at 3:18 restored a two-point lead. After a defensive stop of the Rebs, CVU worked the ball around the South Burlington zone until Robert Russ got loose on the baseline with a drive and layup over the presence of 6-foot-6 Rebel center Josh Varney. That gave the Hawks a 56-52 edge with 2:18 left. It was only their second and final hoop of the period.
Varney, an intimidating inside operator, had 16 points and 10 rebounds for South Burlington.
“He is a handful,” said Bliss, who also praised the work of 6-foot-5 junior Eoin Karnes (3 points, 4 rebounds), who made his first start with the job of matching up with Varney.
CVU-South Burlington, Score
CVU 14 21 16 16 – 67
SBHS 10 17 18 16 – 61
Donnelly 5-14 8-12 21, Hurd 2-9 3-4 7, Karnes 1-3 1-2 3, Russ 2-7 1-2 5, Nigh 2-3 0-0 6, Gale 1-4 0-0 2, Clayton 7-8 0-0 14, Hart 1-1 1-1 3, Beaton 2-2 2-2 6, Rensch 0-0 0-0 0, Leckerling 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 16-23 67.
South Burlington (61)
Barrett 1-1 0-0 2, Chu 1-1 0-0 2, Varney 4-8 8-10 16, Dubuque 2-7 3-6 7, Mallory 3-9 4-8 10, Cassidy 4-5 4-5 12, Corbiere 0-1 0-0 0, Seward 1-4 0-0 3, Chichester 4-6 1-1 9. Totals 20-42 20-30 61.