by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union High School girls’ basketball teams have won a combined 27 games in a row this winter and with a dominating 13-0 start to the season for the junior varsity team, the future looks bright for Lady Cat basketball.
Hardwick is abuzz once again this hardwood season with an 11-2 boys’ team on a quest to defend their Division III state title, but also with a varsity girls’ team that has one of the best players in the state in junior guard Caitlyn Davison and a fourteen-game winning streak under first year head coach Randy Lumsden.
What can’t be lost however, is a Lady Cat junior varsity team that could dominate opponents in the Cat Den for years to come. They have started the season with 13 straight wins, all in blowout fashion. There are familiar names and “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” woven all throughout this team, starting with their head coach Alison Blaney from Craftsbury Academy (CA). Mackenzie Blaney (Alison’s daughter) graduated from CA, but played for the 2017 Hazen Union team that reached the Division IV semifinals at the Barre Auditorium. The Lady Cat junior varsity roster includes Mya Lumsden, who is Randy’s daughter and Kelsey Rivard, the younger sister of Tyler, who will go down as one of, if not the best multi-sport athletes in school history. Ella Renaud, Sadie Gann, Brianna Holbrook, Emma Rowell, Carrie Gonyaw, Elizabeth Hess, and Madeline Kaiser round out Blaney’s talented hoopers. Eighth graders Taylor Thompson and Autumn Dailey play on Hazen’s middle school team, but have also attended almost every JV practice to get extra gym time. Before the season started, coach Lumsden spoke highly of Blaney’s basketball mind, her ability to develop this young and talented group, and forge the necessary relationships to strengthen the girls’ basketball program at Hazen Union long term.
“I was asked to coach just a week or so before the season started and I am very fortunate to have this group of ladies for my first year coaching at Hazen. My team has some very skilled players and the entire group has been well coached since elementary school. The girls all work hard at improving as individuals and as teammates. We are very focused on team success and every single player has scored in our last eight games. The Hazen girls’ basketball program is strong and I’m very excited Randy asked me to be a part of it!,” said Blaney.
The Lady Cats were on the road at Northfield on Tuesday, before welcoming Blue Mountain to town on Saturday morning. If they win those two games, they will have a chance to complete their perfect season at the Cat Den against Milton next Tuesday night.