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, February 18, 2011

Career tops in New Haven

Please raise your hand if you thought Career would be the best team in New Haven this year.
I know I didn't think so. After a 10-12 season a year ago, I thought Career would be better, even a contender in the SCC Oronoque. But I never would have predicted this, an 18-1 season with West Haven left.
The top seed in the SCC tournament. The top seed in the Class M state tournament.
The nucleus of Kevin Hoff, Earl Hassel and Brandyn Benson is still there, but along with Kenny Armstead and Treyvon Moore, they have a deadly team that doesn't quit - as seen when trailing by 10 to Hillhouse on Friday.
Sweeping Hillhouse? Yes, the Panthers did, shocking the Academics right from the get-go with a sizable halftime lead back on Dec. 15, then hanging onto win.
On Friday night, Career got the lead back in the fourth quarter. It was close throughout the final quarter, coming down to the final shot - which belonged to Hassel, a running bank shot with 1.9 seconds left. Game over.
Chances are, we will see one more city matchup in the SCC final on March 2 at Quinnipiac University. But for now, Career owns the Elm City.
Now, the Panthers have to get something to show for their success. A banner, or two, is out there for the taking.
It will not be easy. That's the beauty of March Madness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Throwback Thursday

Each Thursday the Register will take a look at a former state standout, who is now playing in college.

Player: Greg Mangano

College: Yale

Year: Junior

Height: 6-10

Position: Forward

High school: Notre Dame-West Haven (Register All-Area MVP 2007-08)

Current stats: 16.0 ppg, 48.7 shooting percentage from floor, 36.4 from 3-point range, 9.7 rpg, 2.9 blocks.
Of Note: Mangano, who scored a career-high 30 points in Yale’s 69-60 victory over Dartmouth on Saturday, has been named the Ivy League Player of the Week four times. Mangano currently leads the league in rebounding and blocks and shares the lead in scoring. His 64 blocks on the season are three shy of Chris Dudley’s school record set in 1986-87.

For more on Mangano, click here

Bridgeport Basketball Classic

Bridgeport Basketball Classic doubleheader on tap Thursday night at Webster Bank Arena, formerly Arena at Harbor Yard, in Bridgeport.

Normally, the nightcap is the city rivalry between Bridgeport Central and Harding. But with both programs having subpar seasons, this game begins at 6 p.m.
The second game is sixth-ranked St. Joseph against Bassick. Featuring two of the best teams in the FCIAC and some star players: Kyle Geer for Bassick and Timajh Parker for St. Joseph.

Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults for the doubleheader.

Bertanza goes for 55

Former Seymour hoop standout Sean Bertanza scored 55 points for Division III Lasell against St. Joseph's (Maine) last Saturday. It is the highest scoring output for any single NCAA player in all divisions.

It broke Lasell's single-game scoring record and single-game field goal record. He shot 22-for-32 (69 percent) from the field, 5-for-7 (71 percent) from the arc.

You can check out more on Bertanza at:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday roundup

A shout-out to Haddam-Killingworth, which qualified for the Class S state tournament for the first time in three years with a 64-57 win at Coginchaug.

A second shout-out to Shelton, which won at the buzzer over Branford 39-37 on a steal and coast-to-coast layup by Shaquil Holman.

Notre Dame-West Haven qualified for the Class LL state tournament by beating Law 63-43. West Haven moved within a game of qualifying for Class LL by beating Guilford 65-42.

Hillhouse beat Xavier 61-51 despite guard Freddie Wilson missing the last three quarters after bruising his tailbone while taking a charge. Career also beat Lyman Hall 53-47 to set up Friday's showdown between the two city schools to determine the top seed in the SCC tournament. It is a 4 p.m. start at the New Haven Athletic Center.

For the rest of Tuesday night's action, you can read about it here

Home stretch

For most teams, the regular season will conclude next week. That's because some of the league tournaments, including the Southern Connecticut Conference, begins Thursday, Feb. 24, while most begin in earnest on Saturday, Feb. 26.

In the SCC, barring upsets, Friday's Career-Hillhouse game at the New Haven Athletic Center (4 p.m. start due to half-day in New Haven) will determine the top seed andn a first-round bye into the quarterfinals.
Twelve teams are already in (Career, Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross, Hand, Foran, Lyman Hall, Cheshire, Amity, Xavier, Fairfield Prep, Hamden and Branford). Sheehan and Notre Dame-West Haven need a win (and play one another next week) while West Haven needs two. The quarters are at East Haven and the semifinals and finals are March 1 and 2 at Quinnipiac University. Defending champion North Haven will not be in the field.

In the Shoreline Conference, Valley Regional will be the top seed when the eight-team tournament begins Feb. 26. Coginchaug, Hale-Ray, Cromwell and defending champion Hyde are all in. Of the teams from Haddam-Killingworth, East Hampton, Westbrook and Old Lyme, one of them will fail to make the field. The semis are March 1 at the higher seed and the final is March 5, likely at Old Saybrook.

In the South-West Conference, next Monday's Pomperaug-Notre Dame-Fairfield game very well could determine the top seed. Stratford was in line for it, but losses to Kolbe Cathedral and Brookfield in two of the last three days will put the defending champions at a lower seed. Masuk and Kolbe Cathedral are also in barring collapses down the stretch. The tournament begins Feb. 26 and ends on March 3 at Weston.

In the Naugatuck Valley League, Holy Cross will be the top seed. Crosby, the reigning seven-time champion, and Kennedy have also qualified for the tournament beginning Feb. 26.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Story on Tom Fleming's passing

You can read the story in Monday's Register on former Hillhouse coach Tom Fleming passing away here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My memories of Tom Fleming

You will be reading in Monday's edition of the New Haven Register on the passing of Tom Fleming, the former Hillhouse coach, of stomach cancer, at 61. He died on Sunday at Yale-New Haven Hospital less than a month after being diagnosed, according to his brother Jim.

You can read about Tom Fleming's coaching accomplishments in the paper. But his accomplishments as a human being far exceed what he did on the court.

I only covered Fleming his final season at Hillhouse (2002-03). I still remember his final game, the Class LL state quarterfinals at Fairfield Warde against Harding. Robert McKiver and Antoine Smalls starred for the Academics.

But despite his coaching career completed, Fleming, who was Bob Saulsbury's longtime assistant at Wilbur Cross, was at plenty of games, always with a smile and a handshake. What you saw was what you got with Tom Fleming. He was as genuine a human being as I have known.

I can't put into words what he meant to the students and athletes past and present at Hillhouse and throughout New Haven. I know he helped them in any way he could to get them into colleges, to get them on the correct path.

In fact, he did that on a national level with various program, including Amer-I-Can, a life management skills and human development program designed to help anyone regardless of race, age, religion, gender or socio-economic conditions. He set up a one-on-one interview with me of the Amer-I-Can's founder, Jim Brown - yes,that Jim Brown - something I remember almost everything about.

He was the man people called upon for the history of Hillhouse basketball. He was the connection. Now that connection is gone, but not without plenty of memories.

The last time I saw him was, naturally, at a Hillhouse event - when current guard Freddie Wilson signed a letter of intent to play at Seton Hall. He tapped me on the shoulder, shook my hand and, when he saw I was about to speak with Wilson, said "I know you have a job to do. I'll talk to you later."

I never did speak with him again. I wish I had. I'll miss him dearly.