CIAC/CCC: Bittersweet Victory for Weaver as CCC Rivalry with Windsor Ends 71-58 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

#5 Ranked Weaver boy’s basketball continued to assert itself as one of the elite high school basketball programs in the state.  On two consecutive nights, the Beavers beat a young but talented Northwest Catholic (85-56) and rival Windsor (11-4) 71-58 to move to 14-2.  Jaecee and Chaylyn Martin continue to add depth to their historic careers, and both scored 19 points to lead their team in what Chaylyn called a “bittersweet” victory. 

Why was it bittersweet?  Well, this was the last time Weaver and Windsor will play a regular season CCC game against each other because the CCC has decided to move on without Weaver.  When asked about beating Windsor Chaylyn Martin said, “Windsor is a good program and we went out on top but it’s a bittersweet thing.”

His brother Jaecee continued, “Windsor is one of my favorite schools to play against, they always bring great firepower against us.” He added, “Coach Smith is a great coach and that was a great game against them tonight.”   Windsor coach Ken Smith, who has over 500 wins presented Weaver coach Reggie Hatchett with a plaque and acknowledged the work Hatchett has done to add to the Weaver legacy in just four short years as the Weaver head coach.  Coach Hatchett said, “This is such a beautiful rivalry.” He continued, “Coach Smith is such class act, his teams always play hard and even on supposed down years he gets a lot from all of his players.”  He added,  “it's bittersweet for me as well, its one of the greatest honors of my coaching career.”

The game opened tight with Weaver holding a slight edge after one 18-17.  The start of the second quarter saw Weaver go on a 7-0 run.  Chaylyn Martin worked to score nine of his 19 points in the second quarter.  Weaver would hold a 35-25 lead at the half.  Chaylyn Martin finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. 

Windsor battled back in the third and tied the game at 49-49.   Donovan Austin and George Gamble led the Warriors with 12 and 22 points respectively.   The Austin and Gamble duo played inspired ball but that alone wouldn’t be enough to combat the size and strength of Weaver’s frontcourt. 

Weaver out muscled and out hustled Windsor.  The fourth quarter was physical.  Both JaQaun Williams and Andre Lyons rebounded, defended and scored with a mean streak most teams in the state haven’t seen or will be able to stop.  The 6’5 Williams finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds and the 6’6 Lyons scored 10, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 3 monstrous blocks.  Lyons also had two dunks in the fourth that put an exclamation mark on a 22-9 quarter and their 71-58 victory.

CIAC/CCC: Jaecee Martin Leads Weaver over Bloomfield 63-60 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

Weaver visited an old foe on Wednesday night.  The Beavers (11-2) took their #5 ranking to Bloomfield and beat the Warhawks (7-4) 63-60.  According to coach Reggie Hatchett this is the first time Weaver has played and beaten Bloomfield in a regular season game since he took over as the head coach at Weaver.  Beating Gary Barcher at home is no small feat.   

Senior PG Jaecee Martin came ready to play.  Quite simply if he hadn’t we would be talking about an upset.  Bloomfield, led by Sr. Chris Rose, who scored eight consecutive points to start the game for the Warhawks, was on fire.  He finished the first quarter with 11 points.  Rose finished the game with 15 points.  Martin was a little better.  In a short a span he scored 11 straight points for the Beavers, and this gave his team time to settle down.   Martin said, “I came out hot myself but as a team, we started slow, and the pace was a little fast for us but we adjusted.”  Weaver trailed Bloomfield 20-19 at the end of the first quarter.  For the game Martin scored 24 points, and added seven assists, grabbed seven rebounds, and swiped five steals.  Big game!  Coach Hatchett said, “Jaecee, over the last two games, has asserted himself on the offensive end, and I think it makes us a better team.” 

The second quarter was much more comfortable for Weaver.  The Beavers got a couple three balls from junior Alex Rodriguez, which loosened up the Warhawk defense, while Weaver turned the pressure defense on.  Weaver led 38-32 at the half.

Bloomfield came out of halftime and completely stifled Weaver’s offense with half-court and full-court pressure.  Weaver turned the ball over and failed to convert on opportunities at the rim.  Bloomfield outscored Weaver 21-10 and led 53-48 after the three. The Warhawks got nine big points from Josh Moore-Henry.  Henry finished with a team-high 17 points for Bloomfield.

Down five Weaver had work to do.   They did it.  Weaver shut down Bloomfield in the fourth.  Coach Hatchett said, “We have learned what we have to do down the stretch of games to win games, everybody had to step up, step up and rebound, and step up defensively.”  Jaecee Martin harassed Bloomfield ball handlers and the combination of JaQuan Williams and 6’5 Andre Lyons successfully protected the rim.  The Warhawks scored just seven points in the decisive quarter.  Weaver got key contributions from 6’5 PF JaQuan Williams.  Williams scored eight points in a critical stretch where Weaver went from being down 54-55, to leading 61-59 with 11.9 seconds left.   Williams finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.  Despite being held to seven points in the fourth the Warhawks had a decent look at three with time expiring, which would have sent the contest to OT.  The desperation shot by Rose was short and left---Weaver wins.  

CIAC/CCC: Veretto and McGuirl Lead East Catholic to Victory over East Hartford by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

 

Last night East Catholic hosted East Hartford and was seeking revenge for an early season loss.  In that loss, the Mike McGuirl led Eagles lost to Isaiah Williams’ Hornets 84-73 off a monster 28-point performance by Williams.  McGuirl said this about the loss, “it really motivated us and we marked this date on our calendar, and we came out and played hard.”  On this night McGuirl scored 16 points but it was his 11 points in the fourth quarter that helped his squad grow a 43-36 3rd quarter lead to 68-51 victory. 

