Class M Tournament: Brookfield Caps Off Comeback For A Chance To Play In Class M Title by CTHoopsNews

By Sam Rubinstein

While the world waits for college basketball’s NCAA tournament to officially kick off tomorrow, Connecticut has been quietly enjoying its own form of March Madness. Upsets and nail biting games have been common throughout the state these last few weeks and tonight was no exception.

The Brookfield Bobcats took down the Tolland Eagles 73-70 in the class M semifinal at Maloney High School. They will move on to the Class M championship game at Mohegan Sun on Saturday, March 18th where they await the winner of Holy Cross and Bloomfield. 

 One of the main story lines coming into the game was how the star seniors from each squad would perform under the bright lights. Tolland’s Andrew Jaworski and Brookfield’s Austin Dasilva did not disappoint.

Jaworski, the Babson-bound senior, showed why he has been one of the most underrated players in the state this season. Jaworski, nicknamed “Jaws,” tallied 34 points including six made 3-pointers. He did a tremendous job changing speeds off the high-ball screen where he was able to string out Brookfield’s defenders to open up the floor to create.

While Jaworski was under control and preferred to walk the ball up most possessions, Brookfield’s Dasilva was the opposite. The UConn soccer commit played at one speed: fast.

Dasilva finished with 23 points, 12 of them coming in the 4th. He didn’t have the tightest handle but was extremely shifty and found his way to get into the paint. When he did get to the rim, whether it was a high arc bank shot or an extended finger roll, he found a way to put the ball in the basket. Not only did he hold the keys to the Bobcat offense, he was as scrappy and physical as they come on the defensive end.

Dasilva guarded Jaworksi in the 4th and held him to just five points.

The Bobcats’ 2-2-1 full court zone gave the Eagles trouble to start the game, resulting in several turnovers and several Brookfield fast breaks. Tolland held steady though and began to knock down some perimeter shots.

Jaworski came out in the flow to start the second. He scored a total of 18 points in the quarter alone to give Tolland the lead. Brookfield’s press that worked so well in the first didn’t have as many chances to get set up in the second caused by the fact they only made three field goals. All of the Bobcat misses gave Tolland a chance to walk the ball up and get set up in their half-court offense, where Jaworksi took over.

The Tolland offense continued their high level of play in the second half where they put up another 24 points in the third. This time, though, Brookfield had answers.

David Albanese, Brookfield’s big who also finished with a game high 34 points was automatic around the rim. Turnaround bank shots out of the post, reverse finishes off of offensive rebounds, and even a tip slam off of a Dasilva miss; everything in Albanese’s repertoire was working.

Brookfield kept scraping away at Tolland’s lead and eventually; they pounced on their opportunity.

After a Tolland miss, Dasilva slowly walked the ball up the floor. After the several times of driving to the rim, no one in the gym expected him to pull up from the top of the key. But it’s March; so of course he did. Dasilva sunk the 3 to tie the game at 68-68, sending the Bobcat fan section into a frenzy. A few possessions went back and forth until it was under a minute left. Brookfield’s scattered offense generated a decent look that bounced out. Albanese then grabbed another offensive rebound and finished underneath to take the lead for good.

Tolland had a look in the corner to tie at the buzzer, but the shot was left short and the buzzer sounded.

 Along with Jaworski, Tolland was led by Jason Clough’s 16 points and Collin O’Connor’s 10. Brookfield’s Lucas Joshi knocked in 12 points, all off of the trey ball.

Brookfield will play this Saturday, March 18th at 12:30pm, at Mohegan Sun Arena. They await the winner of No. 4 seed Holy Cross and No. 8 seed Bloomfield.

CIAC/Berkshire League: Lewis Mills Captures Share of League Title with 74-39 Victory Over Wamogo by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The Spartans of Lewis Mills (16-1) throttled rival Wamogo (13-3) 74-39 to earn a share of the Berkshire League title.  The Spartans will only have to beat a 4-11 Housatonic Regional to claim the title outright.  They will beat Housatonic.   Congrats!  It's been a couple decades since the Spartans claimed a boys basketball title and it may be there last because Lewis Mills is contemplating leaving the Berkshire League for the CCC.  Coach Jim Barone said, “The support from this community is tremendous. I know my name is at the top of this program but nothing is possible without our assistant coaches.”  The Lewis Mills coaching staff had their kids ready for Wamogo.

