by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union girls’ basketball team defended the “Cat Den” with dominant performances against Danville and Oxbow last week, improving to 2-1 on the season.
Junior Caitlyn Davison scored a season-high 26 points to power Hazen to a 54-29 home win over Danville last Tuesday. Davison scored eleven first-quarter points to help the Lady Cats take a 30-15 edge into halftime. Craftsbury Academy’s Ella Gillespie had her best game in a Hazen Union uniform, scoring 13. Alexis Christensen added seven and Hayley Michaud chipped in with six. Laci Potter led Danville with 11 and Lauren Joncas added nine in the loss. The Lady Bears ended Hazen’s season last winter in the Division IV quarterfinals on their way to a Final Four appearance at the Barre Auditorium. It was Hazen Union’s first win under first-year head coach Randy Lumsden.
“We pressured the ball really well and the girls did a good job of executing our full court press. Ella is a good player who can score the basketball. She’s at a different school with eight new teammates, she’s super coachable, and has done a great job of adapting to a new situation. We are still giving up way too many offensive rebounds and we need to continue working on boxing out better,” said Lumsden.
Davison’s hot hand continued on Thursday, leading all scorers with 18 points to lead the Lady Cats to a 52-37 home win over Oxbow. Senior Alexis Christensen had her best game of the young season with 16 points and Tessa Luther chipped in with eight. Coming off a Vermont Dream Dozen selection last winter, Davison is showing no signs of slowing down, averaging over 22 points, seven steals, and five rebounds on the season. Maggie Ellsworth led the Lady Olympians with 15 and Baylee Phelps and Erin Fuller-Penatzer combined for 10 more in the loss. It was a pivotal divisional win for Hazen against an Oxbow team that had opened their season with an impressive road win over Blue Mountain.
“Oxbow is a big athletic team and we struggled to keep them off the boards in the first half. We struggled to finish the first sixteen minutes, but did a much better job executing those same looks in the second half. Games like that from Alexis really takes the focus off of Caitlyn and opens up the floor to make us more balanced. Caitlyn is going to get hers, but we have multiple scorers on this team and our goal is to be more balanced as we get deeper into the season and get more comfortable running the offense. Richford will be a good test for us this week. They’re not as big as Oxbow, but they have fast athletic guards and our backcourt looks forward to the challenge,” said Lumsden.
Hazen Union welcomed Richford to town on Monday and will finish their four-game homestand with a matchup against Vergennes on Wednesday.