East Catholic coach Luke Reilly was very happy with his team’s effort and the outcome.  The Eagles jumped out to an 11-3 lead and never looked back.  The Eagles’ defense was key.  Coach Reilly understood that his team would have to stop East Hartford PG Isaiah Williams if they were going to be able to defend their home court.  Coach Reilly said, “Williams is a great player and a big focus when playing them.” Mike McGuirl guarded Williams for most of the game and held Williams to 12 points.  Williams was limited to just three points in the second half.  The strategy worked because McGuirl was willing to take on the challenge of guarding a smaller, and quicker player. McGuirl said, “Isaiah is a great player, he’s done great things this year, and he is their biggest threat.” He continued, “Game planning for him I knew I wanted the challenge of guarding one of the best guards in the state.” It worked.  East Hartford struggled to score inside or on the perimeter.  Hornets’ coach Ed Lavoie said, “We couldn’t establish our inside game, to open up our guards.” He added, “we were stagnant,” and “Mike did a good job guarding Isaiah.”

In these games, a third player usually steps up and is the difference for the winning team.   Tonight it was junior g/f Matt Veretto.  The 6’5 swingman was brilliant in flashes and was able to consistently score and rebound against the Hornets.  Veretto scored from all over the court and even brought the crowd as well as his teammates to their feet with a monster jam in the fourth.  He finished with a game-high 23 points and was 8-10 from the line.  Neither coach Reilly or McGuirl were surprised by Veretto’s impact on the game, but Veretto was clearly the difference maker tonight.  He said, “ we wanted to hold them under sixty points and that’s what we did.” Despite his big effort, he made it a point to praise nearly all of his teammates for their group effort to secure the victory he added, “we had a great overall game.” 

 

Noteworthy:  Both teams stand at 8-1 and both are top 5 teams in the Hartford Courant poll.  Aaron Tomlinson led East Hartford with 13 points.  East Catholic got a solid 12 points from Jamil Hornesby.

MLK CLASSIC: #2 Notre Dame, Wilbur Cross, and Bassick All Prevail by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The 2017 MLK Classic brought together 10 boys basketball programs from across Fairfield and New Haven counties.  Wilton beat St. Joseph s of Trumbull to stay undefeated (8-0) 62-61.  It was senior John Williams who captured the first game's MVP honor. Williams scored 18 points for Wilton. Cameron Menefee contributed 18 points for St. Joe’s (4-4) in the loss.

#2 Ranked Notre Dame of West Haven came out fast and completely overran an overmatched East Haven 80-50.  Senior Tremont Waters led the way for the Green Knights (9-0). He scored 17 points and was awarded the game’s MVP award.  Waters and company led 50-9 in the second quarter.  Senior guard Jeremiah Cureton scored 13 points for East Haven (1-7). 

Career of New Haven played a winless Bridgeport Central.  Career improved to 5-2 with a 64-58 victory.  Central dropped to 0-7 (28 consecutive losses going back to 2014-15) but flashed signs of being capable of getting a W or two going forward.  The game’s MVP was 6’1 senior Danny Ampofo.  Ampofo led Career with 19 points. Ampofo said, “We came into the game with a lot of focus, we had to work on our mission because we didn’t well in this game last year, and we had to come back and show everybody how much work we did in the offseason.”  Sophomore Rajeeve Walker led Central with 14 points.

The Governors of Wilbur Cross brushed off a slow start as well as a poor performance from Jayden Valderamma to overwhelm an upstart Harding (3-5) squad 81-57 improving to 8-2.  The 6’2 Valderamma was limited due to early foul trouble and scored six points. Mostly he was rendered ineffective by Harding’s physical defense.  Coach Kevin Walton’s team trailed 22-13 at the end of the first quarter.  However, it was senior Kwane Taylor who kept Cross close and hit big buckets to help his squad break this game open.  Taylor earned MVP honors.  He said, “We came out sluggish and we talked with each other, and someone had to step up and it was me.” Taylor finished with 18 points.  Wilbur Cross turned up the defensive pressure and before long had built a double-digit lead early in the second half.  For Harding, sophomore Keith Bush came out firing.  The 6’4 g/f is long and lean.  He scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, but that Cross defense all but shut him down in the second half.  

Taylor and what his coach referred to as the “second unit” played a pivotal role in turning the game around. Coach Walton said, “I think we have been having some really spirited practices and our second unit really earned our trust.”  Jaylen Stafford 12 points, Malik Alston 11 points, and William Antrum added 11 points were all factors for that second group of guys who made the difference.   

In the finale, it was Bassick playing for Bridgeport pride.   Both Harding and Central lost. What could the crowd expect from the Lions?  Coach Lofton had just taken his youthful squad down to Virginia and beat Deep Creek 83-73.  On Monday, Lofton’s squad would have to find a way to contain Hamden’s CJ Seaforth.  They did, kind of.  Bassick won 81-79 improving to 7-1. However, the Iona-bound Seaforth poured in 35 points.  The senior guard scored 24 of those in the second half.  Hamden drops to 5-4.  Hamden lost two of its better players to injury.  Sophomores Ronnie Ellis and Aidan Carpenter both saw limited action.  Ellis scored four points and Carpenter was shutout.  

Bassick built leads of 38-24 and 59-45 before Hamden was able to put together a run that was almost enough.  Junior PG Qualon Wilkes did the bulk of the work for Bassick.  He scored 21 points and was awarded the games MVP.  Senior backcourt mates Aidan Lopez and Chris Gordan both contributed 13 points.  Despite limiting Hamden’s offensive weapons to poor shot selection and few second chance opportunities the Green Dragons made a run.  Seaforth had a good luck to tie the game with less 5 seconds left.  His drive and shot attempt came up short.  Bassick is hot and will not sneak up on anybody the rest of the year.  Hamden has to regroup quickly because their hellish schedule doesn’t get any easier.  They will need all hands on deck for games against #1 ranked Hillhouse and #2 ranked Notre Dame of West Haven over the next 10 days.  

CIAC/SCC #2 Notre Dame of West Haven Dismisses Hamden 85-66 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The Hamden High School boy’s basketball team has had a brutal five-game stretch to start the season.  Their schedule included defending Class L champion East Catholic, LL Semi-finalist Fairfield Prep, and tonight’s opponent #2 ranked Notre Dame of West Haven.  All loses.  Despite their 2-2 record, the gym was overflowing with fans, easily over capacity, and plenty of excitement to boot.