Wamogo is known for their pressure defense.  Coach Barone spent time prepping his squad for it.  He said, “Coach Hunt is a coaching legend… and their 2-2-1 press is something you have to prepare for.”  He added, “out preparation really started with how to beat their press.”  This first quarter was even. Lewis Mills led 14-13 after one.  The second and third quarters were much different. 

The Spartans jumped all over Wamogo.  Leading 16-15 Lewis Mills went on a 14-0 run and finished the first half up 35-17.  In the third, the Spartans got inspired play from junior G Kyle Alvarez. He hit on four three-pointers and help extend their lead to 58-33.   Alvarez finished with 14 points.  Wamogo was unable to deal with the solid defense of the Spartans. Wamogo didn’t have a player score in double figures. The defense from 6’5 sophomore Josh Schibi and 6’3 senior Trevor Baker was too much for an undersized Wamogo squad.  Baker said, “This victory secured at least a co-champ league title." He added, "it’s a great victory but we will enjoy Senior Night and try and win out and keep getting those victories.” Schibi and Baker scored game and team high of 16 points a piece. 

 

Noteworthy:  Wamogo was led by Eric Zappone and senior captain Garrett Sattazahn with nine points a piece.  Lewis Mills is ranked #1 in the CIAC Class M playoff system. 

CIAC/NVL: Etienne Carries Cross to Comeback over Crosby by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

Kerson Etienne, a 5’8 junior PG, played big tonight in leading his Holy Cross Crusaders (11-1) to a 77-72 victory over city rival Crosby (8-4).  Etienne scored a game-high 29 points.  His performance in the second quarter allowed Holy Cross to stay close enough to mount a furious 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter.  In that second quarter, Etienne scored 11 straight points for the Crusaders before being taking out after picking up his second personal foul.  Etienne said, “coach told me to step up my game, and I hit a big three, got a steal and hit a layup.” Despite all that Crosby led 33-28 at the half but, it could have easily been in the double digits.

The Bulldogs and the Crusaders struggled to make clean basketball plays without also fouling or turning the ball over.  At one point players from both squads were making careless plays with and without the ball.  In a Brass City rivalry game, it's always possible for a little extra contact during the action and after the whistle.  Crosby was a little bit more prepared for this and used that advantage to open a 60-47 lead at the end of the third quarter. 

This extra action culminated in a double technical called on Crosby’s Miguel Rivera and Crusader Marcellus Gomes.  The difference was that it counted as Rivera’s fifth foul.  The Bulldogs would be without their primary ball handler and it probably cost them the game.  Crusader head coach Ryan Olsen said, “We caught a break when Rivera picked up the technical foul and fouled out of the game because our pressure would have been less effective with him in the game.”  He added, “That fourth quarter was Holy Cross basketball from the Generali days, all out intensity, on the floor for loose balls and contesting every shot.” The Crusaders, down 60-47 at the start of the fourth quarter worked hard to force the Bulldogs to turn the ball over and got scoring from everyone.  Junior DeAndre Wallace scored six of his seven points in the fourth, and junior Nyzair Rountree scored eight of his 19 points in that crucial stretch as well. Rountree scored a bucket to pull his team within two 68-66 and the Crusader press forced another turnover. Rountree was there to scoop up the ball and score a layup tying the game 68-68 with 1:39 to go.   Then it was Etienne again!  He hit a three giving the Crusaders a 71-68 lead.  Etienne’s three capped a 24-8 run and he hit five consecutive free throws down the stretch to help Cross complete the comeback.

 

Noteworthy: Crosby was led by Kerwin Prince who scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Miguel Rivera scored 15 points, and Jeremiah Kendal continued to fill up the stat sheet by scoring 21 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. 

CIAC Class M Tournament Final: Heron Leaves with Bang! by CTHoopsNews

By: Brent Pelella

Sacred Heart (23-2) 101, ND-Fairfield (21-4) 49

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Sacred Heart wasn't interested in all the hype surrounding this year's unpredictable NCAA March Madness field. Over the past week, their players have witnessed the several upsets by mid-major college programs, and had a determination to sail safer waters. 

