by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – Hazen Union alum and former star hooper Randy Lumsden will be on the sidelines this winter for a Hazen Union girls’ basketball program that is on the rise.
Lumsden replaces Tim Whitney, who stepped down after three successful seasons with the Lady Cats. Whitney took over a gutted program coming off a Division III Final Four appearance and rebuilt it through a pandemic with young talent, winning two playoff games in three years, including a promising 13-9 record last season.
Lumsden finished his high school basketball career with a state championship in 2000, scoring just shy of 1,000 career points, while playing alongside the likes of Tim Shedd and Billy Welcome. Hazen’s super junior Caitlyn Davison is a rising star and just happens to be his niece and his daughter is leading an uber-talented eighth grade class coming up through the pipeline. He has helped mold both of their games through AAU and looks forward to the challenge of coaching at the varsity level and continuing to lead the Lady Cat program in an upward direction.
“I’ve always wanted to be a varsity coach, but I wasn’t sure when the right time would be or where. When Tim had to step away, I thought it was the right time to step up and give the time that this group of girls and this program deserves. I’m familiar with a lot of these girls, with their games, and I’m really excited for the opportunity,” said Lumsden.
Davison and senior Alexis Christensen return for Lumsden after leading Hazen Union’s scoring attack last season, with Davison earning First Team All-Mountain League honors and a selection to the Vermont Dream Dozen roster. Christensen was a Second Team selection and gives the Lady Cats a much-needed weapon from the outside. Hayley Michaud also returns for her senior season after anchoring the middle of the Hazen defense through their quarterfinal playoff run last winter.
Lumsden will also gain the services of Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Ella Gillespie and Sadie Skorstad. Gillespie was the leading scorer for the Lady Chargers the past two seasons and Skorstad is an elite athlete with defensive stopper capabilities. Freshman Isabelle Gouin and Julia des Groseilliers lead a talented group of underclassmen that will also play meaningful minutes. Nineteen student-athletes came out for the program and Lumsden will field a JV team, coached by CA’s Allison Blaney. Lumsden is getting his team game-ready with competitive and physical practices and he likes the work ethic he is seeing in practice and scrimmages so far.
“This is a good group of girls and I want them to have expectations, but they need to know the work ethic it takes to execute the goals that you set for yourself. I’ve seen a lot of showing up early and leaving late so far and that is a good sign. Caitlyn has the ability to be the best player in this league and the countless hours and dedication she put in this past summer is showing up on the court. We know she can score, but as our primary ball handler she needs to evolve this season as a player that makes the teammates around her better and involved. Ella is a very versatile player and I think she’ll step in right away and contribute. Allison has a really good basketball mind, she’s already developing some great relationships with the girls, and we’re excited to have her on board. I want to create a family atmosphere around this program where alumni are welcome and involved. That kind of comradery propels and sustains a program and we want to build something here that rivals what the boys’ program has. I feel like we have the kind of team that could make a good run at the end of the season if we come together, remain focused, and stay healthy. We are excited for the start of the season,” said Lumsden.
The Lady Cats tip-off their season opener on the road against Enosburg on Friday and will welcome Danville to town next Tuesday for their home opener.