The 2019-20 Vermont D1 girls’ basketball season came to a sudden end with just three games left to play.
The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) announced on Monday that the D1 semifinals and championship game would not be rescheduled and that the four teams remaining in the tournament, one being Essex High, would all be quad-champions.
“While not the ideal way to finish a season, we wish to recognize the dedication, effort, and now sacrifice that these teams have shown,” a statement from the VPA read. “Again, we recognize that this is not the competitive finish that we all were expecting. We do hope this will bring some of the deserved recognition for these student-athletes who ended up in the unprecedented scenario of cancelation.”
Second-seeded Essex was slated to play Mt. Mansfield in the semifinals on March 12. That morning, the VPA announced that the game would be closed off to the public and that players and coaches would be allowed to have five immediate family members in attendance at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium. Later in the day, however, the decision was made to postpone the games in concern of the spreading coronavirus.
The championship, albeit unusual, is the first for the Hornets since 2006. They are quad-champs along with Mt. Mansfield, Champlain Valley Union, and Rutland.
"Our team is honored and humbled that the VPA has decided to award us a share of the state championship," said Hornet head coach Shawn Montague. "The Essex girls' basketball program would like to congratulate Rutland, MMU, and CVU in sharing this honor. Obviously, none of the coaches and players from the four teams wanted to see things end this way and would prefer to compete on the court, but there are much bigger issues at play. And even though our team was devastated by not being able to play, they understand that. Our season was obviously very successful. It truly was a team! It was a team that competed every day in practice...and they never had a bad practice. This showed in their performance in games on a consistent basis. They set a high bar for themselves in terms of their work ethic and accountability. They truly were a family. They cared about each other in every way. Putting the wins aside, these are the accomplishments that are truly impressive."
This story was updated at 9:18 p.m. on 3/18/20.