I learned a few things during the duration of the Hearts beat-down of Notre Dame-Fairfield, and none of them had to do with the final score. There was very little doubt that Mustapha Heron would take home his 3rd State Title, but it was his motor that stood out. 

Auburn Commit, Mustapha Heron, flies in for a dunk during Sacred Heart's 101-49 State Championship victory. 

Auburn Commit, Mustapha Heron, flies in for a dunk during Sacred Heart's 101-49 State Championship victory. 

 

Early on, Heron had an undoubtable look in his eye. He controlled the pace of the game on both ends and hit 4-6 from the field for 12 points. He explained his motivation, "Our team has worked so hard all year and this as the ultimate goal. We wanted to cement our legacy.

Coach Carroll reiterated his star's comment, "The core group of seniors (Mustapha, Tyrn Flowers, Charles Fisher and John Riddick) have improved exponentially since they've been here. I just told them that if they continue to learn every day, they can continue to be successful at the next level."

UMass committ Tyrn Flowers showed his division 1 talent in spurts as he finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Coach Vin Laczkoski of ND-Fairfield told me, "Mustapha and the rest of those guys, that's King Kong in this division. I'm proud of the way my players competed and I never question their resiliency. Sacred Heart was just incredible tonight."

Just a quick perspective, Sacred Heart totaled 48 points in the paint tonight... ND scored 49 total points. The Hearts are Connecticut's best team hands down. It was fun to watch.

 

 

Hearts Trample Bulldogs in NVL Match by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

 

 Sacred Heart (15-2) 91, Crosby (12-3) 66

 

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The Sacred Heart and Crosby basketball games have become the most anticipated, and most exciting the NVL has to offer. This year has been different than the previous two years. In January, the Hearts romped over the Bulldogs 96-61, and tonight the Hearts easily beat the Bulldogs again, 91-66. Sacred Heart is now 15-2 while Crosby falls to 12-3.

The Bulldogs opened the game strong. However down 14-12, with three minutes remaining, the Hearts pressed on the gas. UMass commit Tryn Flowers led the Hearts in a burst of dunks and threes.

Flowers connected on eight of his ten first quarter points in a minute or so span where the Hearts took a two point deficit, and turned it into a 23-14 lead. The Hearts led 25-18 at the end of the first quarter.

The first quarter was notable for Mustapha Heron’s aerial display, and took the crowd’s breath away with a spectacular two-handed 360 dunk. 

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Flowers and Heron accounted for twenty of the team’s 25 points.

Sacred Heart built on their lead throughout the second quarter, and at the half, the Hearts led 49-30. 

Flowers and Heron finished the half with 19 and 14 points respectively. Flowers played efficiently, taking advantage of every opportunity and finished with 26 points. Heron played explosively, and physically dominated the Bulldogs, and finished with 31 points.  

In the second half the Bulldogs couldn’t get closer than a 67-54 deficit early in the fourth quarter. The 6’4 Heron scored 12 points in limited action in the fourth quarter; and he did it with flash, and power.

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Hearts senior guard Charles Fisher finished with 10 points and sophomore guard Raheem Solomon matched that with 10 of his own. 

Crosby was led by the duo of Daquan Sinisterra and Jeremiah Kendall who scored 16 and 14 points respectively. 



Sacred Heart Beginning to Get Back in a Groove by CTHoopsNews

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By: Robbie Goodrich

Holy Cross (10-3) 65 vs. Sacred Heart (13-2) 77

 

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Sacred Heart boy’s basketball team is now on a four game winning streak after defeating the Holy Cross Crusaders Friday night. Holy Cross pushed the Hearts more than any other N.V.L. squad has since the N.V.L. championship game against Crosby last year. 

The Hearts pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 77-65.

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Mustapha Heron led the Hearts and finished with 23 points. Heron talked about a key stretch in the third quarter, where his team was struggling to make shots and the game was tight.

“Shots weren’t falling,” Heron said. “We did a good job of rebounding and holding them to one shot, and made sure we made our free throws.”