The ND of West Haven Green Knights, who are led by Georgetown-bound Tremont Waters.   Waters is a 4-star recruit who is ranked 32nd best player in the class of 2017 by ESPN.  Tremont Waters scored a game high 28-points and added 5 assists in leading his team to an 85-66 victory over the wary Hamden squad. Hamden now stands at 2-3, while ND of WH improved to 5-0.

The Green Dragons are led by Iona-bound C.J. Seaforth and have nothing to be ashamed of.  They jumped out to 8-0 lead on Waters and company,  but the fouls began to add up for Seaforth.  He had three first-half fouls and only four first-half points.  He finished with 14 points.  A sullen Seaforth said, “This was a very disappointing loss…” and added, “It was tough watching my team play without me.”   Star players get in foul trouble all the time, and most teams as talented as Hamden can recover or at least hang on.  That was not possible tonight. 

The Green Knights quickly recovered from the 8-0 blitz by Hamden and led 25-18 at the end of the 1st quarter.  Waters scored 10 in that quarter but really turned it on the second.  He scored from all over the court.  Hamden had no answer for the future Hoya.  He added 14 points in the second quarter and finished the half with 24 points.  Notre Dame led 51-34.  When asked about his electric performance he said,  “I had to start scoring to help us get our confidence back up.”   When asked about the matchup between he and Seaforth he referenced a fall league game where Seaforth bested him and he said, “I had to come out and redeem myself and let everyone know this is my city.”  No arguments here.  

Green Knights Head Coach Jason Shea understands he has a talented group that has won its five games by an average margin of 18 points.  When asked about how he plans to keep his squad sharp he said, “we want to create as many competitive drills (in practice) as we can…” and added “hopefully we have good senior leadership and our leaders will make sure everyone is working hard, and we continue to improve as the season moves on.”   Shea and Waters got some help tonight.  Junior guard Tim Dawson scored 19 and 6’5 junior forward Michael Brooks contributed 15 points and 15 rebounds. 

 

Noteworthy: The specter of a Hillhouse ND of WH SCC finals game or CIAC finals matchup is already building.  When Waters was asked who is the #1 team in the state he simply said, “Notre Dame of West Haven,” and calmly walked away.

Hamden’s Ronnie Ellis contributed a team high of 17 points, while ND of WH senior Jalani White pitched in 10 points.  

CIAC/SCC # 1 Ranked Hillhouse Rolls #10 Wilbur Cross 67-56 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The Elm City rivalry between Wilbur Cross and Hillhouse high schools is a great one.  Cross head coach Kevin Walton and House headman Renard Sutton have the respect of their players and their communities.  The games between these two schools are lively, and always draw large crowds.  Floyd Little Athletic Center hosted tonight’s battle.

Hillhouse is the undisputed #1 ranked team in Connecticut and should be the unanimous choice in anyone’s poll.  Wilbur Cross came in ranked 10th.  Hillhouse jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, winning 67-56.  Coach Sutton credited his defense and rebounding as the primary reason for a good start.  Sutton said, “We got to refocus, we played Career and it was a lot closer than we anticipated it to be, and tonight we got back to playing Hillhouse basketball, which is defense first.” He added, “We rebounded the ball, worked the ball around, we passed the ball well and executed our offense, and for the most part, that’s what allowed us to get the win.” The rebounding and defense came from multiple places.  Joey Kasperzyk had six steals to go with his 15 points.   Kasperzyk had a good first half with 11 points and many of his six steals, but picked cheap fouls and a technical in the fourth.  Junior Mehki Warren, a 6’5 f/c was as Coach Sutton put it “HOOPIN.”  Warren recently moved back to New Haven from Willimantic and has given Hillhouse more solid minutes as the season has progressed.  Warren finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds, and five blocks. He put in a big effort tonight. It’s a sign of more to come and opposing coaches will need to account for yet one more Hillhouse star.  He scored his points in short bursts with dunks and put backs. Hillhouse stretched its lead to 30-19 at the half. 

The Governors suffered from a slow start, and despite that coach Walton wanted his team to stay positive and keep fighting.  He said, “I want my kids to believe in themselves and keep fighting.”  Late in the fourth quarter, after the Kasperzyk technical, Wilbur Cross had a chance to cut the lead to six points.  The score was 58-46, and senior Jayden Valderamma made two technical foul free throws cutting the lead to 58-48 but missed three out of four attempts after being fouled on two consecutive plays.  The score was 58-49 with 2 minutes to play.  Coach Walton said, “Jayden is a great kid and wants to win…” and added “he has to learn that teams are game planning for him, but as coaches, we have to do a better job at putting him in a position to be successful.”   Valderamma finished with 15 points.   Valderamma noted after the game that his team would keep working; he said “we are not looking at this game like it’s the end of the season. He added, “We’re going to learn from our mistakes tonight and get in the gym tomorrow and work to improve the rest of season.”

Hillhouse led 46-28 at the end of third quarter. The Academics looked they were ready to bust this one wide open.  However, Cross scored 28 points in the fourth and pushed the Academics.  It was Byron Breland III who pushed back.  The 6’3 g/f scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth.  Breland, a junior said this about his team's early season success, “it shows we are on a different level than everyone else, so we got to prove that every night, and we got to stay focused, and not get big-headed about it.” Asked how not to get big-headed he added, “we are teenagers so our coaches got to help us with that.” Breland finished with 24 points, five rebounds, and four steals.

 

Noteworthy: Hillhouse is now 5-0 and Wilbur Cross drops to 4-2.  Hillhouse Junior Christian Adams just missed another double with nine points and 11 rebounds.  Kwane Taylor scored 11, and William Antrum added 10 for Cross.

