Eagles are a family affair

  • Mid Vermont's Sydney Goodwin, left, glances back at her sister Hayley (14) while driving up court against Sharon Academy during their game in Quechee, Vt., on Jan. 10, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mid Vermont's Hayley Goodwin, right, pivots against the defense of Sharon's Lydia Eastman during their game in Quechee, Vt., on Jan. 10, 2019. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mid Vermont coach Chris Goodwin speaks to his team during a timeout in their game with Sharon Academy in Quechee, Vt., on Jan. 10, 2019. Goodwin's daughters Hayley and Sydney play on the team. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/24/2019 9:49:07 PM

QUECHEE — Basketball seems to follow the Goodwin family wherever it goes.

The sport seems to show up at the dinner table in steady regularity, in the car ride home after tough losses, in the living room watching game film, during the offseason from their regular stomping grounds on the Mid Vermont Christian School court. It’s a delicate balancing act having two daughters and a father — freshman Hayley, sophomore Sydney and head coach, Chris — all on the same team. It gets difficult when the scoring spotlight on a roster of only seven athletes rests so heavily on their shoulders.

But the Goodwins have made that chemistry work, helping the Eagles to a 15-5 record, outscoring opponents 917-622 in 20 contests this season and securing the No. 4 seed in the upcoming VPA Division IV tournament, which begins this week.

“It is fun to be able to connect with your daughters doing (basketball),” Chris Goodwin said before MVCS’ regular-season home finale against White River Valley on Friday night. “There aren’t always a lot of mediums out there to connect with your kids. This is ours.

“This is my background. We haven’t pushed them toward it. They just like it.”

Hayley, Mid Vermont’s high-scoring point guard, leads the team with 16.5 points per game in her second varsity season. Sydney, the team’s playmaker, is behind her with 10.4 points per game. The pair began varsity play as eighth-graders. They’ve always competed together.

“Even if it was just me, she (Hayley) would always play up because my dad was coaching,” Sydney said of her younger sister. “We fight on the court a lot, but we get along sometimes, too.”

Chris, in his third season at the helm, likes the way his team is playing headed into the tournament. Mid Vermont was riding high with an 18-2 record at this point last year before falling to Blue Mountain, 41-39, in the opening round. Rachel Seale, the Eagles’ four-year 1,000-point scorer and the last member of a family that previously dominatged MVCS basketball, graduated in the offseason, leaving Sydney and Hayley Goodwin picking up most of the offensive slack.

The transition, Chris admitted, has been a difficult one for the largely underclassmen Eagles this season.

“It’s harder (this season),” he said. “(Seale) just took the load off. She was our leader in that she was a senior, she knew what other teams were going to throw at her. … (This year), they have to work harder to get their shots. We’re scoring less, too.

“It’s a small school with only 14 girls in the high school,” Chris Goodwin added. “It is pretty special to be able to field a competitive team.”

The Goodwin girls, along with older sister Danielle, have been playing basketball together since first or second grade.

Chris, a Connecticut native and four-year athlete at NCAA Division III’s Gordon College, has almost always been their coach. It’s always been difficult, however, to keep the game from following the family home.

“I’m pretty sure they enjoy (me being their coach),” Chris said.

“There are times where we obsess about it too much when we go home. When we get home, especially after a loss, we kick it until it’s dead. My wife (Bethany) will just walk away and say, ‘I’m leaving.’ ”

Added Sydney: “Basically after every game, we talk about that game all night, sometimes the next day.”

Such are the occupational hazard of having three competitive people under the same roof.

“We spend a lot of time in the gym, a lot of time talking basketball, a lot of time reliving every single play,” said Bethany Goodwin. “Often times (after games), everybody will just plop down and relive the games.”

The postgame playbacks often involve game film in the living room. Hayley, the quieter of the two, will often stay up late to watch with her father.

“When else would I stay up watching basketball with my daughter until 1 in the morning over a silly game we lost by four points?” Chris said.

The Goodwins’ attention to detail has carried over to the rest of the team, both in wins and in team chemistry. Chris bagged a practice earlier this season for some Chinese food and a game of Pit — a card game involving yelling — at the Goodwin home, the goal being to get his team to communicate better. Chris said he’s seen a more vocal squad the last few weeks, resulting in better defensive play.

“They’re still not comfortable with the spotlight, yet,” Chris said of Sydney and Hayley. “But they’ve accepted their role. … I think we’ll be ready for (the No. 4 seed), which is good because I feel like it’ll help us get a play-down game, just get those bugs out of the system.”

The VPA releases playoff seeding and schedule today.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnew.com or 603-727-3306.

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