By LAUREN READ
The Champlain Valley girls basketball team entered the season on a mission: return to Patrick Gym.
After falling in last season’s Division I state championship to St. Johnsbury, the Redhawks are determined to return to the top this year.
CVU will do so as the No. 1 seed in the D-I state tournament after finishing the regular season with a 20-0-0 record.
“We are very excited about the playoffs,” said CVU coach Ute Otley. “The team and I feel like this season has flown by.”
Lurking in the draw are the Hilltoppers. The defending champs earned a No. 2 seed, finishing the season at 18-2 with their only two losses coming to the Redhawks.
If Champlain Valley wants to regain their title, they will likely face St. Johnsbury in the final at Patrick Gym.
“We are optimistic about our chances to get to Patrick,” Otley said. “I think the girls are determined to play their best b-ball of the season.”
The Redhawks have to get through the first rounds of the postseason before they can think about that title, though.
Champlain Valley beat No. 16 Spaulding 75-12 on Tuesday night to open the playoff run. The Redhawks will take on the winner of No. 8 Mount Anthony vs. No. 9 Essex – which will be played on Wednesday night – in the quarterfinals.
CVU downed the Patriots 62-16 in their only matchup of the season and topped the Hornets in both their meetings (73-27 and 64-13) in the regular season.
No. 4 Rice and No. 5 Rutland are both possible semifinal opponents. The Raiders and CVU have yet to meet this season.
The Green Knights gave the Redhawks some of their toughest matchups of the regular season, with CVU winning the first game 47-30 and the second 43-29.
“The draw has us playing teams we are very familiar with, which I prefer,” Otley said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Champlain Valley will play their quarterfinal game on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Hinesburg.