CIAC/NVL: Solomon and Squad Defeat Crosby 72-65 Move to 16-0 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The emergence of Raheem Solomon into a star player has been steady.  He is one of the top three of four players in Connecticut.  He is excelling in his new role as the leading Heart. On Saturday night, the Solomon led Hearts beat Crosby 72-65 to improve to 16-0.  Solomon scored 28 points, played rugged defense, and was steady under duress as the Crosby Bulldogs (12-5) made an attempt at breaking the Hearts 70 game in-state winning streak.  The streak now stands at 71.  Sacred Heart coach Jon Carroll, who earned his 200th career victory tonight said this about his star, “he’s a rebounder, a defender, and he’s a complete player.” Carroll added, “Offensively I think he (Solomon) is just scratching the surface he is only a junior he’s going to get better.”

The first quarter was frantic.  The Hearts led 26-20 after one.  The Bulldogs of Crosby were able to keep it close because of the fantastic play of senior PG Miguel Rivera.  The diminutive PG was unstoppable.  The Hearts’ defense didn’t have an answer or a defender to stop him.  He finished with 12 points in the first quarter all coming from three’s.  The second quarter was much different.  The Hearts defense limited Crosby to only 10 points and just two field goals, both from Rivera.  Rivera finished the first half with 20 points and a game-high 29 points. 

Leading 40-30 to start the third quarter the Hearts were force fed some of their own medicine.  The Bulldogs pressured the Hearts relentlessly.  Solomon was held scoreless in the third and the Hearts only managed 7 points and only two field goals.  Crosby pulled within one and trailed 47-46.  The Hearts, having a handful of role players, are better suited for these tight games than the Bulldogs.  Crosby can rely on seniors Jeremiah Kendall  (25 points, 11 rebounds) and Rivera for solid performances each and every night, but struggle to find a consistent third option.  Rivera and Kendall combined for 54 of their teams 65 points.   Kendall reflected on his team’s effort and said, “We need to get aggressive once we get aggressive we a good team.”  He continued, “they (Sacred Heart) are like the number two team in the state if we can beat them we can beat any team.” Kendall concluded, “We’ll see them again,” possibly alluding to an NVL tournament matchup or a Class L playoff matchup between the Brass City squads.

The Hearts have Solomon, who scored 11 big points in the pivotal fourth.  He hit a three to start the fourth giving the Hearts a 50-46 lead.  The Hearts also have a host of solid role players.  They can rely on 6’2 senior Courie Stevenson (11 points) for solid defense and timely buckets; junior Isaiah Gaiter (8 points), a transfer from Platt, who brushed off a poor start to score six points early in the fourth; and get a consistent inside presence from Omar Rowe (9 points).  The game was tight 59-57, and another one of Sacred Heart’s key role players provided a six-point burst. Legend Johnson provided those six points and finished the game with eight points.  Johnson pressured the Bulldogs’ ball-handlers and forced two consecutive turnovers and made buckets in transition. Hearts led 65-59 with 1:29 remaining.  The Bulldogs just didn’t have enough.  The Hearts had just enough. 

 

Noteworthy: Crosby’s Jeremiah Kendall scored his 1000th career point in the first half.

CIAC/NVL: #3 Ranked Hearts Cruise Past Rival Holy Cross 68-46 by CTHoopsNews

By Robbie Goodrich

The Holy War, as we advertised in our preview, never materialized.  The Sacred Heart-Holy Cross game was methodical, if not dry (the roof was leaking and threatened to cancel the event) as one of these games could be.  Sacred Heart (3-0) won quite easily 68-46. The Hearts’ Raheem Solomon was held to a lone field goal in the first half and Holy Cross (4-1) had all of its first quarter points scored by one player, Kerson Etienne.  At 5’7, Etienne worked his way to the free throw and scored all of the Crusader’s paltry seven first quarter points.  He finished with a team-high 16 points.  Fortunately for Cross, the Hearts only scored eight points but led 8-7.

Holy Cross had plenty of open looks in the first half, but only made one of twelve three-pointers.  Crusader head coach Ryan Olsen noted his team’s slow start and said, “more so than being flat we might have had a little nerves, which is to be expected in a game like this but we had been shooting 54% from three point range, and if four or five of those drop we have a whole different game.”  As for the Hearts, it was evident that the new lineup and rotation was still figuring things out.  This is perhaps the most intriguing element of this game.  Sacred Heart broke it open in the second quarter with a 10-2 run, and with an 18-9 lead, the Hearts never looked backed.  Hearts led at the half was 28-16.