Senior Tryn Flowers added 18 points, a bunch of blocks and composure when his team needed it the most. 

“We played with heart today, with a lot of turnovers in the beginning of the game,” Flowers said after the game. “A tie game (early) we could come back, and played harder earlier.” 

Flowers, a 6-foot-8 senior has been hampered by a nagging lower back injury and even said, when asked about his health, that he was about 90 percent. 

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The Hearts and Crusaders were locked in a tight game for three quarters.  Even with Holy Cross in early foul trouble they were still able to keep the Hearts on their heels.  

Sophomore Deandre Wallace and senior Jonathan Mowatt for Holy Cross both picked up two early fouls and went to the bench to ride out the first half. 

Wallace is an impressive young player who is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds. He only finished with seven points.

Mowatt finished with 11 points, and senior Justin Strielkauskas led Holy Cross with 14 points.  Strielkauskas kept the Crusaders close in the second and third quarters with 12 of his 14 coming in a short stretch where he hit three long balls. 

Holy Cross led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter, but the Hearts slowly took control of the game with a 40-35 halftime lead, and led 60-54 at the end of the third. 

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In the fourth, the Hearts got a big boost from junior Courie Stevenson.  He entered the game and scored all seven of his points, which help push the lead up to double digits, the score being 75-63.

Holy Cross is in the midst of a difficult stretch. They will play Wilby, Crosby and Kennedy over the next ten days. 

“To play hard against great competition like Sacred Heart you’re going to get better,” Holy Cross head coach Generali said. “So we’ll take all the pluses out of this game that we can.”  

Coach Generali and the Crusaders are looking to win all three games. The Hearts face Kennedy, Torrington and Crosby over the same stretch.  

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Sacred Heart Loses Second Straight in Big Apple Classic by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Sacred Heart (8-2) 72, Long Island Lutheran (New York) 73

Sacred Heart was coming off its first defeat in 40 games and was looking to start another streak.  The Hearts are going have to wait to start that streak, Falling to Long Island Lutheran 73-72.

 Long Island Lutheran came ready to battle with their super star, and Indiana Hoosier to be, Devonte Green.  Green is a 6’2 180 lbs. point guard with sick handle and a good basketball IQ.  He never seems to be out of control and is always looking score.  He did plenty of that tonight. Green shot 14-for-25 from the field, 4-for-9 from three, and 7-for-11 from the free throw line. He totaled 39 points and added five rebounds.  At times no Sacred Heart defender could keep in front of him and when it mattered most he made the big shot to keep Sacred Heart at bay. 

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 Sacred Heart trailed 30-25 going into the locker-room at halftime, but in a crucial third period stretch where Lutheran had pushed their lead to 11 points, after a Green three from the top of the key, is where Mustapha Heron started to put his mark on the game. 

 Heron, a 6’4 guard/forward who will be attending Auburn next year, scored six of the Hearts nine points in a mini run to cut the Lutheran lead to 47-45 in less than minute. 

 The game turned into match play when Sacred Heart sophomores Raheem Solomon and Courie Stevenson converted an old-fashioned three-point play and a deep three respectively. The score after three quarters was Lutheran 52-50 over the Hearts.

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 Heron was unable to get his teammates involved and finished the game 13-for-28 from the field; three more shot attempts than the rest of the team combined. He finished with 41 points and 13 rebounds, but his teammates where listless in the fourth quarter.

 The teams raced back forth, check that, Green and Heron raced back and forth. Heron hit two free throws with a minute to go to take a 71-69 lead.  Green rushed down and with Heron draped all over him hit a ridiculous fall-away to take back the lead 71-70. 

 Next possession, Sacred Heart’s Solomon was fouled and with 27.6 seconds left on the clock he nailed both free throws to give the Hearts a 72-71 lead. 

 Lutheran takes the ball out and runs the clock down, and with less than 11 seconds left Charles Manning gets the ball on the baseline, and goes up and over Sacred Heart’s 6’8 Tyrn Flowers for the tough layup and victory.  Manning finished with 13 points and the game winner. 

 Heron missed a desperation three from about 30 feet and that was the ball game.

