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 11, 2011

Career moves on

A low-scoring affair took place at Wilbur Cross Friday night. Neither team, Career or Weaver, had more than a 5-point lead in the game. Career came from behind and held off Weaver 55-52 in the Class M state quarterfinals, thanks to some great free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter (10 of 11) and a steal by guard Brandyn Benson in the final seconds to prevent a last-second three-point attempt by Weaver.
Now top-seeded Career makes its first appearance ever in a state semifinal Tuesday night, facing No. 4 Enfield at New Britain for the right to head to the Mohegan Sun next weekend. Career is the only team from New Haven left in the entire tournament.

In the other Class M semifinal, Notre Dame-Fairfield, the No. 3 seed, will face No. 18 Trinity Catholic at East Haven High Tuesday. Both teams have tremendous guards, Schadrac Casimir and Jonathan Boykin for Trinity, Dan Upchurch and Tre McPherson for Notre Dame, which needs to have the lead midway through the fourth quarter, because you know what Trinity will do - go four corners and force you to come get them.

In Class LL, No. 5 Ridgefield eliminated No. 4 Holy Cross while in an All-SCC Quinnipiac Division battle, Fairfield Prep advances past Xavier on a buzzer beater from rising star Terry Tarpey, who finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds. The two Fairfield County schools will face one another at a site to be determined Tuesday.
St. Joseph hammered fellow FCIAC team McMahon 89-73 and will face No. 14 Glastonbury in the LL semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the New Haven Athletic Center.

The tournament takes the weekend off and resumes on Monday with the Class L and S quarterfinals at the site of the higher seed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things return to normal

We almost had a second straight night of rash upsets, this time in Class L...

Wilby led New London in the third quarter. Sheehan led Kennedy in the fourth quarter. Lyman Hall and Maloney were forced to go to overtime. But all four teams won.
Lyman Hall outlasted Branford and now faces Berlin in what should be good quarterfinal on Monday in Wallingford. The other game in the top portion of the bracket will feature Northwest Catholic against Bassick, the team no one wants to see. Bassick buried EO Smith Thursday so Northwest needs to be concerned. Very concerned.

Maloney got past East Lyme in OT and now will face Kennedy, which eliminated a very determined Sheehan team. New London only beat Wilby three and now gets Hand, which beat East Catholic. Hand is the lowest remaining seed (22nd) in the L tournament, but is the second-to-last team to beat New London back in the 2009 L tournament.

In Class S, all four of the top seeds, No. 1 Valley Regional, No. 2 Capital Prep, No. 3 Classical Magnet and No. 4 St. Paul, all moved into the quarterfinals. No. 12 Coginchaug also won, beating No. 5 Windsor Locks on the road and now gets St. Paul. Valley hosts Kolbe Cathedral, a dangerous game for the Warriors.

Final Throwback Thursday

The Register has looked back at several former state standouts now playing in college. The final one has led his team to this year's NCAA Tournament:

Player: Jeron Belin

College: St. Peter's

Year: Senior

Height: 6-6

Position: Forward

High school: Maloney (Register All-State 2007)

Current stats: 11.6 ppg (second on team), 5.3 rpg (second on team), 27 assists, 21 blocks.

Of Note: Belin transferred from Monroe Community College to St. Peter's for his last two years. Belin had 17 points in the Metro Atllantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament final, earning tourney MVP honors and leading St. Peter's past Iona 62-57 in Bridgeport to gain the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A couple of upsets in Class M, too

Basketball fans may not consider them upsets, but when a lower seed beats a higher seed... well  anyways, No. 18 Trinity Catholic won at Nonnewaug 64-36 and will travel to Bethel in Friday's quarterfinals.

No. 21 Ansonia pulled its second straight seeded upset, knocking off No. 5 Cromwell 51-39. The Chargers' reward is another road trip - a really long one - to Enfield.

Career broke open a close game at halftime to eliminate Foran 60-45. The Panthers will "host" Weaver on Friday - the game will be at Wilbur Cross. If you remember, Weaver has already played a non-counting game in that gym - losing to Hamden Hall in the Vanguard Classic on Dec. 28.

No. 3 Notre Dame-Fairfield will host No. 6 Stonington in the other quarterfinal.

A wild night in Class LL

So how does your Class LL bracket look? I had a nice 3-5 round. If anyone predicted all eight winners Wednesday night, please email me at Even if you got seven right.

The shocker of the evening was Xavier going into Windsor and shocking the top-seeded Warriors 69-58. Windsor had lost just one game and was the CCC champion - sort of like back in 2004, when Wilbur Cross went to Windsor and shot the lights out in the second round.
This is not a vintage Xavier club, but it certainly played like one - five players in double figures and outscoring the hosts 23-5 in the third quarter.

Xavier gets to now see SCC Quinnipiac Division foe Fairfield Prep in the quarterfinals Friday in Fairfield. The Jesuits put up 86 on Crosby, the NVL champion, beating the Bulldogs in every quarter. Coach Leo Redgate spoke way back in January after the team's first loss to Notre Dame-WH that it didn't matter how many losses the team would get, as long as the team was playing its best ball at the end of the season.

Well guess what? Prep is one win away from the semifinals and beat Xavier twice during the regular season.

