Boston High School: Josh Varney

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
5:01
PM ET
Paul Pecor guided the Rice Memorial boys basketball team to two Division I championships in his first seven seasons as the program’s head coach, so it made headlines when he called the 2010-11 Rice team the most talented group he’s ever coached.

VermontThen Rice made headlines again when it lost to an 0-2 Mount Mansfield team that failed to score more than 47 points in either of its first two games.

Pecor said that loss may have been a good thing, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Since then the Green Knights have won seven games in a row to raise their record to 8-1. Rice’s latest victory came Tuesday night, when it avenged its earlier loss to Mount Mansfield, 55-34.

“Everybody was freaking out and saying we were overrated after that loss, but you know what? It helped us. It refocused us,” Pecor said. “I’m literally watching us get better as we go.”

That’s not good news for other Division I teams. Rice returned four starters from a team that won nine games last season: sophomore forward Marcus Willingham, sophomore guard Casey Tipson, junior forward Jake Maynard and junior forward Tim Rensch. Willingham, Tipson and Rensch are each averaging more than 11 points per game.

The Green Knights also added guard Austin Robinson, a transfer from Burlington High School, to the mix. Robinson is averaging 14.1 points per contest.

Pecor said the most indispensible player on the roster isn’t a starter, however. It’s senior Christian McCormick, a senior captain who agreed to come off the bench.

McCormick, a guard, was the starting quarterback for the Rice football team, which won the 2010 Division II championship. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football.

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