 

Tough and Talented Hillhouse Squad Beats NYC's Top Class AA Squad by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich                                                                                                       

The Hillhouse Academics packed up its number #1 ranking, talent, and traveled to the Bronx, NY to play Cardinal Hayes High School.  They didn’t travel in a coach bus or stay in a hotel the night before unlike some better-healed programs in our state may have chosen to do.   Coach Sutton and his Academics just got on their yellow school bus and drove down and beat a very good Hayes squad 71-64. 

 

Hayes coach Joseph Lods made sure his guests were comfortable but not too comfortable.  The first quarter was sloppy with Hillhouse ending up with a slight edge 11-9.  The Cardinals were limited by some nagging injuries to key players and were without 6’9, sophomore Adam Cisse. Tyrese Williams, a 6’3 junior who was coming off a 30 point performance in a win over Xaverian hurt his lower leg at practice the day before and appeared unable to give max effort. The Hillhouse defense held him to a meager 5 points on 2 field goals.   While super sophomore Joe Toussaint, widely considered their most talented player, was all but shut down by the Academics depth and size.  He was a non-factor scoring just 5 points.

Coach Lods said, “There are no excuses,” he noted “we played sloppy but we were limited, and had to play in a zone most of the game.”  The Cardinals tried 1-3-1 and 2-3 schemes but none seemed to keep the Academic’s Joey Kasperzyk from scoring.  Kasperzyk, a 6’2 senior guard scored 14 first half points and played his usual high impact-fearless game.   Byron Breland III added 10 points to help the Academics hold a slim 30-29 lead at the half. 

Kasperzyk and his teammates got out fast in the second half and built a 14-point lead 50-36.  The third quarter was difficult on both ends of the floor for Hayes.  It was the Academics defensive intensity from Breland and Christian Adams that allowed Hillhouse to surge ahead.  Both Adams and Breland had mini six-point bursts in the pivotal stretch where the lead ballooned to 14 points. 

Hayes at home and trailing, would not go quietly.  Coach Lods switched strategies and started pressuring Hillhouse baseline to baseline.  The Academics, with foul trouble mounting, and PG Tyler Douglas and Kasperzyk out of the game became turnover prone.  Sophomore guard Jalen Nesmith and junior swingman Terry Dawkins turned up the heat on defense and scored in bunches for Hayes.  They went on a 22-8 run and tied the game at 58-58 with 3:28 remaining in the game. 

When asked about this part of the game coach Sutton reminded us why they came to the Bronx and he said, “We came down to win the game,” and he added, “We needed to maintain our composure and make some free-throws.” It was Byron Breland play (affectionately known to his teammates and coaches as Trey) that personified composure.  He scored 5 straight points to put the Academics up for good 63-58.  Breland said, “Hayes was small but scrappy but overall they did a pretty good job.” He also noted, “people think Connecticut is a weak area for basketball, so to come down here and get a win is big., especially against a top team.” He finished with 21 points but none were bigger than those five.

Noteworthy: Joey Kasperzyk wowed the crowd with a couple of steals and thunderous dunks. Kasperzyk finished with 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.  Kasperzyk made it clear that this win isn’t going to change anything back in Connecticut.  He said, “We have to keep this same mindset because everybody is going to place us hard and if (we) stick to our game plan we’ll come out on top.”

Christian Adams finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Coach Sutton understood this game was a risk to take knowing they could lose, but by taking that risk he is positive his team is better off.  He also mentioned that a game between Hayes and Hillhouse is going to happen next year.  Count us in.

Terry Dawkins led Cardinal Hayes with 20 points, and Jalen Nesmith pitched in with 14 points.

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Big Game-Big Time Players: CT's Undisputed #1 Hillhouse Set to Challenge Top Ranked NYC Cardinal Hayes Squad by CTHoopsNews

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By Robbie Goodrich

Friday December 30, 2016 (today) Connecticut’s most successful high school basketball program, and defending Class LL Champions will travel to the Bronx to challenge the #1 Class AA ranked Cardinal Hayes.  It will be a challenge for both teams to play more talented teams than they will on Friday.  Hayes coach Joseph Lods’ squad has a 10-0 record and is coming off a victory in the SLAM DUNK tournament in Westchester, NY.  While he is comfortable with his team being able to protect their home court, he was concerned with how little he knew about Hillhouse’s style of play.  Coach Lods said, “We are excited to play a team (Hillhouse) with the pedigree and track record.”

Hayes is led by a group of division I-offered players, including V.C.U. and Fordham, but may not be at full strength.  Tyreese Williams, a 6’3 junior guard who is multi-skilled and tested will lead their attack. Williams is averaging about 15 points and one of his backcourt mates is 5’11 sophomore guard Joe Toussaint also chips in with 15 points per game.  This combo of size and speed will test Coach Renard Sutton’s squad. 

Hillhouse will bring to the Bronx a trio of players that are experienced, tough and skilled as any trio the Nutmeg State has to offer.  According to Coach Sutton, Joseph Kasperzyk Jr., Christian Adams, and Byron Breland III are all averaging 15 plus points per game with Adams and Breland close to 10 rebounds per game each.

Kasperzyk Jr. is a senior and stands at 6’2. His guard play is high intensity and sometimes a reckless style that brings big swings, good and bad.  He is a big effort guard with plenty of game.  Breland and Adams, both juniors play with more controlled aggression.  Breland, at 6’3, is a G/F who is long and athletic with an improved long-range game, he has tremendous upside.  Adams, a 6’4 swingman is effective pushing bigger players around on the block or creating off the dribble for midrange shots is perhaps the most intriguing player of Sutton’s trio.   Coach Sutton said, “It will be like playing ourselves tomorrow,” and that they “relish this opportunity.”  When asked about the upside or downside of winning or losing the game coach Sutton replied, “we are going down to win the game anything else is unacceptable."

 

The game starts at 2:30 pm.  The location is Cardinal Hayes, 650 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY.  Take the train and get off at the Harlem 125 st stop and take a cab, get on the subway or walk.  Driving is easy as well, it's only a 90-minute drive: Follow I-95 S to Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York. Take exit 3 from I-87 N Follow Grand Concourse to your destination...  If you are a CT Hoops fan you'll be there...