Hillhouse couldn't put away Harding on Monday, blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter before winning in overtime. So it's not a shock that Westhill won at Hillhouse. Both teams had double digit leads and Hillhouse outscored Westhill 16-5, but couldn't hold onto it in the final quarter and the Academics have been sent home.
Most teams would love to finish with a 22-3 record and an SCC championships. But anything less than a state championship is usually a disappointment at Hillhouse, so there's no reason to think otherwise.

Wilbur Cross made a spirited fourth-quarter comeback against McMahon without its top player, Gerald McClease (ACL injury), but fell short 57-51. Ray Melvin and Kyle Holmes combined for 36 points, but it wasn't enough as McMahon moves onto play St. Joseph, a rematch of a close game won by St. Joes during the season. St. Joes beat Stamford for the second time, but both were by two points.

Holy Cross and Ridgefield held serve at home and will face one another Friday. Westhill will face Glastonbury, an upset winner over Hartford Public.

So if you are keeping score at home, three league champs got sent packing Wednesday: Windsor (CCC), Crosby (NVL) and Hillhouse (SCC).

CIAC dedications

The CIAC Girls' and Boys' Basketball Committees are pleased to announce that the 2011 tournaments will be dedicated to Mrs. Judith Sylvester, who has worked at the CIAC office for 41 years and has been the mainstay behind all of the sports programs offered by CIAC.
Sylvester will be honored along with the following coaches and officials at a reception on Friday, March 18 from 4-5:45 p.m. in the Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun. The public is invited to honor these outstanding individuals and there is no admission fee.

CIAC Boys' and Girls' Basketball Merit Awards:

* Mr. Joseph Gintoli-Official

* Mr. David Grossman-Official

* Mr. Howard Hewitt-Coach, Maloney High School, Meriden

* Ms. Cathy Inglese-Coach, University of Rhode Island

* Mr. Roger McMahon-Coach, Lyman Hall HS, Wallingford (Retired)

* Mr. Gene Reilly-Coach, Portland HS (Retired)

* Mr. David Shea-Coach, Bacon Academy, Colchester

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SCC wins three Tuesday

Three Southern Connecticut Conference teams which were lower seeds prevailed on the road in the Class L opening round on Tuesday.
Two of those wins came against the South-West Conference. No. 26 Sheehan, which won Class M last year, came in with a 8-13 record and beat No. 7 Pomperaug 56-43 in Southbury. Pomperaug was a finalist in the SWC tournament this year. Mike Vallone led the way with 17 points for Sheehan, which will play at Kennedy in the second round Thursday.
No. 22 Hand won at No. 11 Masuk convincingly 69-49 behind Jordan Barnaby's 24 points and 12 rebounds. Now Hand gets to host a second-round game on Thursday against No. 27 East Catholic, which upset a third SWC team, Stratford, 68-65. Stratford, the No. 6 seed, was the defending champion.
The third team is No. 20 Branford, which won at No. 13 Cheney Tech 56-35. Dylan Palluzzi and Buddy Shea each had 14 points for the Hornets, who will face No. 4 Lyman Hall in a SCC second-round matchup Thursday in Wallingford.
In Class S, Coginchaug moves on, beating Coventry at home. The No. 12 seed Blue Devils will play at No. 5 Windsor Locks in Thursday's second round. Haddam-Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Amistad Academy all were eliminated.

Wednesday's second round features Class LL matchups Wilbur Cross at McMahon, Westhill at Hillhouse, Fairfield Prep at Crosby, Xavier at Windsor and Stamford at St. Joseph.
In Class M, Career plays Foran at Wilbur Cross, Ansonia plays at Cromwell and Notre Dame-Fairfield hosts Kaynor Tech.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Survive and advance

The saying Jim Valvano made famous when his N.C. State club made its run to the 1983 national championship applies to teams in tournaments every single year. It applies to Hillhouse on day one in Class LL.
The Academics blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowing Harding to score 22 points in the final quarter after allowing just 27 over the first three. This is one of the more inexperienced teams Charlie Bentley has had during his long tenure at Harding. Hillhouse should have put the Presidents away - but didn't.
Freddie Wilson had 14 points, but spent a lot of the game in foul trouble. He fouled out with 11.5 seconds left in regulation.
But the Academics made their free throws in the fourth quarter (7 of 8), with Andre Anderson going 4 of 4, and they flat-out survived. It does say something that the team was able to make it through overtime without their leader.
But the Academics cannot afford another game like this and survive in this tournament - and they know it. Westhill comes to New Haven on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Your guide to the CIAC tournament

Look no further than here to guide you through the next two weeks.

Check out 10 things to look for here.

Check out the five players to watch here.

Here is the latest Register Top 10 poll. Next one comes out after the season is over.

And here is a brief outlook of the four divisions and predictions.

Keep it here for constant updates throughout the tournament. See you all on the trail...

Choate, Hamden Hall win New England titles

Both Choate and Hamden Hall won New England championships on Sunday. For Choate, it was the first in school history, beating Salisbury 81-56 in NEPSAC Class A (stands for New England Prep School Athletic Council).
Wallingford's John Papale finished with 27 points and was named tournament MVP. Phil Gaetano, also of Wallingford, added 17 points and DeShawn Murphy of New Haven had 16. Choate finishes at 21-3.
Hamden Hall beat St. Luke's in the NEPSAC Class C final 66-50. The Hornets gained a measure of revenge for last week's loss to St. Luke's in the Fairchester League final.
Victor Joshua had 12 points and seven assists to earn MVP honors while Darren Payen had nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.