LUDLOW, Vt. – I really wonder if Don Richard would have thrown his name in the hat if he knew just how difficult the job of Black River boys’ basketball coach was going to be. Richard had out of state experience but probably never really knew the history of the program.
The good news was that he took the job. He inherited an inexperienced program, which had enjoyed one winning season in 16 years and the chances were anything he built was for the short term because the school might be closing soon. Somehow some eager players and a positive attitude coach have combined to put together a team this winter that believes they can beat the Division IV fourth seed in an opening round play-off game.
Arlington is that number four seed and it is easy to see why Richard’s boys feel the way they do. The team has improved as the season went along, developed a neat little unit and most importantly, played Arlington tight twice.
The first of those two games went down to the final second when Arlington scored the winning points. Then Richard and the Presidents had bad luck strike, with Black River leading at halftime, when Drew Schoenberger was injured at the outset of the third quarter. Somehow these Presidents stood firm only to fall 71-66 at the end.
Jon Mason scored 28 in the season finale. The team, which is without Schoenberger for the rest of the season, is hoping the third game versus Arlington is the charm as the two meet again in the post season opener.