Senior captain, Courie Stevenson is well aware of his teams need to work and develop and identity.  He said, “It’s not a smooth as we want it to be or as if we have been together for two or three years, but we getting better every day.”  At times the Hearts were seemingly floating along waiting for someone take control.  It sort of kind of happened.  The Hearts defense of 6’5 freshman Nate Tabor and 6’3 guard Isiah Gaiter was the catalyst.  Gaiter, a junior transfer from Platt High School had 3 steals and contributed 11 points.  Tabor registered a double-double 10 points and 12 rebounds.  Now add in Raheem Solomon’s 27 points and 8 rebounds. His scoring came in short bursts, especially in the third and fourth quarters.  Solomon scored 21-second half points and finished going 4-9 from the three.   Despite his scoring Solomon told us their focus is on defense.  He said, “at halftime, our coach talked to us about how our defense should get better and we started talking more, and we got better, and (were) able to push the ball.”  The Hearts have the athletes and extra bodies to pressure teams and push teams off of their game plans.  It happened tonight, and we’ll see how these Hearts deal with the next challenge.

Watch the game highlights by Brass City Films. A Rob Maia owned and operated sports video company.

 

 

CIAC/NVL: Brass City Holy War Takes Center Stage on CIAC Hoops Scene by CTHoopsNews

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By Robbie Goodrich

Waterbury’s Holy War takes center stage in CIAC hoops Tuesday night, January 3, 2017.  Sacred Heart visits Holy Cross tonight at 7:00 pm. New Crusader head coach Ryan Olsen will march his squad on to his predecessor’s court; literally, Coach Ed Generali Court will be the host of Coach Olsen’s first mission in this storied rivalry.  When asked about the transition to the Olsen chapter of Crusader hoops the new head coach said, “there hasn’t been much changed,” he noted, “you may see slight changes in X’s and O’s during the game but our program’s expectations of our players will stay the same.”   Coach Olsen played for Generali and coached for the Crusaders the last 15 years.  He knows the rivalry. He said, “When Holy Cross and Sacred Heart play each other, (just) throw out the records, and understand it's going to be a battle,” but added, “it's more about respect than it is about hatred.”

Ok, sounds good, but what will this game reveal to us about the 4-0 Crusader boys basketball team.  6’3 junior swingman Nyzair Rountree, a gifted athlete still maturing as a hoopster, said the team “has a good feel to it and an up-tempo style.”  Rountree has played significant minutes for Holy Cross since his freshman year.  In this rivalry, his teams have been a victim of the Mustapha Heron era losing five straight games by a whopping 428-276 score differential.  It’s been all Sacred Heart all the time.  Despite this, he states, “If we work our butts off we have a really good chance of picking up the win.”  According to his coach he has help.  Coach Olsen praised the fast start of PG Kerson Etienne; a 5’7 junior who has averaged nearly 15 points per game; and the play of 6’4 junior Deandre Wallace.  Coach Olsen said Wallace is averaging 15 rebounds per game and (is) “the guy who will do all the small things for us.”  In my opinion, the play of Wallace will determine the outcome of this game. 

Meanwhile, the Hearts (2-0) will have a different set of challenges.  The Hearts all time greats Mustapha Heron and Tyrn Flowers are now playing major D1 ball for Auburn and UMASS respectively.  The Hearts also lost their PG, Charles Fisher to graduation, he now plays for Post University.  The loss of these three players will have an impact on the Hearts.  Will we see a huge drop-off?  In the offseason, Sacred Heart became the landing spot for Meriden’s very talented Isaiah Gaiter and Nate Tabor, a 6’5 freshman who has New York ties.  Tabor has received an offer from Auburn but as of yet hasn’t proved anything on the high school hoops scene. Gaiter is a 6’3 combo guard, who has played for three different Connecticut schools in each of his first three years in high school (Xavier and Platt). Gaiter will undoubtedly help fill the gaps that the losses of Heron and Flowers have created because he can score, handle the ball, and play defense. 

Hearts’ senior captain Courier Stevenson, a 6’3 defensive specialist believes the losses of Heron and Flowers have helped his teammates mature.  He said, “practices have become more intense because more pressure is on our shoulders.”  Stevenson knows the rivalry from the winning side but noted, “we don’t like losing one bit,” and “we will be more concerned about playing (our) own game.”  When asked who will fill the role of the go-to-guy at the end of the game he said, “Raheem’s our go-to scorer,” and added, “we feel comfortable putting the ball in his hands.”   Raheem Solomon, a 6’2 junior guard will have very high expectations on him this year.  Are they unfair, maybe so?  He will have to become the leading scorer, fulfill the role of the Hearts on-the-court leader as well as be the primary ball handler down the stretch if the Hearts will maintain their spot as an elite high school basketball program.  Solomon has been touted as one of Connecticut’s best players but has plenty to prove.  Will he start proving it tonight?  Throw out the records and recent history.  We will see something new and exciting.  Will it be Holy Cross winning or will it be another victory by the rebuilt Hearts? Get to 587 Oronoke Rd by 6:00 pm or you may not get in… 

CIAC Class S Final: Immaculate Holds Off Coginchaug by CTHoopsNews

By: Brent Pelella

Immaculate (23-2) 53, Coginchaug (17-8) 43

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Darrius Smith and Darius Hunter were glowing shades of gold as they clutched the championship trophy Saturday night. Smith told me, "It's a dream come true, man. Its truly amazing."