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 Sacred Heart now as a two game losing streak, and Heron, along with the rest of the Hearts, are determined to get back to their winning ways.

“We are going use this as fuel and go back, learn from this, and practice hard, and be ready for the rest of season,” said Heron after the game. “We are going to raise our level of play… and the teams we play over the next couple of months should be scared.”


Bloomfield Gives East Catholic First Loss of Season by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Bloomfield (8-0) 58 vs. East Catholic (7-1) 45

 

The fourth ranked East Catholic Eagles fell to an undefeated Bloomfield Warhawks 58- 45 in last night’s CCC matchup.

 Without their two best players, East Catholic struggled to get momentum on their side.

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 University of San Diego bound Mark Carbone was out with a knee injury and junior small forward Mike McGuirl is out indefinitely with multiple facial fractures that were the result of a viscous foul in the Eagles game against Tolland. 

“It’s the worst foul I have seen during my 29 years involved in basketball,” said East Catholic coach Luke Reilly on the foul that cost McGuirl’s season.

 The first few minutes were frantic, and the Warhawks took advantage of the poor ball security by the Eagles. From the tip, Bloomfield sped out to a 13-0 lead, making the most of every offensive possession. 

 Bloomfield’s high energy put a young and inexperienced East Catholic lineup on their heels.  The Warhawks pressured and harassed the Eagles into 20 plus turnovers. 

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 In the first quarter Bloomfield’s trio of Dexter Lawson, Jordan Pruitt and Mark Reaves Jr. all hit three pointers; and all three put heavy pressure on the Eagles all night.  Bloomfield all but shut down the East Catholic scoring attack.

 On the other hand, freshman guard Joey Reilly, nephew of Coach Luke Reilly, was tremendous. He poured in 21 points and was at times the most impressive player on the floor, however his efforts were not good enough to carry the eagles to victory. We will hear more about this upcoming frosh in the future. 

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 For the Warhawks, Lawson led the way with 13 points, Pruitt contributed 12 and Reeves Jr. chipped in 10.

Bloomfield will continue their undefeated campaign on the road next Tuesday as they travel to Tolland. East Catholic also is on the road, visiting East Hartford next Friday.

 

 


Woodland Unable to Keep Up With the Hearts by CTHoopsNews

By: John Frasco

Sacred Heart (7-0) 99, Woodland (2-4) 49

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Sacred Heart proved to be too much for Woodland tonight as they cruised to a 99-49 victory. 

Although Woodland fought hard and put forth a major effort, Sacred Heart was quicker, stronger and simply more talented.

Sacred Heart has a deep bench that allows them to have fresh legs throughout each contest. This depth is one of the factors that makes the Hearts such a lethal team

This will be another year where Sacred Heart is one of the favorites for a state championship, however this year they are competing as a class M team, rather than class S.

The Hawks look to take this loss as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and will use this experience to help prepare for their next matchup against St. Paul Catholic on Wednesday. When they head back to the drawing board they will be able to reassess their strategies.

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Sacred Heart on the other hand will host the Crosby Bulldogs at Alumni Hall Friday night. With the Bulldogs in the building, there may very well be another sold out event at the Heart's home gym.

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Woodland Hawks Find Answers With Win Over Derby by CTHoopsNews

By: John Frasco

Woodland (2-3) 71, Derby (0-5) 54

The Woodland Hawks have found their swagger in the game against Derby High School. They are putting the pieces together and beginning to play as a team.

The Hawks have instituted a few new offensive plays into their arsenal.  These new plays are a long awaited entity to the game and accomplishing new offensive opportunities.

Tyler Collodel setting up the offense for the Woodland Hawks. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Tyler Collodel setting up the offense for the Woodland Hawks.

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Woodland is being lead on offense by Tyler Collodel, a short statured player with a heart of a blue whale. Tyler’s quick transition offense and the ability to drive into the basket keeps the defense on their heels. Tyler is also a threat on defense by quickly stopping plays and gaining steals.

Rich Rousseau at the charity stripe. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Rich Rousseau at the charity stripe.

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To assist Tyler, Rich Rousseau has been a dominant rebounder.  Rich is also adding points to the board with his offensive rebounding.

