BURLINGTON — The second seeded Rutland High Raiders and the top seeded CVU Redhawks have advanced to the 2017 VPA Division One Championship game. Both picked up Semi-final wins on Tuesday night inside the Patrick Gym.
In the first game Rutland opened up a ten point third quarter lead, then fought of a fourth quarter Burlington rally to knock off the defending state champion Seahorses 41-38.
The teams battled through a tight defensive first half which saw Burlington’s Kevin Garrison and Rutland’s Matt Lorman each put up eight points and the Raiders go into the locker room up by two 19-17. The Raiders then took charge in the third with Nathaniel Kingsley hitting the first two three pointers of the game for either side and Lorman adding two more hoops. their lead peaked at ten, 31-21 before BHS netted the final three points of the quarter to trail by seven 31-24 heading to the fourth.
Burlington then mounted a steady rally in the fourth, riding six points from Garrison and Burlington’s only three of the game from Kujtim Hashani to move within one at 37-36. But the Raiders held on, with Kyle Cassarino sinking a pair of clutch free throws late to clinch the victory.
Lorman led the Raiders with 14 points with Kingsley adding a dozen and Noah Tyson chipping in nine. Garrison led all scorers with 19 points while pulling down nine rebounds in the loss as his Seahorses ended their season at 18-5.
In the nightcap the top seeded Redhawks roared out early and were never headed in blowing past fourth seed Missisquoi 68-37. CVU led 15-5 at the quarter and opened it up to 20 at 35-15 by halftime. CVU substituted liberally in the second half, using all 13 of their players and nine of them scored. Walker Storey led the way with a double double, putting up 18 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. Colin Monsey and Graham Walker both added 11 points and Matt Spear chipped in nine for the winners, while Richard Walker turned in a double double of his own with 15 points and a dozen boards in the loss for MVU as the Thunderbirds ended their year at 18-5.
The matchup in Monday’s title game should be a classic. CVU is 22-1. Rutland is 21-2. CVU has never won a state championship in boys hoop. Rutland has not won one in 50 years. Something has to give next Monday night when they both return to Patrick.