CIAC/CCC-Robert Saulsbury Invitational: Chaylyn Martin Carries Weaver Up and Over Windsor by CTHoopsNews

 by Robbie Goodrich

Tonight in New Haven, hoops legend Robert Saulsbury was celebrated at his tournament, which is hosted on the court that is named after him.  The Saulsbury Invitational provides scholarship opportunities to New Haven youth and is a great excuse to watch some hoops.  Last year it was Wilbur Cross’ own Robert Durant that honored Coach Saulsbury with a monster game (31 points and 20 rebounds). In its second year, the Robert H. Saulsbury Invitational Tournament was graced with a legendary performance by Weaver guard Chaylyn Martin.  The 6’1 senior guard lit up the stat sheet with a mind-blowing 38 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists, and 5 steals.

If that wasn’t enough, Chaylyn, led his team back from a 17-point halftime deficit to beat CCC rival Windsor 102-98. 

Windsor came out of the blocks fearless.  Hitting shots from all over the court. This put Weaver on their heels, and by doing so built a 58-42 lead at the half.  In the first half, it was Windsor 9th grader Cory McKeithan who paced the Warriors with 17 points.  The 5’8 130 lb. freshmen torched the Weaver Beavers from deep with five three-pointers.  Senior Donovan Austin led the Warrior defense, and also scored 17 points.  Despite big numbers from Chaylyn Martin (18 points), Weaver looked stunned and completely out-of-sink.  The Beavers missed 14 free throws in the first half.

Chaylyn Martin knew his team’s performance was the product of being “hit in the mouth” by Windsor’s early attack, and coming out “nonchalant” in the second wasn't an option if his squad was to mount a challenge to the Warriors.  Weaver head coach Reggie Hatchett knew a win would solidify his team as one of the state's top teams, he decided to let his halftime speech make it clear to his players to pick it up.  Coach Hatchett said, “I had to get after them and let them know it was a very, very important game.”

Weaver opened the second half with an 8-0 run, and at 59-50 the tenor of the game had changed.  Windsor struggled with foul trouble and didn’t hit nearly as many open shots as it did in the first half.  In the third Weaver outscored Windsor 22-10 and no Warrior had more than 1 bucket in the frame. 

Halfway through the 4th quarter, Weaver had whittled the lead to three via a Chaylyn Martin three, trailing 83-80.  In this span, Chaylyn Martin had two monstrous blocks that energized his team. Two minutes remained and Windsor junior guard George Gamble (18 points) was at the free throw line with the opportunity to extend the lead to three but missed the front end and the Warriors led 89-88.  Weaver took the lead 90-89 on a Jaecee Martin layup.  Jaecee finished with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Remarkably the Martin brothers scored Weaver’s last 19 points and played fearlessly as well as near perfectly down the stretch.  Combine that with Windsor’s mounting foul trouble (Gamble, Austin-22 points, and McKeithan-22 points, all fouled out) and the Beaver’s would be able to narrowly edge out a very game Windsor squad. 

 

Weaver Takes Home the W Over Northwest Catholic by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

 

Northwest Catholic (14-2) 63, Weaver (14-2) 91

 

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Weaver head coach Reggie Hatchett has his team push their opponents to the physical brink every night. The Beavers did that and more, and easily defeated a strong Northwest Catholic team 91-63. 

Weaver is now 14-2 and looking to finish the season with authority. Northwest Catholic on the other hand has just begun a five game stretch that includes Weaver twice, Windsor and East Catholic. It is as tough as it gets. No one could fault Northwest Catholic for losing four out of five. 

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KeAndre Fair led Weaver with 22 points. Fair, who is closing in on 2,000 points, was explosive in the first half scoring 15 points.

“We came out early, confident and played aggressive; we knew that would get them out of the game early,” Fair said about his teams efforts.  

“To become a mental thing knowing I have to come out and just score, I just want to come out and play my game,” Fair said when asked about the scoring record.

“He’s always been so unselfish and he’s going have to average about twenty points to get to 2,000 points and he’ll have to pick up his scoring to reach that milestone,” coach Hatchett added on Weaver’s star guard.

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Weaver rolled out to a 23-8 first quarter lead and never looked back. It was a physical match between the two squads, making the contest a true battle.

“If we were able to get their big guy (Lazor) in foul trouble our size would wear on them, and our bigs started to wear them down slowly but surely,” Hatchett stated on the physicality of the match.

Weaver also got very good efforts from Chaylyn Martin who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jaecee Martin contributed as well with 15 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. 

Weaver outscored NWC in every quarter, not allowing Northwest Catholic to ever get themselves back in the game. 

“Weaver set the tempo, set the pace, set the aggressiveness, and we weren’t able to respond to the intensity, and didn’t handle the aggressiveness, and pressure very well,” Northwest Catholic head coach John Mirabello said after the game.

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Northwest Catholic freshman, Cairo McCrory, a 6-foot-5 forward, flashed how good he’s going to be and showed quite a bit of toughness. McCrory, who is the son of Connecticut State Representative Douglas McCory, was unwilling to back down and finished the game with 21 points to lead Northwest Catholic.

Senior center Patrick Lazor added 17 points for the Indians. 








Hillhouse Defeats Cross in OT by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Wilbur Cross (8-2) 76, Hillhouse (9-2) 78 OT

New Haven basketball fans were treated to a bizarre game between No. 9 ranked Hillhouse and No. 8 Wilbur Cross. 

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A large crowd, estimated to be over 2000 fans, nervously watched as Cross jumped out to an early lead and ultimately succumb to the Academics unflinching resolve and ball pressure. Hillhouse came out on top at the final buzzer 78-76.

Wilbur Cross led at the end of the first quarter 20-11. Jayden Valderamma came out and nailed three deep balls, and a strong quarter by Cross star Robert Durant gave the crowd the idea that this could be a blowout. If so, it was a false impression. 