Forward John Scripo has assisted the team with rebounding and three point scoring.  Although Scripo has played intermittently he has been a significant contributor on offense and defense when in the game.  With the contributions from Scripo, the Hawks may look to turn to him more often.

Now that Woodland has found some answers to their pre-season questions, they hope to add a few more wins and hopefully a berth for the class M state tournament.

Hearts Conquer Eagles With Ease by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Kennedy (4-1) 49, Sacred Heart (6-0) 96

 

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The ticket window opened at 4:30 for a 7:00 pm start.  It was sold out by 5:45. 750 plus fans packed the small gym and were ready for a battle.  It didn't happen.  

Sacred Heart and nominated McDonald's All-American Mustapha Heron routed city rival Kennedy H.S. by 47 points. Believe it or not, it could have been much worse.

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Heron and the Hearts leaped out to a 22-12 first quarter lead.  Auburn bound Heron scored 16 first half points and was brilliant despite the chippy nature of the game. He flowed from the wing to the paint hitting tough shot after tough shot.  

Heron seeks out contact and uses his big frame to force defenders to sellout, or get out of the way. He finished with 35 points, which included an 8-11 performance from the charity stripe.

Kennedy fell behind big in the second quarter and couldn't draw any closer than a 48-22 halftime deficit. The Eagles were paced by Darryl Flowers with a gutty 26 points.

Kennedy’s other top player Jaivaun McKnight, was ineffective with only 8 points, and was clearly frustrated by the stifling defense of the Heart’s guards Charles Fisher and Raheem Solomon.  

The Hearts scored with ease, three's, and flash.  Heart’s 6'8 senior Tyrn Flowers hit a couple long three's, but also had two spectacular dunks. One in the first half on a fast break, and the other was crowd-pleasing reverse slam on an alley hoop. He finished with a breezy 26 points and a handful of blocks.  

It was total domination by the Hearts. Next up, they have a stretch of eight games in 16 days where they play in two tournaments, facing nationally acclaimed teams at the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, MA and Big Apple Classic in New York, NY.  

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If the Hearts lose this season it will come during that stretch of games. 

Watertown Holds Off Scrappy Nonnewaug by CTHoopsNews

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

Watertown (1-2) 58, Nonnewaug (2-1) 39

Watertown defeats Nonnewaug in Nonnewaug Holiday Tournament to advance to championship. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Watertown defeats Nonnewaug in Nonnewaug Holiday Tournament to advance to championship.

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In the other end of the bracket of the Nonnewaug Holiday Tournament was a matchup between the NVL’s owns Watertown Indians and the home team Nonnewaug Chiefs out of the Berkshire League.

Nonnewaug was unable to stick with the Indians in the second half, forcing them to lose their first contest of the year 58-39.

Throughout the first half of play, both teams had troubles getting the rock to go through the net. Sloppy and scrappy play led to many turnovers and whistles blown by the referees due to a plethora of fouls.

Going into the locker room the Indians led 26-22 and knew that they would have to come out with intensity on all ends to get the victory over the Chiefs, and they did just that.

“Our defensive effort. We picked that up,” said Coach Edward Sakl III, head coach of Watertown, on the momentum change in the second half. “Even though the shots may not be falling on the offensive end, you can always work on the defensive end. Our energy from our offense comes from our defense.”

Watertown followed their coach’s wise words applying ferocious pressure on the Chief’s guards to force easy transition points on the other end. The Indians controlled the pace of the rest of the game, putting Nonnewaug out of rhythm.

Mike Vailonis of the Indians led all scorers with 14, and his counterpart Joe Lucas finished with 12 with all of his points coming from three-point land. Watertown also received help from Pat Barber who chipped in 11 and had five rebounds. Lastly, Nick Mondak put in seven points while being a force on the glass grabbing 13 rebounds.

Devon Fledler, scoring 12 points, catching seven rebounds and stealing the ball four times on the defensive end, conducted the tribe’s offense. Nick Peccica marked seven points to contribute to Nonnewaug’s total.

