November 22, 2006
By Charlie Brown
Harwood Union basketball coach Ray Drake said, "We're going to play pressure basketball this year. That means we will play more people this year, so that we have more pressure on the ball."
Last year Harwood only had seven players, but this year there are 15. Five of six are returning from last year and that is going to give the team a strong nucleus from which to build.
For the team and coaches, losing Ben Parker, last year's All State selection, will hurt.
"We'll miss his 18 point a game average" says Drake, "but this year's team will play hard and up tempo every night."
Co-captains of this year's team are Trevor Audet and Jon Griffith, Eric Mackey is moving up from the junior varsity squad and expected to get a lot of playing time.
"I expect Jon Griffith to have a big year with Liam Smith, our second leading scorer to give him plenty of help," added Drake.
Drake has been coaching for 17 years the last five as varsity coach of Harwood.
"We open up with Burlington High, last year's defending state champion. That game will be on December 4. Our toughest rival will be U-32 from Montpelier, and we'll play them three times," he said.
"It's a funny thing," quipped Drake. "We hadn't beat U-32 in 15 years, then three years ago we finally beat them, and have beaten them three out of the last six times we played them. U-32 is 'loaded' this year and is one of the early season favorites to capture the state championship," he said.
So get out and watch Harwood play Burlington High on this December 4. With ten men returning from this year's team, next year, you just might be watching the beginning of a dynasty. Go Harwood!