The Darrius-Darius combination exploded for 37 out of the 53 total points for Immaculate, in a game they controlled for all but a short stretch. After being down by as many as 10, Coginchaug rallied to cut the lead to one early in the fourth quarter. 

Darrius Smith attacks the lane in Immaculate's Class S State Championship Game.

Darrius Smith attacks the lane in Immaculate's Class S State Championship Game.

 

Hunter expressed the emotions of his team, when describing the run later on, "As team captains, me and Darrius focused on controlling the simple things and tried to stay calm. We knew we had a run in us as well."

Sure enough, Immaculate went on an ensuing 11-2 run that put the game away for good. With the victory, Immaculate takes the throne as the best team in Class S and by default takes the title from Sacred Heart, who is now the Class M Champion. 

They will lose both Hunter and Smith for next season, but the two leave behind a strong legacy and an ever important message, "We told our brothers that this proves what hard work can accomplish." 

Darius Smith falls away from his defender and banks it in.

Darius Smith falls away from his defender and banks it in.

Windsor Finishes Regular Season Undefeated by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

 

Windsor (20-0) 82, Northwest Catholic (15-5) 54

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A perfect regular season was in grasp for the Windsor Warriors. They strolled into Northwest’s senior night and ran away with a convincing 82-54 victory. The Warriors finished 20-0, while Northwest Catholic finished 15-5. 

Windsor came to Northwest Catholic with a clear mission. 

“We wanted to prove we could play with Northwest, a well coached team on senior night, and our guys wanted to play hard,” Warriors coach Ken Smith remarked. 

Northwest struggled to score against Windsor’s tenacious defense, and without freshman standout Cairo McCrory; he was out with a lower leg injury, NWC didn’t have an offensive weapon to keep pace with Warrior’s deep bench. It hasn’t been determined whether or not McCrory will miss any CCC tournament games. 

Windsor played a dominant defensive game with great defense from seniors Jordan Powell and Deonte Vinson. These two are long, athletic, and max effort players who don’t ever give up on any play. 

Powell finished with 14 points and Vinson finished with 9 points. Warriors also received solid performances from Mike Mahon with 12 points, Jaquan Richardson with 13 points, and Donovan Austin with nine points.

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On his senior night Stephen Laffin paced NWC with 22 points, and 9-for-10 from the charity stripe. 

Now comes the post season for Windsor and Northwest Catholic. First is a grueling CCC tournament, and then the Class L’s for Windsor and Class M for NWC.  

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Windsor Remains on the Top of the State Rankings by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

 

Windsor (14-0) 77, Weaver 69

 

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The Hartford Courant’s No. 1 ranked Windsor high school boys’ basketball team keeps putting up impressive performances against the Nutmeg states’ best basketball programs. This week was no difference. 

 On consecutive Saturdays the Warriors of Windsor beat Northwest Catholic 68-66, and for the second straight time this year beat Weaver High School 77-69, moving to 14-0.

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 Early this year Windsor beat Weaver at home 75-71 on the back of a career game by Warrior Cody Quinn, who scorched Weaver for 27 points off of eight treys. 

 Windsor would be the road Warriors this time, with the game being played at Bulkeley High School, and an estimated crowd of 2,000 high school basketball fans was packed the Babe Allen Fieldhouse.

 Windsor sputtered at first, and was unable to successfully navigate the Weaver pressure defense. According to Weaver coach Reggie Hathcett, Windsor committed 12 turnovers in the first quarter. Weaver rushed out to a 20-12 lead and with less than 30 seconds left in the opening quarter, but following that Windsor nailed back to back threes; one by senior point guard Mike Mahon, who finished the evening with seven points, and the other by 6-foot-5 senior forward Devonte Vinson, who ended with 14 points, to close the gap to 20-18. 

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Windsor picked up its defensive pressure in the second quarter and Weaver struggled getting baskets to fall. Windsor put lineups on the floor that consisted of three seniors in Vinson, Jordan Powell, and Chaiz Canty. Having three seniors with length, and who are tenacious defenders on the floor at different times prevented the Beaver’s from the finishing around the rim and getting clean looks on the perimeter.

 Weaver totaled 12 points in the second quarter and only made three field goals; all from senior guard KeAndre Fair, who ended the night scoring 18 points.

 Windsor held a small lead going into the locker room at the half, 34-32. 

“We started off bad, we tried stopping the turnovers, and coach Smith calmed us down,” Powell remarked after the game. “We played bad in the first half and we were up two points…coach encouraged us to play how we do everyday in practice we would get the lead up.”

The third quarter was a carbon copy of the second quarter. Windsor held Weaver to 3 field goals in the pivotal third quarter. Windsor outscored Weaver 23-15 and led 57-47 at the end of three.  

 In the fourth quarter both teams struggled to make free throws. For the game Windsor was 22-for-38 and Weaver was 22-for-36.

Warrior’s senior Powell, and rising star George Gamble, finished off the Weaver Beavers with eight points, and then five points, during a crucial lead building stretches of the fourth quarter, for what should be the consensus No. 1 team in the state. 

