WESTMORELAND -- It was Frank Patterson’s first year coaching boys basketball at Kurn Hattin in Westminster, and he said he’d like to have another go at it.
"There hasn’t been any official discussion, but I’d like to come back next year," he said.
Patterson coached the KH team to an undefeated regular season, finishing 19-2, culminating at the Connecticut Valley League Tournament, a double-elimination contest held Thursday night.
Kurn Hattin and Dummerston played the first game. The first half was a shootout, that ended with Kurn Hattin ahead 23-22. KH pulled ahead in the second half with Jahyde Bullard and Amza Issa scoring the majority of points that led the team to a 57-37 victory.
Bullard led with 27 points, and teammates Issa and Chris Hopkins combined for 20 points. Calvin Lafand led Dummerston with 16 points.
Next, the team faced Guilford in the final. Guilford came out strong and kept the lead through the first half, taking a 3-point advantage going into the second half, 26-23. Despite treys by both Kurn Hattin’s Bullard and Issa, Guilford’s offense remained strong and they won, 47-40.
Bullard had 25 points, and Issa had 13. Bullard completes a stellar season, scoring over 600 points. Tanner Beil scored 14 points to lead Guilford in the championship, and teammate Ian Black had 12 points.
The Connecticut Valley League is comprised of 7th and 8th grade athletes from Guilford, Dummerston, Putney and Kurn Hattin, on the Vermont side; and Hinsdale, Chesterfield, Westmoreland, and Walpole, on the New Hampshire side. The league was founded in 1990.
"The league has been good for all of us," said Tom Fahner, co-executive director at Kurn Hattin. "Our coaches do their best to keep all students who want to play involved, and no one ever gets cut from the team."
At the league’s inception, Fahner was athletic director at the school, and played a key role during its formation.
Kurn Hattin is currently involved in soccer, baseball, and hoops. Fahner thinks the school’s athletes shine most in basketball, and he explains why.
"The sport can be played almost anywhere," he said. "Basketball is one of those activities where you can just go to the playground and all you need is a hoop and a ball. You don’t need a parent, or sibling, to help out someway financially."
Since students who attend Kurn Hattin are at-risk, coming from poor economic backgrounds, many don’t get a chance to experience their favorite sport in the off-season, like training camps and summer leagues. But the school does offer an in-house, off-season program.
From 1991-2001, the Kurn Hattin boys basketball team has won seven league championships.
The league is a diamond in the rough; a well-run league by parents and school officials, said Fahner. "Very few people are aware of it, but that’s what makes it unique."