First, Champlain Valley Union needed a three-game win streak to end the regular season to help secure the No. 7 seed in the Division I boys basketball playoffs.
Then, the Redhawks had to fend off an upset bid in the playdowns on Tuesday, needing overtime to top No. 10 South Burlington 67-63 to advance to the quarterfinals.
The postseason does not get any easier from here for CVU, who next faces No. 2 Rice in the quarterfinals on Friday at 7 p.m. in South Burlington.
Ethan Harvey’s 21 points helped the Redhawks top the Rebels, while Cole Otley had 18 points and Will Burroughs added 14.
Trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half, CVU needed a three-pointer in the final minute from Cole Otley to send the game to OT.
The play of Harvey and Otley is a positive development for the Redhawks, who have relied mainly on Graham Walker and Burroughs to provide the offense this season.
Mason and Cole Otley have provided a spark in recent weeks, culminating in Cole’s career-high night on Tuesday.
The emergence of a well-balanced offense to go along with the team’s tough defense will be key to CVU making another run to Patrick Gym – where the team played in the D-I final for the first time in program history last season.
But, in order to book a spot in the final four, CVU still will need to pull off a couple of upsets.
If CVU can top No. 2 Rice in the quarterfinals, a probable match-up against No. 3 Mount Mansfield in the semis would be the last obstacle in the way of a return to the title game.