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 Two minutes to go Windsor led 72-58. Gamble, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, who is averaging 11.8 points per game for Windsor, is a critical piece to the senior laden Warrior team and ended the night scoring 13 points.

“Hard to beat a team shooting that well as a team, but I’m proud of how we fought through,” Weaver head coach Reggie Hatchett said. “We didn't help ourselves at the FT line…Windsor has played 2 exceptional games against us this year.” 

 The CCC conference tournament could be the last time for redemption for Weaver.





Middletown Makes it 12-Straight by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Middletown (12-2) 74, Platt (10-5) 65

 

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The Blue Dragons of Middletown pulled into Meriden to face looking to extend their 11-game winning streak. 

They did just that.

Middletown opened the season 0-2, with losses against highly rated Newington and Weaver. Now, the Blue Dragons are rolling. The Dragons captured the 74-65 win over a young, but good Platt Panthers roster.

Middletown head coach Rick Privott wasn’t necessarily happy with his team’s effort and shot choice.

“I want the guys to make smart decisions and I think we forced up tough shots when they weren’t needed,” Privott said. “I don’t thinks this game defines us, I think we can play a lot better than we did.”

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The first quarter both squads started hot from deep. Two minutes into the game it was 10-9 with Platt on top. Each team converted three treys in this fast start. The quarter ended on a buzzer beater three and tied at 16 a piece. 

Scoring was balanced for both teams and with the urging of both coaches, the teams turned up the defensive pressure. 

In the second quarter both teams raced up and down the court making shots and paling solid defense. Sophomore guard/forward Isiah Gaiter paced the Panthers with 11 first half points, while junior Ahmod Privott with 10 points led Middletown.  It was Middletown who held a 33-32 lead at the half. 

The second half is where Middletown’s depth and experience took control.  Turnovers and poor shots selection put Platt behind 52-42 late in the third quarter. 

The trio of Ahmod Privott (13 points), Emmett Riddick (15 points) and Caylen Williams (16 points) were too much for the Platt Panthers.

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The Blue Dragons opened the fourth quarter up with a run that pushed their lead to 65-51 with minutes to go. 

The sensational sophomore Gaiter torched the Blue Dragons for 10 points in the fourth quarter, scoring 8 straight, but his effort wasn’t nearly enough. Gaiter finished with a game high 23 points.  

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Simmons Leads Charge For Newington by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Newington (13-0) 66, Berlin (8-5) 39

 

Jarred Simmons brought his Newington Indians and their 12-0 record into Berlin and came out unscathed.  

Simmons and his squad struggled in the first quarter, but didn’t have any troubles in the second, third or fourth. Newington beat Berlin by 27 points 66-39. 

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Simmons made it all look easy. The junior 6’2 guard just surpassed 1000-point milestone and may challenge the 2000-point club next season.

“He’s smooth with the ball out there,” coach Scot Wezel said on Simmons, “He finds the open the guy time and time again, that’s his greatest attribute.”

Simmons finished with 20 points and added several beautiful assists from long and short range.   

Joining Simmons in their dominant win over Berlin was Nicholas Guadarrama. The 6’4 junior forward poured in 19 points and led the charge for Newington on the defensive side. 

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Gudarrama had several blocks and rebounded everything insight. He made it difficult for all the Redcoats to score in the paint or to get open on the perimeter. 

This junior tandem gets to play Bristol Central, and Bristol Eastern next week; and it looks like 15-0 is a real possibility. 

Spencer Duke led Berlin with 9 points. Berlin will have to find a way to regain their momentum after losing two straight after an eight game winning streak. They play Maloney and Platt next week.

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Free Throws Decide Game For Notre Dame-West Haven by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Notre Dame – West Haven (6-3) 56, Hamden (7-4) 55

A SCC matchup was on tap this Wednesday as Notre Dame-West Haven (6-3) visited Hamden (7-4). 

It was chilly outside, and the game started with both teams struggling to make baskets.  Hamden was unable to pull out the win in front of the home crowds, falling to the Green Knights 56-55.

The Green Dragons, and their junior sensation CJ Seaforth, stumbled out to a 14-11 lead. Both teams made plenty of mistakes, missed shots and turned the ball over. 

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The second quarter was nearly a carbon copy, but ND got solid defense from Tim Dawson and scrappy play by Ben Bagnoli that allowed the Green Knights to keep the contest close, trailing 26-25 at the half. 

Hamden’s Seaforth struggled in the first half, scoring only four points. He missed several long-range three pointers and struggled to find his game, seemingly forcing everything.  The Green Dragons were having a tough time fining their identity on the court. Meanwhile the Green Knights had Bagnoli’s gritty play and toughness that never seemed to waiver. 

The second half opened up and Notre Dame had Seaforth to deal with. He amassed 14-second half points and played inspired ball for 16 minutes.  He finished with 18 points, but his supporting cast went missing, and after a strong first half by Jaylen Ricks, bringing in seven points, he didn’t score in the second half. 

