BURLINGTON — Senior Neva Bostic buried three three pointers to key a 14-2 third quarter, and the second seeded St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers won their second straight Vermont Principals Association Division One State Championship on Sunday afternoon, topping the top seeded and previously undefeated CVU Redhawks 42-35 inside the Patrick Gym.
With the game tied at 17-17 heading into the second half Bostic buried three treys, using a free throw to turn one of them into a four point play, as the Hilltoppers built a 12 point lead. CVU battled back in the fourth, getting as close as five points, but could not overcome the deficit.
The first half was evenly played, as St. Johnsbury used the scoring of Josie Choiniere (7 points) and Sadie Stetson (6 points) to offset five CVU three pointers as the team reached halftime tied at 17-17.
But then came Bostic’s third quarter heroics, followed by a fourth quarter in which the ‘Toppers did not score a single basket, but hit on 11 of 17 free throws (6 of 7 from Choiniere and 4 of 6 from Stetson) to hold on for the win.
For CVU it’s undefeated season ended in a flurry of missed opportunities. The Redhawks had a horrible afternoon shooting the ball from close range. The ‘Hawks made a respectable 7 of 15 three point attempts, but converted on only 4 of 28 two point shots, with missed bunnies critical to the final outcome.
The other story was the staying power of the five Academy starters. Stetson, Choiniere, Bostic, Saleena Porter and Lara Rohkohl played all but three minutes of the game, hanging on against a CVU club which as usual ran ten players in and out of the lineup.
Choiniere led the Hilltoppers with 13 points. Stetson, the three time Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year contributed 11, and Bostic delivered her huge 10, all in the decisive third quarter.
Mekkena Boyd had ten points and Catherine Gilwee added nine for CVU.
The Hilltoppers ended their year at 22-2. CVU finished up 23-1.