Durant was not his normal self.  He hobbled up and down the court for most of the game, and once he fouled out, on a questionable charge call, he immediately began icing his left foot and ankle. Durant finished with 11 points but only had two points in the pivotal second half.  There is no doubt Wilbur Cross’ season will depend on how healthy he his. 

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Hillhouse struggled mightily in the first half to find consistent scoring and to play solid defense without fouling.

Wilbur Cross was in the double bonus early in the second quarter. The Academics lone highlights of the first half were two thunderous dunks, one by Academics’ sophomores Byron Breland (12 pts.) and Christian Adams (19 pts.).  These two upcoming second years are blossoming stars in the CIAC. 

Going into the locker room at half, Wilbur Corss led 37-30.

The second half saw Wilbur Cross jump out to double-digit leads of 16 in the third, and later in the fourth they had a commanding lead of 13 points. Hillhouse looked lost and frustrated. Contrasting were the Governors who were calm and getting contributions from everyone. At the end of third quarter, the Cross lead was 55-45. 

Hillhouse turned up the pressure in the final quarter; and with foul trouble mounting for Durant, and his effectiveness limited due to a lower leg injury the Governors eventually gave up control of the game.

Even though neither of the coaches didn’t call out the officials specifically there were some game management issues that affected the outcome. 

In the middle of the fourth, with the Academics closing in on the Governors a whistle was blown, Hillhouse players stopped but the ball was taken away from an Academic and the Governors raced down and scored a bucket. Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton was clearly agitated by this mistake and easily could have given a technical.

With the less than minute to go the scoreboard read 70-66. The next 10 minutes we watched coaches, officials and scorekeepers deliberate, and eventually they changed the score to 68-66, Cross on top.  It was strange to say the least, and the CIAC hasn’t returned phone calls to clarify the process for this sort of challenge, or who made the challenge. 

In the last 20 seconds, Hillhouse scrambled and 5’9 junior guard Jalil Wilkerson grabbed the ball and hit a contested three from the wing to tie it 69-69.  Time seemingly ran out, the buzzer sounded, but once again the officials huddled and put 4.1 seconds back on the clock.

Wilbur Cross missed a desperation attempt at the end of regulation, pushing the game into extra time. The crowd hummed with excitement.

The Governors look defeated and wound up losing in overtime.

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In overtime junior guard Tyler Douglas led the Academics to the victory with big shots, clutch free throws, and stellar defense.


The Jesuits Earn Longest Win Streak in the State by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Fairfield Prep 64 (11-0), Xavier 41 (9-2)

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Although Fairfield Prep didn’t play its best basketball game, the Jesuits were still able to continue their undefeated campaign defeating Xavier Friday night 64-41.

“We had other guys that stepped up and we won with our defense, and didn’t win with our offense,” Prep coach Leo Redgate mentioned after the game. “We have to focus on making sure we are playing our best defense, and to be a good team at the end of year we have to be very strong defensively.”

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Prep led 11-7 at the end of a sloppy first quarter, and went into the second with the momentum on their side after a 3-point field goal from downtown from senior star Rich Kelly.

After netting the trey ball from downtown in the first, Kelly put his foot on the gas petal.  He lit up the Xavier defense for 12-second quarter points and Prep led 30-19 going into the locker room at half. 

Xavier could do little to overcome the full court pressure of the Jesuits.  Xavier struggled to hit open shots but nearly all of Xavier’s opportunities were contested.

Xavier fell behind by 47-29 by the end of the third quarter. 

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Prep was able to extend its lead due in part to Rich Kelly’s unselfish play and his brother’s offensive surge. John Kelly, a player ready to explode on the CIAC, scored seven of his 15 points in a short stretch of the third quarter. He hit a mix of shots, inside, midrange jumpers and a three.  The younger is getting more assertive and look for him to be a key element to Prep’s LL title defense.

Down 18 going into the fourth, Xavier hoisted a few too many deep threes that didn’t connect and Prep was able to coast to an easy road victory against top SCC team. 

Rich Kelly finished the game with 18 points, leading all scorers, and Xavier was lead by Gianni Calistro with 10 points. 

Prep now owns the state longest winning streak, 15 games in a row. Up next for the Jesuits is Daniel Hand on the road Tuesday evening.

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Kelly's Late Free Throws Prevent Early Upset For Prep by CTHoopsNews

By: Nate Rubinstein (@Nate_Rubinstein) & Sam Rubinstein (@_samruby)

Fairfield Ludlowe (3-1) 48, Fairfield Prep (4-0) 52

2015 Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic Champions. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

2015 Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic Champions.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

The Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic wrapped up this evening and the Jesuits of Fairfield Prep were able to deliver yet another title, defeating the Falcons of Fairfield Ludlowe 52-48.

Alumni Hall on Fairfield University’s campus had a big-game atmosphere as both student sections cheered loud and proud, making the fourth game of the year feel like a state championship.

It was a tight contest throughout, as the Falcons took a one-point half time lead. Prep didn’t back down though. The second half was just as back-and-forth as the first, as Fairfield Ludlowe had a chance to tie in the final minute before turning the ball over and putting Prep on the foul line to seal the deal.

Prior to tonight, the Jesuits have won each of their three games by a margin of 16 points or greater. Prep had to follow strategy at the end of the game to keep the scrappy Falcons from making another run for the lead.

“Be patient, hold your composure and protect the basketball,” Redgate told his team down the stretch. “We didn’t want to have any turnovers and I thought we did a good job using our timeouts without forcing any bad in-bounds passes.”

The senior leadership from Rich Kelly and Matt Gerics definitely shined through tonight. Kelly put in 21 points and dished out five assists, while Gerics made some clutch plays at the end of the game and chipped in four points with three steals.

Along with the seniors, junior big man Patrick Harding scored 12, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted away four shots. 

The key man for the Falcons tonight was senior, Thomas Duffy. He kept the Falcons alive when it seemed like Prep was about to break things open by consistently knocking down three pointers. He finished with a team high 17 points. Other contributors were junior Aidan Kudzy, who dropped eight points, and sophomore Cole Prowitt-Smith who scored seven.