Hamden was trailing 43-36 after Bagnoli made tough layup in the lane against two Hamden defenders.  Seaforth went on mini run scoring five straight, which was followed up by a three from Notre Dame’s Tim Dawson. (18-pts with 4 triples) and After that, Hamden’s Max Joyner stole the ball and converted on the other end to make the score 46-42, Green Knights. 

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The teams traded buckets, and with Hamden down 55-51 Seaforth scored, stole a pass, and fed Joyner to net another one, and it was tied at 55 with less than a minute to go. 

After another miss by Notre Dame, Hamden had the ball with 15 seconds to go.  Coach Shea of ND of West Haven had two fouls to give and used them strategically. The clock was ticking to zero; and Green Knight Tim Dawson inexplicably fouled Kaymar Tanner on the perimeter, 30 feet from the basket to put him on the line with 2.3 seconds left. 

Tanner missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and the Green Knights called a timeout and setup a desperation play from 90 feet away.

Bagnoli received a clean inbounds pass and at half court a Hamden defender bumped him while he was getting ready to heave half court shot. Referee Dan Scavone whistled for a foul, but didn’t award him three shots; rather he was put on the line in a 1-and-1 situation. 

With .02 seconds Bagnoli got the ball, a few dribbles and swished the game winning free throw. Bagnoli missed the second and the buzzer sounded. 

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“It was a good team win,” Bagnoli remarked after the game. “They are a great Hamden team, which should give us all the confidence in the world that we can play with anybody.”

Bagnoli finished with 13 points and was 7-for-9 from the line. Dawson ended up knocking in 18 points, with four trey balls.



Close Contest Ends in Pomperaug's Favor by CTHoopsNews

By: Nathan Rubinstein

Bunnell (4-3) 62, Pomperaug (7-2) 65

Pomperaug’s fan section, also known as “The Jungle”, was on hand for an exciting matchup the Panther’s trumped their SWC foes Bunnell 65-62 Friday evening.

The Bulldogs top player Rashaad Spain had a limited minutes due to a previous ankle injury in their loss to Bassick last week. Without Spain playing his typical minutes, Bunnell was dependent in Zhyaire Fernandes Jr. for their scoring load.

Pomperaug’s Coach Yachtis and his team came into the game looking to control the pace. With his deep, young and athletic team they initially wanted to apply full court pressure to get in control, and force Bunnell to adhere to their up-tempo style of play.

With the press, the Panthers established their presence, however it was ineffective giving up too many buckets.

“It (the press) wasn’t successful as far as turning it over, but it got the pace to where we wanted,” said Coach Yachtis after the game Friday evening. “We just wanted pace. I didn’t want steals, I wanted pace.”

Once the Panthers backed their press up to half-court, they were able to find a lot more success.

Going into the final quarter of play, Pomperaug led 52-49 after a two-hand jam from senior guard Rich Pugliese.

With the knowledge that Bunnell can make a run at any point in time, the Panthers buckled down on the defensive end. Only leading by one point in the final seconds of play, junior Matt Wynne for the Panthers came up big stealing the ball away and sinking both foul shots off the emergency foul by Bunnell.

The Bulldogs were able to get a shot off to potentially push the game into overtime, however the desperation three was off, allowing the Panthers to improve their record to 7-2.

Pomperaug was led by their backcourt, Pugliese and junior Chase Belden, who have been exemplifying outstanding play throughout the course of the season. They compliment each other’s game and have the chemistry that is needed out of your one and two guards.

“If there is a better back court in the Southwest conference, I don’t know who it would be,” said Yachtis on the Pugliese-Belden duo. “They play, basically, the whole game, they guard the best players, they score points for us, they take care of the ball, they run the offense…. they do everything for us.”

Along with Pugliese and Belden, the Panthers had a defensive stopper in senior forward Noah Miree, tallying several blocks and altering a lot of shots with his long wingspan. Junior forward Josh McGettigan also chipped in buckets for Pomperaug in the second half.

Pomperaug has another tough game on their plate on Tuesday as they host the 7-2 New Fairfield Rebels. Bunnell looks to end their losing streak on the road as they travel to Bethel Tuesday night.

Rivalry Results in Windsor W by CTHoopsNews

By: Robbie Goodrich

Weaver (6-1) 71, Windsor (8-0)

 

The Windsor Warrior’s now have an eight game win streak with their 75-71 victory over CCC rival, and second ranked Weaver. Not only did this win take an early lead in the CCC-Central White Division basketball standings, but it also snapped the Beaver’s 25-game winning streak.

A packed house saw the Windsor hoopsters jump out to an early lead and hold on late. 

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Towards the end of the game Weaver was surging, and with Windsor faltering it looked like the Beavers would take the lead.

Weaver junior guard Chaylyn Martin, who finished with 15 points, stole an inbounds pass, made a bucked and was fouled. Martin converted the old fashion three-point play and cut Windsor’s lead to 64-62.

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Cody Quinn of the Warriors answered on the other end with his back-to-back three’s to build their lead back to eight with less than three minutes to go. Quinn’s play was crucial and clutch, giving Weaver a reality check down the stretch.