Watertown, attributing their first win, will move on to the championship game tomorrow against the Pomperaug Panthers. Coach Sakl III is well aware of the Panther’s talented roster and will need his players to come back to Nonnewaug with their “A-game” tomorrow evening.

“They are very good. They are very quick and very disciplined,” stated Sakl on Pomperaug. “We are going to need to prepare for a team that is going to share the ball, shoot a lot of open shots and hustle.”

As for Nonnewaug, they will face off against Bristol Eastern in the consolation match prior to the main event.



Lancers Get Back On Track With Win Over Warde by CTHoopsNews

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

Notre Dame-Fairfield (3-1) 61, Fairfield Warde (1-2) 50

The consolation game of the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic featured a matchup between two strong teams that were looking to prove themselves after tough losses Saturday night.

Notre Dame junior Colin Burke goes up strong in the paint for two. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Notre Dame junior Colin Burke goes up strong in the paint for two.

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Throughout the first half, Warde was able to maintain the lead through the hot shooting of sophomore Sean Conway (19 points, 7 rebounds) and through tough defense that limited the Lancer offense. Being the experienced bunch that they are though, Notre Dame didn’t fold after a back and forth half and came out of the break playing great basketball.

“If we keep defending and hold them to one shot then we will be able to get run outs,” said Coach Laczkoski on his halftime message to his players. “Our boards from Nore Davis (sophomore) and Colin Burke (junior) really did a great job.”

Laczkoski was not kidding when he said that Davis and Burke did a really good job on the boards. The two forwards combined for 23 rebounds on the night, with Burke having 13 and Davis with 10. They both also contributed through scoring; Burke chipped in 12 and Davis 14.

Senior captain Jordan Pettway earned all tournament team and quietly led the Lancers in scoring. He dropped 16 and did a tremendous job controlling the tempo for his team. He was able to hit the late game free throws when they counted.

Along with Conway, the Fairfield Warde Mustangs were led by all tournament team selection Marcel Parsons, who scored 10, and also Christopher Smaldone, who put in seven points and boarded eight rebounds.

The win for the Lancers improved their record to 3-1 on the season. Next on the list for them is in conference foe Kolbe-Catherdral, who they will play against at University of Bridgeport. Warde looks to prepare for an SWC opponent as well, when they take on the Bethel Wildcats.

Alumni Hall in Fairfield, CT, the host of the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic. Provided by: CTHoopsNews 

Alumni Hall in Fairfield, CT, the host of the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic.

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States: Weaver Proves Too Tough in Class M Title Brought by CTHoopsNews

Weaver 73 vs. Notre Dame-Fairfield 59

 

 

The Weaver Beavers came in to the Class M Championship game as heavy favorites. However, Notre Dame-Fairfield came into the title fight with little awareness of that. Coach Laczkoski said of the pre-game projections, “A lot of writers in the area didn’t give us much of a chance in this game. We didn't care.”

The first half started SLOW as both teams came out in a three-quarter court press, designed to create disruption in tempo. Both sides executed successfully as points were hard to come by. Weaver capitalized on 7 offensive rebounds to gain the lead just before halftime.

 

The last 1:30 of the half served as a public service announcement as to how detrimental the absence of a shot clock is in high school basketball. Weaver held the ball for 1:25, missed a contested 3 pointer and committed a foul, which allowed Notre Dame to tie the game on free throws.

As the echo of boos dispersed and the 2nd half started, Weaver came out with a zone look for the first time in an attempt to SLOW Notre Dame senior guard Clinton Davidson, who finished with 14 points. Throughout the 3rd Quarter the pace quickened and the lead went back and forth.

Notre-Dame held a 2 point lead going into the 4th, but that’s when Weaver’s size took over. When asked about the 17+ offensive rebounds, Davidson said, “They really get on the boards. I give it up to their big men.”

Despite being heavy favorites, Weaver did not play the part for much of the first three quarters. At times it appeared that the speed of the game on both sides was killing any offensive rhythm. When asked about the pace of play, Weaver head coach Reggie Hatchett noted that his team likes to play fast, regularly scoring in the 80s and 90s this season, but today the guard combo of Davidson and Pettway of Notre Dame were enough to throw off his guards for much of the game.

