by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union girls’ basketball team ushers in one of the most dynamic freshman classes in the state to surround their star senior point guard, as they look to build off last season’s incredible run to the Barre Auditorium.
Head coach Randy Lumsden was a smashing success in his first year on the bench, leading the Lady Cats to a 20-win season, including a trip to the Division III Final Four. He ran his offense through one of the best basketball players in the state of Vermont in Caitlyn Davison, who averaged 21 points per game to earn her second straight Vermont Dream Dozen selection. Both Davison and Lumsden were also named Mountain League Player and Coach of the Year after leading Hazen to 19 straight wins on their way to capturing a league title.
Lumsden will have holes to fill with the graduation losses of sharpshooter Alexis Christensen and the inside presence of Haley Michaud and Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Ella Gillespie. He does return plenty of experience however in seniors Davison, Tessa Luther, Sarah Collier, and CA defensive stopper Sadie Skorstad. Sophomores Julia des Groseilliers and Isabelle Gouin also return with invaluable varsity experience to add size and speed to the roster, along with Baylie Christensen, who’ll be rehabbing an injury for the majority of the season.
“We have 10 girls on varsity right now and we brought up five players from eighth grade to fill out the JV roster. Caitlyn scored over 400 points for us last season in what was a great season, but we hope to have a little more balance offensively as a team this year, which is good. We have good leadership with fellow seniors Tessa, Sarah, and Sadie and Julia has the size to be the true big that we’ll need underneath,” said Lumsden.
Filling out Lumsden’s roster and pushing for starting roles will be a dynamic freshman class led by Taylor Thompson, Autumn Dailey, Mya Lumsden, and Kelsey Rivard. This talented group led the Lady Cat junior varsity team to an undefeated season last winter under head coach Alison Blaney and gave Cat Nation a preview of their athleticism this past fall on the soccer pitch. Lumsden has helped develop this class since they were in middle school and truly believes they can be the best freshman class in the entire state.
“We are going to be more athletic and faster across the board this season and we’ll have more options to trap and execute full court pressure. These freshman will be a great addition to our team and they’ll play meaningful minutes for us this season. We had a great run last season, but we strengthened up our schedule a bit this year and hopefully that gets us better prepared for postseason play,” said Lumsden.
The Lady Cats added Division II Enosburg and Lyndon Institute to their non-league schedule, along with defending Division IV state champion West Rutland. The Lady Golden Horde were a perfect 23-0 last season and have reached the Barre Auditorium 11 years in a row. Hazen will have one final tune up against Richford on Wednesday, before tipping off the high school basketball season at home against Enosburg on Friday night. They are scheduled to have their first road test text Tuesday against Danville.