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Quinn, the captain of the Warriors, scorched the defending class M champs for 27 points. Quinn put on a shooting clinic, knocking down a plethora of shots from behind the arc.

Weaver’s aggressive; “attack the rim” style was hampered by a slew of offensive fouls. Some were questionable, but Windsor defenders were working hard and frustrating Weaver’s ball handlers. 

Jaecee Martin, a junior captain, led Weaver brining in 21 points. He started out the game with the hot hand, scoring 10 points in the first quarter, but went missing in the second and third. In the final quarter he poured in eight, but it wasn’t enough to help his team get the W. 

Weaver’s 1,500-point scorer, KeAndre Fair, was quiet for long stretches, but still managed to chip in 13 points.

Along with Cody Quinn’s sharp shooting; the Warrior’s received a productive performance from guard George Gamble. The sophomore handled the pressure of the marquee matchup with poise, scoring 14 points. Junior guard Donovan Austin added 12 for the Warriors as well.

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Weaver will travel to Farmington on Thursday, hoping to get back on the right track for their quest to defend their state championship. As for the Warriors, they will host a 1-6 Avon on Thursday.


Balanced Attack Earns Pomperaug a Spot in Nonnewaug Tourney Final by CTHoopsNews

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

Bristol Eastern (1-2) 58, Pomperaug (3-0) 79

In the opening game of the Nonnewaug Holiday Tournament in Woodbury, CT, the Pomperaug Panthers took care of the Bristol Eastern Lancers 79-58. 

 Though the score indicates a blowout, the game was far from it. It was a game of runs as both Pomperaug and Bristol Eastern went on several streaks where they out scored the opposition.

Both teams came out hot shooting the three ball, making a combined 11 in the first quarter. The Panthers then surged to a 13 point half time lead, though the Lancers didn't back down.

 Bristol Eastern started the second half on a 15-2 run to tie the game, causing Coach David Yachtis to call a quick time out. 

 When asked about the team moral watching their half time lead dwindle right before their eyes, senior captain Rich Pugliese says he and his teammates weren't flustered.

 "We were confident, we knew what we were doing, just needed to compose ourselves. We knew we had to get back to pushing the ball and playing up-tempo. Just doing what we did in the first half which got us out to that big lead," said Pugliese.

 After the Panthers regrouped and gained momentum, there was no looking back as Pomperaug proved that their first half scoring total wasn't a fluke. 

 Pugliese scored from all over the court through layups, mid range pull-ups, and threes, as he finished as the high man, pouring in 19. 

 Junior Chase Belden played well yet again and put up 18 points all off of two point field goals. He also grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. 

 Senior Noah Miree had a couple slam-dunks that got the crowd on their feet and he finished with 18 points as well. 

Pomperaug senior Noah Miree analyzes the Lancer defense. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Pomperaug senior Noah Miree analyzes the Lancer defense.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

 Junior Matt Wynne came off the bench to have another stellar game with 13 points and six rebounds, all being offensive boards. 

 Bristol Eastern was led by the hot shooting of the two Tylers. Tyler Arbuckle notched 18 points, five of them off of trey balls, and Tyler Tefoe had 13. 

 This is the third double-digit victory on the season for Pomperaug. They have made quite the statement early this year coming off of last season where they just missed the state playoffs. 

 With the win, Pomperaug moves to 3-0 and will take on Watertown in the tournament final tomorrow. While Bristol Eastern falls to 1-2 and will play in the consolation game against Nonnewaug. 

 

Durant's Big Day Helps Wilbur Cross Take Down Harding by CTHoopsNews

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

Harding (1-1) 63, Wilbur Cross (2-0) 84

Tip off between Harding and Wilbur Cross. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Tip off between Harding and Wilbur Cross.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

More often than not, in a modern-day society, a president has more power than a governor. Though, that wasn’t the case today in New Haven, CT when the Wilbur Cross Governors toppled the Harding Presidents by the score of 84-63 in the late game of the Saulsbury Invitational. 

Cross maintained the lead throughout the contest, however Harding was able to cut the lead down to six points at the 6:07 mark of the fourth quarter. Once the Governors got over their small hiccup, there was no looking back as they had an easy rest of the way to victory.

Robert Durant, senior forward for the Governors, stood out above the rest dropping 31 points, bringing down 22 rebounds and tallying five assists.

Last season Durant went down to injury, preventing him to finish out the season for Wilbur Cross. The Governors fell to the eventual class L state champion Bunnell Bulldogs in the quarterfinals. Durant being one of the leaders for the Governors this year claims that they have a lot to prove after last years depressing loss in their road to Mohegan Sun.

“As a team we need to redeem ourselves. The season ended early which makes me some type of way,” said Durant after the win over Harding. “It’s a lot of motivation and ambition from me getting hurt. I use it all for good use and we are ready to bounce back.”

After the star performance today, we couldn’t help but think of another star player named Durant in the world of basketball; Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Kevin Durant. When asked about if he is a distant relative with KD, Robert just shook his head and laughed, “I like to tell myself that’s my cousin so I can just keep continuing to play well but it’s just a self thing, no relation.”

