The Champlain Valley Union High School girls basketball team is off to a 6-0 start, the same record it had at this point last season, which ended with the program’s third Division I finals appearance since 2008.
And while the team’s record and balanced scoring are similar to last year, the Redhawks have switched up their plan of attack to accommodate new personnel.
“We want to turn the game into a track meet. I think we can go 12 deep on any given night,” said second-year CVU coach Ute Otley about implementing a full-court press. “I want to see how many guards in our league can handle this pressure for 32 minutes.”
Emily Kinneston and Kaelyn Kohlasch are two experienced guards for a Redhawks squad that has been forced to change to an uptempo, aggressive strategy after graduation took its toll on the team’s size and experience.
To make up for those losses, CVU has a deep, interchangeable roster filled with quick and athletic players. For example, Amanda Beattie and Amanda Lougee are frontcourt players with mobility, Otley said.
“Chaos is going to be to our advantage, make teams play crazy instead trying to out-control teams,” Otley said. “We can beat anybody or lose to anybody in our league.”
Robare on pace for record
Brianna Robare joined her sister, Bobbi Robare, as the only Winooski players to reach 1,000 career points last week.
Now the younger Robare is chasing older sister’s record mark of 1,289. Brianna, who is average around 21 points per game, sits at 1,027 for the 6-2 Spartans, according to coach Tom Prim. With 12 regular-season games remaining, Brianna is on pace to break the mark, which was set in 2004, in Winooski’s first or possibly second playoff game.
Thetford goes front-to-back
When Thetford lost forward Ella Chapman to a knee injury, coach Eric Ward was forced to take the Panthers’ game plan on both ends of the floor back to the drawing board.
“So much of what we did — offensively and defensively — was centered around Ella,” said Ward of Chapman, whose team-high 14 points against Winooski on Dec. 21 had helped Thetford extend its season-opening win streak to four games.
Ward’s solution has been to shift the team’s focal point from the frontcourt to the backcourt, onto the guard duo of Shyann Josler and Michaela Pomeroy — who have responded. Josler connected for 13 points in the Panthers’ win Tuesday over Peoples, in which Pomeroy racked up double-digit steals to go along with 11 points and five assists.
“(Pomeroy’s) ball pressure on Peoples’ point guard was a big factor in the game,” said Ward, noting that his two guards are skilled enough to share the point position for Thetford (7-1).