Ludlow gave Prep a run for their money and gave the number 3 ranked Jesuits a little bit of a reality check for what they need to work on moving on in the season.

“I think we have a lot of work to do,” mentioned Coach Redgate on his analysis of his team’s play. “Defensively we are not very solid right now, and that is kind of what we pride our program on.”

Although Prep wasn’t satisfied with their performance, they are aware that it is early in the year and they have time to work out the kinks that are presented after the first four games. They go on the road to face a strong conference rival in Hillhouse which will be another great test as they are currently ranked #4 in the state

The Falcons will regroup and take on the Ridgefield Tigers for their next contest, which will be at their home gym on January 5th.

Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic All Tournament Team  From left to right: Marcel Parsons (Fairfield Warde), Jordan Pettway (Notre Dame-Fairfield), Thomas Duffy (Fairfield Ludlowe), Greg Lawrence (Fairfield Ludlowe), Rich Kelly (MVP, Fairfield Prep), Pat Harding (Fairfield Prep) Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic All Tournament Team 

From left to right: Marcel Parsons (Fairfield Warde), Jordan Pettway (Notre Dame-Fairfield), Thomas Duffy (Fairfield Ludlowe), Greg Lawrence (Fairfield Ludlowe), Rich Kelly (MVP, Fairfield Prep), Pat Harding (Fairfield Prep)

Provided by: CTHoopsNews




Defending State Champions Get Back to Work Right Where They Left Off by CTHoopsNews

By: Nate Rubinstein ( @ Nate_Rubinstein ) & Steve Harrison

Fairfield Prep (1-0) 107, Shelton (0-1) 52

 

Murray Gymnasium at Shelton High School was in the Christmas spirit, but the Gaels were unable to get the job done against the Fairfield Prep Jesuits.

The Jesuits came out of the gate red hot in their season opener with an 11- 1 run in the first 3 minutes of play. Rich Kelly led the way in the first half with 15 points, finishing with 25 on the night. The senior was delighted with his team’s performance as they look to defend a state championship from last year.

 

Junior guard Philip Vlandis of the Fairfield Prep Jesuits goes up for layup strong in the paint. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Junior guard Philip Vlandis of the Fairfield Prep Jesuits goes up for layup strong in the paint.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

“Our big guys played great, and they played tough down low. Pat [Harding] had almost every rebound and the rest of the team had three rebounds at half time,” said Kelly. “Matt [Gerics] was all over the ball, Drew [Rolapp] played great just overall and my brother John [Kelly] who is a sophomore played well too. Everyone had a good night.”

Shelton showed some life in the end of the first half when they began to push the ball down court more on the fast break. However when the action started back up in the second half, the Gaels were unable to keep up with Prep throughout the rest of the contest.

For Shelton, co-captain Casey Belade led the team with 19 points. Other captain Matt Terrasi chipped in with nine, and junior Jeff Stockmal contributed with eight points and five assists.

The stat sheet was stuffed on Fairfield Prep’s end of the book. Along with his 25 points, Rich Kelly dished out 11 dimes and grabbed three rebounds. Big man Patrick Harding finished the game with 18 points and 14 rebounds, dominating the glass the entire night. Senior guard Matt Gerics netted 11 while junior Robert Haskins added 12 points as well. Not to mention sophomore John Kelly knocking down multiple three pointers to end with 14 on the night.

After winning a LL state championship last season, the Jesuits lost multiple key players to graduation. Coach Leo Redgate mentioned how the team does miss the seniors from last year, but this years team has the same, if not more in their arsenal of weapons.

“We miss those players a lot and we are really proud about where the program is. We always bring up the younger players and the younger players are getting ready to contribute at the varsity level,” said Redgate. “We are certainly not going to miss any offensive production. If anything, we may miss some personalities, and things that are great to have around. Ultimately, we are just going to ‘plug and play’. Whoever we got is going to play Fairfield Prep style basketball.”

Shelton continues their schedule on the road against Hamden on Wednesday, the 23rd, and Prep will face off against Amity back at home on Wednesday as well.

The Jesuits are deep and have a bunch of teammates that can compete and help in their quest to defend the LL state championship. As Rich Kelly stated in his post-game interview, their teamwork is a “remedy for success”. 

States: Nolan Finished Career with LL Championship by CTHoopsNews

Fairfield Prep 51 vs. Westhill 50

 

 

Mohegan Sun Arena was packed for the much anticipated night cap between Fairfield Prep and Westhill. The Jesuits were back for the second year after a crushing loss to Bridgeport Central roughly 365 days earlier.

At 22-1, both teams were prepared for the 32 minute battle that took place. In the first half, the pace of the game was fast and highly unorganized. At half time, Prep found themselves down three to a team fueled by Tyrell Alexander, who had 10 in the half.

With little production from standout Jeremiah Livingston, the Vikings turned to their role players to carry them through. CJ Donaldson finished with 14 points and controlled the ball while Livingston was being shut out.

On the other side of the ball the Jesuits’ star, Thomas Nolan, was just 1-7 in the first half while the four other starters scored 5 points or more.

 

The second half showed much of the same from both teams. A game that was hyped as a prize fight between two senior guards turned into a war between two well-trained armies.

However, the turning point of the game may have come at the end of the third, and it did involve Nolan. The seesaw battle was beginning to tip in Westhill’s favor toward the end of the quarter, leading 44-39 with 4.4 seconds remaining. Prep inbounded the ball to Nolan who cut toward the opposite baseline, curled toward center court, caught the ball, took two dribbles, and knocked down a half court three as time expired to make it a 44-42 ball game.

When asked about the shot, Nolan said he couldn’t believe it. “It’s one of those shots you dream of but never think is going to go in in a game like this.”

Prep junior guard Rich Kelly gave a more measured reaction. “That shot was huge. If he doesn’t make that, we’re going into the fourth down five with [Westhill] getting the ball to start. We could have been down 7. Instead it was just 2.”