Wilbur Cross senior, Robert Durant, takes foul shot against Harding. Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Wilbur Cross senior, Robert Durant, takes foul shot against Harding.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Along with Durant, Cross has a roster full of talented scorers including point guard Kwane Taylor who put in 15 points while dishing out five assists as well. Will Antrum crashed the boards the entire night ending with 12, and chipping in 4 points.

The Governors had a bit of bench production coming from Jaykeen Foreman and Malik Alston who scored 10 and nine points respectively.

For the Presidents, Ramir Johnson led the way with 13 points with help from teammate Justin Sheffield who brought in 12, knocking down two, three point field goals from deep.

Wilbur Cross now moves to 2-0 on the year and will have a lengthy break until their next game when they play Career Magnet at home on Monday, January 4th. Harding’s record evens at 1-1 and they will be on the road next to square off against the Stratford Red Devils of the South West Conference on Tuesday, December 29th. 

Barry Hits Buzzer Beater to Give RHAM Victory Over Tolland by CTHoopsNews

By: Corey Keane ( @Corey_Keane )

RHAM (1-1) 44, Tolland (1-1) 42

For first year head coach Dan Barry, Christmas came two days early.  Coach Barry picked up his first ever win as a varsity head coach, with the help of his son Sean Barry.  The senior captain grabbed a rebound in the paint and threw up a prayer at the buzzer to break a tie game and give RHAM their first win of the 2015-2016 season.  

The win did not come easy for the Sachems.  The game was a dog fight right from the start.  Coming into the game RHAM knew they would have their hands full with Tolland junior guard Andrew Jaworski.

RHAM vs. Tolland - December 23, 2015 Provided by: CTHoopsNews

RHAM vs. Tolland - December 23, 2015

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

In Tolland’s opening night win over Hartford Public, Jaworski scored 32 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and hit a 3 point shot with 8 seconds left, to lift the Eagles to a 65-64 win.  Wednesday night Jaworski continued his strong junior campaign.  Tolland's captain poured in a game-high 28 points.  But this time the Eagles were on the other side of a dramatic finish.  

With 7.3 seconds left, the game was knotted at 42, and RHAM was inbounding the ball under their own basket.  Senior point guard Brodey Coutant received the inbound pass in the corner and drove towards the middle of the lane, losing his balance threw up a shot towards the hoop. The ball was knocked around, eventually falling into the hands of Barry who was falling away from the basket just in front of the free throw line, getting off a desperation shot that was nothing but net. Right as the buzzer sounded that silenced a big Tolland home crowd.

After the game Sean Barry commented on his game winning shot saying, “We did a great job of keeping the rebound alive, and I was in the right place at the right time and honestly threw up a shot and it dropped.”

Tolland coach Dean Edwards noted that his team did not play disciplined in the final minutes and gave up too many second chance points.  Tolland drops to 1-1 on the year and looks to bounce back on the road against an always tough Bloomfield Warhawks team.

RHAM improves to 1-1 on the year and used a full team effort for the win.  Brodey Coutant and Ben Burke led the way with nine points each.  Sam Gagnon added six, while Nick Starkowski and Sean Barry had five each.

Link to buzzer beater here:

https://twitter.com/CTHoopsNews/status/679845677250265088

 

Panthers Use Huge Second Half to Ride Green Wave by CTHoopsNews

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

Pomperaug (2-0) 82, New Milford (0-3) 67

Pomperaug vs. New Milford - December 23, 2015 Provided by: CTHoopsNews

Pomperaug vs. New Milford - December 23, 2015

Provided by: CTHoopsNews

The New Milford Green Wave was unable to hold off the high-octane offense of the Pomperaug Panthers tonight, as they exhibited scoring from a plethora of weapons. In fact, a total of five players for the Panthers reached double figures.

“If one guy isn’t playing well I bring someone off the bench and we don’t miss a beat,” said Panther’s head coach Dave Yachtis in his post game interview. “There is no let down in talent, or effort or anything. We have seven guys that can start and 11 guys that can play varsity basketball.”

Junior point guard Chase Belden was the high man for Pomperaug putting in 23 points, with one field goal from downtown. Belden’s partner in the backcourt, senior Rich Pugliese, netted 18, going six for seven from the free throw line.

Senior forward Noah Miree, who transferred into Pomperaug at the beginning of the school year, showed his versatility scoring 14 points, grabbing nine boards, recording three steals and blocking three shots.

Junior Matt Wynne recorded a double double chipping in 12 points and snatching 10 rebounds.

Big man Josh McGettigan was the last Panther to surpass the double figure mark putting in 11. Not to mention hitting a buzzer beater three pointer before halftime.

Grant Wallace, a senior who has played on this Panther varsity team for his entire high school campaign, took over the playmaker role tonight dishing out six assists and zero turnovers.

Panther's senior Grant Wallace goes up for fast break layup. Provided by: CTHoopsNews 

Panther's senior Grant Wallace goes up for fast break layup.

