Weather Can’t Slow Down Wildcats at DMC

photo by Vanessa Fournier
The Hazen Union boys team won the 7th Annual Dave Morse classic championship game against Lamoille December 17 with a score of 64-29. Front row (left to right): Kobe Smith, manager, Morgan Michaud, Brendan Moodie, Gavin Stratton, Dustin Piangerelli, Sully Laflam, Jeter Demers, manager. Back row (left to right): Jadon Baker, Liam Jurkiewicz, Ryan Morrison, Tyler Rivard, Xavier Hill, Gabe Michaud, Lincoln Michaud.

by Ken Brown

HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ basketball team raised their eighth Division III state championship banner in front of a packed house last week and then proceeded to blow past Randolph and Lamoille to capture their fourth straight Dave Morse Classic (DMC).

Senior center Tyler Rivard made short work of Randolph on Wednesday night, scoring a game-high 24 points and pulling down 13 boards in limited action as the Wildcats opened their season with an 84-33 win. Hazen raced out to a 50-13 lead at the half behind Rivard’s 18 points, with sophomore Brendan Moodie making his Wildcat debut with 12 points of his own. Jadon Baker also scored 11 points, Ryan Morrison added nine and five rebounds, and Sully Laflam and Lincoln Michaud combined for 18 more. Ethan Davignon led the Galloping Ghosts with eight in the loss.

“I was pretty happy with our defensive effort and positioning and our offensive transition was good, but it is still really early and we have a lot of work to do to improve our half-court sets. We’ve had Brendan in our camps since he was a kid and he got a lot of work in with us this summer. We are excited to have him come over from Peoples Academy and he will give us another offensive threat from the outside,” said head coach Aaron Hill.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Hazen’s Tyler Rivard (No. 15) charges around Tyler Clark of Lamoille during the championship game of the Dave Morse Classic held Saturday at Hazen. The Wildcats won 64-29.

Several former Hazen Union players and coaches came from far and wide to see “Banner Night” on what Mother Nature changed to a Saturday affair, but the Wildcats did not disappoint, handling Lamoille 64-29 to once again defend their DMC title.

Rivard was dominating inside again, pounding the Lancers with 19 points, 18 boards, and two blocks. Xavier Hill added 10 points and three assists, and Baker, Michaud, and Moodie rounded out a balanced attack with eight apiece. Graden Conger and Gabe Locke combined for 17 points for Lamoille in the loss. Former Wildcat greats came together in the school cafeteria after the game to catch up and several laced them up one more time over the weekend for a pick-up basketball game. The banner was raised to recognize Hazen’ Union’s latest state title (sixth under Hill) this past winter and Hill also recognized the seven other championship teams along with their head coaches Dan Hudson and Steve Pratt before the game on Saturday. It truly made the seventh installment of the Dave Morse Classic one to remember. Ethan Davignon scored a tournament-high 31 points in the consolation game as Randolph downed Lamoille 59-49.

“The weather changed some plans for a few people unfortunately, but it didn’t take any energy away from the tournament or the ceremonies. It was a packed house that included a lot of familiar faces I haven’t seen in quite a while and it made you proud of how people came out to support this program. A lot of people drove or flew in bad weather to be here. Nick Donahue was on our ‘04 runner-up team and drove 12 hours from Virginia through a snow storm to be a part of this. The DMC is always a special tournament to us and seeing all of the people again that helped build all of this made the week even more special. It’s great to start the season winning this tournament and if Tyler keeps working like that, he is going to go down as one of the best rebounders in the state of Vermont. We haven’t shot the ball yet the way we are capable of, but we have some good shooters on this team and I think it will come around,” said Hill.

Hazen Union hosted Stowe on Tuesday and will wrap up the holiday week with a home game against Oxbow.