Blogs >'s Boys Hoops Run to the Sun

Follow all the coverage of boys high school basketball throughout the state on their way to Mohegan Sun Arena, the site of this year's championship weekend, March 15-16.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shoreline shocker

I have been to over 40 games this season and the one I attended Friday night in the Shoreline Confrence championship game between Valley Regional and Old Lyme was easily in the top five along with:

1) Wilbur Cross handing Career its first loss of the season on a 25-footer by Gerald McClease
2) Fairfield Prep coming from behind to beat Notre Dame Fairfield and win its holiday tournament
3) Notre Dame-WH handing Fairfield Prep its first loss in overtime at home
4) St. Joes coming from behind to beat Bassick in overtime

Of course, the biggest reason is Old Lyme pulled the stunning upset. Yes, these are Class S teams, but in a sold-out gym of 800 (and probably plenty more) at Old Saybrook, both crowds were into it, plenty more than at any of the SCC tournament games played at Quinnipiac.

Consider the road Old Lyme took to get to the final: beat the defending champion Hyde - which the Wildcats had lost to twice during the regular season - on the road. Then they beat the Shoreline champ two years ago, Cromwell, also on the road. Cromwell beat Old Lyme during the season as well. And both Hyde and Cromwell had won the last two Class S state titles.

Valley was up 17 late in the second quarter, but Old Lyme came all the way back to cut it to one late in the third and hit a 3-point shot to send the game into overtime. Then the Wildcats went up by 5 in OT and won by 2.

This is a big upset. Valley had just one loss coming in - to Glastonbury by 2 in late December and the Tomahawks are one of the better teams in the CCC -and hadn't had a win in the single digits since winning by eight at Hyde on Jan. 19.
I've always been a big believer that playing a lack of close games hurts when you get into a close one with everything on the line. As Old Lyme coach Kirk Kaczor said, the pressure was entirely on Valley. And Valley coach Kevin Woods said his club played not to lose.

The Wildcats played great, the crowd for both sides was great. It all made for a great atmosphere. The state has gotten away from playing in band-box gyms for the obvious reason - fans get shut out like they did Friday night, over 100 left standing in the cold at Old Saybrook. So it's nice to still have games like these.

Bigger arenas don't always lend itself to better atmospheres. Such was the case Friday night in a little town called Old Saybrook. And Old Lyme pulled off one of the season's biggest upsets.


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