Provided by: CTHoopsNews 

New Milford’s offense was driven by junior Jhovaughn Denton racking up 24 points to lead all scorers. Nick Peixoto, a senior captain, was the other factor of the Green Wave tallying 21 and grabbing down rebounds. 

The Green Wave’s star senior Cam Cunningham had limited playing time in tonight’s matchup against Pomperaug. Cunningham has been a 4 year varsity player and was the main scorer for the wave last season. 

Falling to the Panthers brings New Milford to a 0-3 record, as they will go back to the drawing board before the Christmas break. Coach Thrall and the Green Wave look to prepare for the Candlewood Classic that will take place this weekend at New Fairfield.

Pomperaug on the other hand has a little bit of time off to regroup after their first two wins they attained this week. The Panthers will travel down the street to Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, CT for the first round of the Nonnewaug Holiday Tournament. They will face off against Bristol Eastern next Tuesday, December 29th. 

East Catholic Opens Up Season Strong Against Whalers by CTHoopsNews

By: Corey Keane ( @Corey_Keane )

December 19, 2015 @ Trinity College (Hartford, CT)

East Catholic (1-0)  - 73

New London (0-1) - 49

Right from the start it was no question who was going to control the game. East Catholic came out strong and attacked the New London Whalers early. 

Junior guard Mike Mcguirl scored the game’s first six points, as East Catholic’s pressure forced many New London turnovers and started to pull away early.  Mcguirl and senior guard Mark Carbone, University of San Diego commit, caused havoc all game for New London’s guards, leading to many transition lay ups for East. 

“We knew New London would be athletic, so we wanted to control the pace, take care of the ball and limit their transition offense.” Said Carbone after the win.

Mcguirl finished with a game-high 21 points, and won MVP of the game.  An explosive shooting guard, who showed ability to get to finish through contact in transition as he had multiple and-one plays. 

Mcguirl commented after the game, that he was trying to gamble up top but doing so In a smart way. 

New London came out in a half court 1-3-1 defense but it could not slow down the Eagles.  With three explosive guards, East Catholic penetrated New London’s zone defense and found a bundle of wide open trey balls. 

Freshman guard Joey Reilly, nephew of head coach Luke Reilly, came off the bench and went a perfect 100% from beyond the arc netting four from downtown. 

Carbone commented that Reilly is an impressive shooter and is a smart point guard who limits turnovers. 

The Eagles seem hungry for another state championship, with their last coming in 2014 in Class M. This year, it’ll have to be a Class L state championship, as the Eagles have moved up.

Carbone and Mcguirl should be one of the best back court tandems to watch all year.  They travel to RHAM high school Monday night, for their first CCC game of the year.

States: Bunnell Captures First State Title by CTHoopsNews

Bunnell 72 vs. Naugatuck 61

 

 

The Class L Boy’s Championship can be summed up in one simple word, physical. Bunnell and Naugatuck each came into the game at 16-4 with eyes on their 17th and final victory.

The contrast of the two lineups was the intriguing story line coming into Sunday afternoon. Bunnell, lead by two senior guards, Aaron Samuel and Ryan Pittman, were looking to play up and down while the Greyhounds and Jarron Chapman wanted to force the ball inside.

Interestingly enough, both sides got what they wanted early. Bunnell pushed the pace, scoring 12 transition points in the first half and Naugatuck got 12 points of their own from Chapman. Bunnell took a slim 2 point advantage to half time and slight momentum.

The third quarter much of the same play CONTINUED. Both teams battled inside and were comparable on the glass, but it was the turnovers that started to hurt Naugatuck. Down three and under a minute left in the quarter, Jarron coughed one up that led to an easy bucket by Donte Peeler, who finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds.

That play served as a preface to what would come down the stretch. With 5 minutes left, Bunnell extended the lead to 7 and never let it waver. As the pace quickened, Naugatuck lost discipline and gave up three easy layups after Ryan Pittman broke the press.

Coach Wilson of Naugatuck had only positive things to say about his team, but he did address the transition game, “It was one of our keys to the game, and we just didn’t protect the basket. Pittman is a special guard with a great head on his shoulders. We’ve seen teams run before, but today we just didn't execute.”

Pittman and Samuel combined for 33 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in the contest to fuel an impressive victory. However, Jarron did not go quietly as he finished with 29 points and 7 rebounds.

Coach Wilson put the loss into perspective afterwards, “I hope this is the worst thing my kids ever have to go through. If it is, they will have a very prosperous life. This loss doesn’t break us as men, it makes us.”

As for Bunnell, they win their first state championship in school history. The Bulldogs finish the Run to the Sun carried by three seniors, Peeler, Pittman, and Samuel. The defining moment came when Samuel found himself in the open floor after a steal and threw down a thundering dunk.

A game that turned due to the talent and headiness of Bunnell’s backcourt had been clinched in the same fashion. From then on it was all cheer from the Bunnell sideline, and for the first time all night I think Coach Yerina cracked a smile.

 

 

By: Brent Pelella