Scooter MacMillan, Editor
CVU 64, BFA-St. Albans 40
The Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team has the chance to do something the school has never done before — win a Vermont boys basketball title.
On Monday night, the top-seeded Redhawks handily defeated the Bellows Free Academy Bobwhites 64-40 to propel CVU into the Division 1 state-title showdown at 7 p.m. this Saturday, March 11, against No. 2 seed Rice at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gym.
Rice defeated No. 6 Brattleboro 76-49 in the first semifinal game at Patrick Gym on Monday.
This year has been historic for CVU (21-1) already. Ranked No. 1 for most of this season, the school has not ever been known as a basketball powerhouse. The RedHawks’ only other trip to the state finals was in 2017, a contest the team lost to Rutland in overtime.
CVU scored first and never trailed, but the Bobwhites made things interesting in the second quarter, pulling within one at 19-18 with less than five minutes to go in the first half. But then the Redhawks went on a 10-0 run to close out the second quarter, going into halftime ahead 29-18.
CVU outdistanced BFA-St. Albans even more during the third quarter to enter the final frame ahead 48-27.
Senior Logan Vaughan and junior Tucker Tharpe led the scoring for the Redhawks with 15 points apiece. Vaughan added 10 rebounds and 3 assists to his stats. Tharpe grabbed 5 rebounds.
BFA-St. Albans’ Liam Howrigan led all scoring with 16 points.
Saturday’s contest gives three Redhawks a second opportunity this year to make CVU history. Seniors Alex Provost and Max Destito and junior Ollie Cheer were members of the football team that won the school’s first-ever state gridiron title.
CVU 53, Rice 50
The Redhawks played their way into the semifinals by closing out the regular season at home with a tenacious defense of their No. 1 ranking with a 53-50 win over Rice.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair with CVU taking a slim 19-18 lead into the second quarter. Their lead had just grown to 30-28 at halftime.
The Redhawks fell behind by six, 40-34, during the third quarter, but a 7-0 splurge closed that frame with CVU ahead again, barely, at 41-40 as the final stanza began.
Critical 3-pointers near the end from sophomore Owen Eaton and junior Russell Willoughby helped the winning effort, as well as timely free throws by seniors Sam Sweeney and Provost.
Provost was scoring leader for CVU with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Vaughan tallied 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sweeney and Eaton both knocked down 8 points.
Closing the regular season at 19-1 tied the regular season CVU record in boys basketball set by the 2016-17 Redhawks.