Burlington High School Wins Vermont State Championship
Clancy Rugg was the dominant force with 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots as BHS held off a gritty Rice effort in front of a frenzied crowd of 3200 at Patrick Gymnasium on Monday night. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story for Rugg who came up with several timely buckets and altered a wide variety of shots patrolling the paint on the defensive end.
Rice jumped out to a 13-7 lead early and looked as if they might have a shot at the upset thanks to their deliberate offense. But big baskets by Burlington seniors Shane Norris, Adam Chicoine and Tyler Barron
settled the first seed down as they went into halftime up 25-18.
Despite the fact that they held BHS star Joe O’Shea to only 5 points, and got another superlative performance by Jon Goldberg who had 13 points and 6 rebounds while handling the ball all night in his team’s offensive sets, Rice was never able to cut into the lead in the second half.
Give O’Shea credit because despite seeing several of his shots go halfway down, the sophomore never lost his composure and still played a very intelligent floor game. They also got a lift from Barron who got hot and knocked down four three-pointers to finish with 14 points. But it was Rugg who time after time, whenever it appeared the momentum was shifting Rice’s way, came up with a big play whether it was hitting a three, getting a tip in, or blocking a shot.
Overall, it was a great night for Vermont hoops as this storied rivalry brought out basketball dignitaries and former players alike. Cudos belong to both coaches, Matt Johnson and Paul Pecor, as both teams showed class, composure, great sportsmanship, and respect for each other.
The rivalry should carry on into next season as well as Burlington has Rugg and O’Shea back next year while Rice returns all five starters.
Three other state champions were crowned in Vermont on Saturday as Windsor defeated Mt. Abraham 70-57 behind 18 points for Sean Bucker in the D2 title game, Lake Region beat Winooski 56-42 in D3, and Kyle McQuarrie scored 16 for Proctor as they won D4 with a 50-44 victory over Danville.