Halfway into the 4th quarter, it was Kelly who gave Prep the lead on an open three from the wing. After a series of turnovers by both teams, Livingston went to the line and put Westhill back within 1.

The tired shot clock debate came back into play from there as Prep was content milking minutes off the clock until the Vikings put them on the line.

With under a minute left Kelly took the front end of a one and one after just going two for two in the same situation and missed long. “I didn’t want to miss short and I just put too much on it,” Kelly would recall after the game. “I hit a lot of free throws in crunch time in the last game and I expected to do the same tonight. I’m just glad we were able to pull this one out.”

After a defensive stop it was Nolan’s turn to ice the game, but again the shot bounced out. Nolan echoed Kelly’s sentiment about his crucial miss. “I have hit those all year so to miss was tough. I’m just relieved.”

Off the miss, and a few lucky bounces the ball found Juan DeLacruz of Westhill. He drove into the lane and kicked it out to Vashon Natteal who had made two big three pointers earlier in the game. This one, at the buzzer, came up just short.

Coach White had the life sucked out of him as he described the play, “We had a good look. We had a good shot, it just didn't fall.”He CONTINUED, “The idea was to get the ball to Jeremiah, but you can’t just rely on one player… Everyone stepped up today.”

 

Perhaps Kelly said it best when he summed up those fateful free throws. “It felt pretty bad when I missed that one and one but I had a feeling we were going to pull it out tonight. Things added up and we scored one more than they did.”



By: Brent Pelella and E.J. Bachinski

States: Fairfield Prep Wins a Thriller to Get to Mohegan by CTHoopsNews

Fairfield Prep 59 vs Hillhouse 57

 

 
Last night the Fairfield Prep Jesuits and the Hillhouse Academics met up for the 11th time in the past 3 seasons. This year Prep won both contests in the regular season, however this wasn’t going to stop their SCC foes.

From the tip Prep immediately gained the momentum from a 3 pointer from Senior Ryan Foley, and then a steal and finish from Fairfield University commit, Thomas Nolan. After that, it got SLOW for the Jesuits as Hillhouse STARTED to pick up the offensive flow.

Hillhouse was led by John Lewis as he put in 14 points and snatched 5 rebounds off the glass. Ball handling wiz Joseph Kasperzyk Jr. had the crowd hooting and hollering with his Allen Iverson like crossover. He finished with 9 and intercepted 3 steals on defense.

Aaron White of the Academics controlled the boards for his team as he grabbed 10 and chipped in 9 points. Hillhouse led the game most of the way, until Prep decided to turn it up in the last couple of minutes of the game.

When Thomas Nolan of Prep fouled out with about 2 and half to go, the Jesuits turned to Junior guard Richard Kelly to take charge. Nolan, who finished with 13 points, told GametimeCT, “When I fouled out I went to Richie and said, ‘I lost at the Mohegan Sun Arena twice. Don’t let me and our other seniors end our careers like this.”

Kelly led all scorers with 17 points, also dishing out 3 assists. However, when it came down to the final seconds the man who scored the first basket of the game ended up being the guy who put it into overtime. Ryan Foley took the ball strong to the paint and the roar of the Jesuit student section could be heard from across the state. After regulation the score was tied at 49.

In overtime it was clear that Fairfield Prep was the team that was the most focused and motivated to win. They SLOWED the tempo of the game down and hit their foul shots when it counted. Ryan Foley finished with 7 points and Matthew Gerics came off the bench with 6. The Final score in overtime was Prep 59, Hillhouse 57.

Prep goes onto their 3rd straight appearance in the class LL state final. They will face off against Westhill High School from Stamford, CT as Nolan and the Jesuits look to complete their mission.

 

By: Nate Rubinstein

States: Hartford Public Advances to Semifinal by CTHoopsNews

Hartford Public 61 vs. Simsbury 51

 

The quarter final matchup between the Simsbury High School Trojans and the Hartford Public High School Owls was neck to neck until the last minute. The final score of 61-51, Owls, does not emphasize the closeness of the game. The Trojans repeatedly faced ten point deficits and came back within striking distance, but the Owls prevailed in the end.

Leading scorer for the Owls, Ellis Reid was a force to be reckoned with. He ended up with seventeen points and controlled the paint on defense absolutely ending the game with five blocks (not sure if that is exact). His height combined with the excellent passing of the Owl’s was too much for the Trojans to handle.

Early on the Owls opened up on an 11-1 run, ripping apart the Trojan’s zone with superb perimeter and inside-out passing; however a lot of turnovers on part of the Owls allowed the Trojans to slim the gap with a score of 13-7 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was highlighted by the Trojan’s ability to light it up from deep. Luke Gorkofsky and Rayon Christie both had two three pointers in the quarter, one of Christie’s being an electrifying buzzer beater from deep. The score was 26-23 at the end of the half with the Owl’s on top.

Similar to the first half, the Owls opened up the second half on a 9-3 run. Simsbury’s two-three zone was no match for the prolific passing of the Owls. But once again the three point shooting of the Trojans led by Christie helped the Trojans close the third quarter on a 16-8 run. The final score of the third was 41-37 Owls once again. During this quarter Rayon Christie joined the Simsbury 1000 point club.

The fourth quarter was a tug of war between the two teams. With two minutes left the score was tied at 47, but it was at this point that the Owls put the dagger in the coffin. Shakeem James tickled the twine from the corner to put the Owls ahead 50-47, and immediately on the defensive possession after James had a steal leading to a breakaway layup to give the Owls a two possession lead with a minute and a half left. After the game James said, “A lot was going through my mind, but it felt great to put the game away with that steal.”

All in all, the Trojans were persistent but the Owls never faltered and maintained a lead the entire game. Their press and up tempo offense was too much for the Trojans to handle. The scoring of the Owls was an all around contribution with Shakeem James having 12 points and Jordan Alexander having 9 points. The Owls will play Westhill Tuesday March 17th at a site and time to be determined.

 

By: Rob Brewster