BURLINGTON — The Rutland Raiders ended a 50 year championship drought on Monday night, edging the CVU Redhawks 43-37 in overtime to claim the 2017 VPA Division One championship inside the Patrick Gymnasium.
With the game tied at 35 after regulation the Raiders outscored the Redhawks 8-2 in the extra session, riding a Nathaniel Kingsley basket, four free throws from Kyle Cassarino and a pair of free throws from Matt Lorman to their first title since 1967.
With a fullhouse on hand the game started slowly, with both teams looking nervous and sloppy in a 4-4 first quarter. Play picked up in the second, but great defense on both sides held the score down as the Raiders took a 15-14 lead into the locker room. The third quarter followed much the same pattern, with the Redhawks coming back to even things at 24 going to the final eight minutes of regulation.
But the fourth quarter carried serious fireworks. Rutland roared out the gate, getting a Lorman basket followed by a steal and a Noah Tyson three pointer to quickly take a five point lead. The margin built to seven before CVU mounted a furious comeback, as Walker Storey scored a pair of hoops and Josh Bliss buried a three before stealing a defensive rebound away from the Raiders to score the tying hoop with less than a minute to play in regulation.
But the OT belonged to Rutland.
Lorman led all scorers, pacing the Raiders with 18 points. Cassarino added 9 and Kingsley chipped in with eight while grabbing off six rebounds. Tyson scored only five, but had eight boards and five steals.
Bliss led the Redhawks with 10 points, with Colin Monsey adding eight.
Both teams finish the season at 22-2.