Eventually they were able to gain composure and right the ship, pulling away in the final minutes. “When you have a mature player like KeAndre, he’s like a coach on the court,” Hatchett said of junior guard KeAndre Fair. “He’s pulling players aside, he’s talking during timeouts, it was only a matter of time before the guards gained composure. Early on, KeAndre, Jaecee [Martin] and Chalyn [Martin] were a bit nervous but as the game wore on they gained composure and we were able to play the way we normally do.”

Much of Weaver’s ability to bounce back from some of the early jitters can likely be attributed to the experience much of the roster accrued last year in their state title loss to East Catholic. Fair said he and his teammates were motivated since the moment the final buzzer sounded last season. “The last time we heard ‘We Are the Champions,’ we lost; it was really tough. That pushed us to work hard all year to get back here and this time win.”

 

Hatchett concurred with Fair’s assessment explaining, “From the time we lost last year, the kids were super focused on getting back here and finishing what they didn’t get done.”

Considered one of the states better players and coming in averaging over seventeen points per game, Fair undoubtedly was looking to exorcise some demons in today’s game. But when asked who was the team’s MVP today, Fair didn’t hesitate. “That’s our big man ‘Dre,” referring to sophomore forward Andre Lyons who led all players in scoring with 23 points to go along with 11 recorded rebounds including 8 on the offensive glass.

Hatchett was quick to CREDIT the big man too. “Today you saw the maturation of Andre Lyons. He has scored double digits once all season, and that was 10 on the dot.” With Lyons’ muscle on the inside today, he seemed poised for a big game given Notre Dame’s lack of size and depth down in the block. Proof positive was Notre Dame junior forward Justin Federici who drew five personals in just nine minutes on the floor. All afternoon he and sophomore forward Colin Burke, who was also in foul trouble most of the afternoon, struggled to keep the Beavers off of the glass.

Including today’s win, the Beavers have reached a state title game in three straight seasons. Hatchett mentioned that he didn’t want his squad to be looked at as the team that couldn’t win the big game, but was quick to note the age of his team. “Outside of Robert Harrison, we aren’t losing any players contributing big minutes. We’re going to look to build on this.”

When asked if the team was already excited and thinking of next season, Fair responded with an emphatic, “Yes, sir.”



By: Brent Pelella and E.J. Bachinski

States: Windham Prevails in Second Round Matchup by CTHoopsNews

Windham 58 vs Weston 57

The contest between the Weston Trojans and the Windham Whippets came down to the wire in Willimantic, CT. In the Class M second round matchup, the Trojans out of the SWC came out strong. They dominated the majority of the first half and rolled into the locker room with a 36-28 lead.

At half, Weston was feeling confident about their performance, but the Whippets star, Joseph Santiago, had his own confidence brewing. Santiago told CT Hoops News reporter Andy Levin, “At halftime I urged the team, ‘We have to keep fighting!’ I told them that we had to stick to the game plan and keep playing tough defense.”

With a 16 point defect and hope dwindling, Windham began to make their run. Santiago started it off with a bucket from 3-point land and before long the Whippets found themselves in striking distance.

Santiago led all scorers netting 18 points, along with his 4 assists, and added 2 steals on the defensive end of the court. Devon Roberts added 14, and Brody Labbe put in 12 for the Whippets. Darling Ventura did not go unnoticed as he chipped in 9 points and grabbed 6 boards.

Matt Folger led the charge for Weston putting in 12 points to go along with 12 boards. Hamilton Forsythe, Nick Parker and Julian Bombart jointed Folger in double digits with 12, 11, and 11 points respectively.

After the buzzer went off, Joe Franke was able to get a word with Whippets coach Mark Gildea on his teams play. “When we came back we really stepped it up on the defensive end. That’s what we do well. We were aggressive; we didn’t quit, pulling for each other. That’s been our mantra. Everybody sticks together, no body cares who gets the credit. That’s what they did tonight.”

The Windham High Whippets advance to the Quarterfinals to face Weaver High School, the top seed in the class M bracket. The game will be held at Weaver this Friday at 7:00 p.m.

 

By: Andy Levin, Joe Franke & Nate Rubinstein