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Keene hoops teams off to solid starts

The Keene Beavers varsity boys and girls basketball team are off to hot starts in the Northern Basketball League as both teams have yet to drop a game in Division III play. The boys team, which is in its second year back after having no varsity program for three years, had one loss against Lake Placid heading into break and were paced by Colton Venner, who averaged 16.4 points in seven games.

The Keene Beavers varsity boys and girls basketball team are off to hot starts in the Northern Basketball League as both teams have yet to drop a game in Division III play. The boys team, which is in its second year back after having no varsity program for three years, had one loss against Lake Placid heading into break and were paced by Colton Venner, who averaged 16.4 points in seven games. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— For one team, it is steady as she goes.

For the other, it has been a year of vast improvement in their second season after returning from a three-year hiatus.

Combined, the Keene varsity girls and boys basketball teams have started the season 10-1, with the girls opening Northern Basketball League Division III play with a perfect 4-0 record and the boys team starting season 6-1 overall and 5-0 in Division III.

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The girls team had won their first four as Tucker Geiger has averaged 10.4 points per game.

“It sure makes for better conversations about basketball,” girls varsity coach Brian LaVallee said. “Chad (Lopez) and I are good friends and we are always talking about the game. It’s great to see him smiling so big this year. We are hoping that we can, together, finish strong.”

“Brian is a great coach and we often compare what we are doing on the court,” Lopez said. “We can’t keep up with the scoring pace of his team, but it is nice to both be off to good starts in the league. One of the best things about it is to see the younger kids starting to pay attention and coming out to the varsity games.”

On the boys side, Keene is led by junior Colton Venner, who averages 16.4 points per game.

“It has been defense, mostly,” Venner said about the strong start to the season. “We have been pressuring the ball on the defensive side which is allowing us to explode out on offense and get off to this good start.”

“It is remarkable to see how much better everyone on the team has become,” Gabe Warner (6.6 ppg) said. “We have been able to gel together well.”

Staying healthy has been a key for the Beavers in their second season back as a varsity program. Point guard Austin Brown has been a threat from long range, connecting on 16 three-pointers and averaging 10.1 points per game. Senior Brandon Dumas has also been a key part of the Beavers gameplan, averaging 9.7 points.

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