Hardwick, News

Barre Saves the Best for Last: Lady Cats Capture First Title Since ‘91

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Team captains Tessa Luther (left) and Caitlyn Davison (right) hold up the team’s trophies after Hazen Union’s championship win against Windsor, Saturday, at the Barre Aud.

BARRE – Hazen Union girls’ basketball team leaned on a second half for the ages from their senior point guard to knockoff two-time defending champion Windsor and capture the Vermont Division III State Championship in the last Vermont high school basketball game of the season, the.

Caitlyn Davison capped off one of the best high school careers in a Lady Cat uniform with a school record 34 points at the Barre Auditorium powering Hazen to a 66-56 win over Windsor to claim the state title on Saturday night. The two-time Vermont Dream Dozen selection and newly-minted 1,000-point scorer blistered the Lady Yellowjackets with 26 second half points, including four three-pointers.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
The Hazen Union 2024 Div. III state championship team after their 66-56 win against Windsor, March 9, at the Barre Auditorium included, front row (left to right): Sarah Collier, Mya Lumsden, Taylor Thompson, Tessa Luther, Kelsie Rivard, Caitlyn Davison and Sadie Skorstad; back row (left to right) managers Chloe Moodie, Kennidee Gouin and Carrie Gonyaw, players Sadie Gann, Ella Renaud, Baylie Christensen, assistant coaches Sue Rivard, Dorothy Hill and players Isabelle Gouin, Autumn Dailey, Julia des Groseilliers, head coach Randy Lumsden and assistant coach Alison Blaney.

Hazen came out of the break down 20-19, but Davison’s connection from long range to start the second half fueled an 11-0 run and the flood gates were open.

Freshman Kelsie Rivard, who was fresh off a record setting 33-point effort of her own against White River Valley in the semifinals on Thursday night, hit consecutive buckets to push Hazen’s lead to double digits, forcing Windsor to call timeout. Windsor was plus-8 on the boards in the first half, but head coach Randy Lumsden liked where his team was at with 16 minutes to play and stuck to the game plan.

“We didn’t adjust much at the break. Windsor is the team to beat in this division and our program prepared for this game and this match-up since December. They really controlled the boards in the first half, and we were only down one, so we thought if we cleaned that up and stuck to the game plan, we were going to be okay. Windsor’s size is real and their ‘bigs’ can take over a game, but Kelsie and Julia desGroseilliers did a phenomenal job battling them on the glass in the second half, and Caitlyn found that gear that she has and took the game over,” said Lumsden.

Senior Sydney Perry ended the Lady Cats run with three points the hard way to make it 30-23 out of the timeout, but sophomore Isabelle Gouin drilled a huge three for the Lady Cats to push the lead back to eight with three minutes left in the quarter.

Davison answered another run by Windsor with a pair of step-back threes and a left-handed runner to end the quarter with Hazen on top 45-33.

Brianna Barton connected on Windsor’s first three of the game 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. She would connect again to cut the lead to single digits a minute later, but a pair of offensive rebounds and put-backs by desGroseilliers, and a 10-13 performance at the free throw line down the stretch by Davison secured Hazen’s first state title in over three decades.

Rivard backed up her phenomenal performance on Thursday with a solid 16 points on Saturday, and fellow freshman Mya Lumsden added six important points from the free-throw line in the win.

Perry finished her stellar high school basketball career with 23 points and Barton joined her as Windsor’s only other senior with 14 points in the loss.

Head coach Kabray Rockwood and his Lady Yellowjacket program’s impressive run ends after back-to-back Division III championships that included five straight trips to the Barre Auditorium.

“Windsor has a tremendous program and our entire season was game-planned around facing and beating them. They have a lot of talent coming back next year just like us, so I’m sure we’ll meet again. ‘Shared Sacrifice’ was the motto for our team all season long and I just got so much joy watching these girls achieve their goal. I formed a special bond with this entire team this season and the amount of time that the players and our coaching staff put into this was taxing, but so worth it. This team and program has a family atmosphere around it and the feeling of this season is something that these girls can carry around with them for the rest of their lives,” said Lumsden.

This Hazen Union girls’ basketball team was the only No. 1 seed in any division for both boys’ and girls’ teams that survived to hoist a Vermont State Championship trophy at the Aud this season.

Caitlyn Davison (34 points) and Kelsie Rivard (33 points) both set school records and were the only girls in either division to score 30 points in a game at the Aud this season. This season was the first time that the Hazen Union girls’ and boys’ teams were both seeded No. 1 heading into the state tournament, and the first time both earned a trip to the state title game in the same year.

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