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.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Career falls one win short

The best season in school history fell one victory short for the Career Panthers. Trinity Catholic, the No. 18 seed, beat Career 57-51 Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Trinity shot 50 percent (18 of 36) from the floor. The Crusaders also outrebounded the Panthers 34-29 - a department Career needed to dominate to have a chance Saturday.

Once Career started applying full-court pressure defense, the team started to get some turnovers. In Fact. Trinity committed 21 overall.

But Career was its own worst enemy in the fourth quarter, missing 16 of 19 shots. Trinuty's defense defintely played a role in that - especially 7-foot freshman Pascal Chidi Chukwu, who had four blocked shots in 12 minutes.

With everyone back except one player - Jonathan Boykin - Trinity should ascend back into the upper echlon of state teams as it did for most of the previous decade. That doesn't bode well for others.

As for Career, the team has experience coming back in Kenny Armstead Treyvon Moore and Earl Hassel. But forward Kevin Hoff and guard Brandyn Benson were the heart and soul of the Panthers' club and they will be difficult to replace.

And if Career does move up to Class L because it earned enough playoff points under the current format, it won't be easy to get back to the finals. That's why you need to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.

Outlook for today's final

A quick look:

Class M: Career 60, Trinity Catholic 53

Class L: New London 72, Northwest Catholic 68\

Class LL: St. Joseph 66, Fairfield Prep 58

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Valley's time

Valley Regional is motivated to win that first state championship in school history on its first trip to the finals.
That motivation was fueled by a loss to Old Lyme in the Shoreline Conference final when the Warriors led by as many as 17 points.
If Valley Regional gets that kind of lead tonight, it won't blow it. Valley could have lost to Kolbe Cathedral in the quarterfinals, but rallied from a double-digit deficit at home to move on.
You can expect Valley to have the home-court advantage over Classical. Playing against Kolbe's athleticism will help against Classical as well.
And Taylor Rioux and Mitchell King will be tough to stop inside.
Valley prevails 62-55.

The finals are here

Basketball and hockey fans can follow the championship finals with frequent updates by putting the following email address in their web browser:

You can follow live twitter and blog updates just as if you were watching the action from the Mohegan Sun Arena, Ingalls Rink or even the State Open swimming.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New England All-Star Challenge Sunday

The 3rd annual Fitzy’s New England All-Star Challenge will be held this Sunday at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. The schedule for the event is as follows:
11 AM – CT Underclassman vs. Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC)
12:30 PM - New England Public School Game – North vs. South
2 PM - Slam Dunk/3 Point Contest
2:45 PM -New England Prep School Game – North vs. South

Connecticut Underclassman: Kris Dunn, New London; Timajh Parker, St. Joseph; Sean Obi, Green Farms Academy; Billy Murphy, Brunswick; Kahlil Dukes, Capital Prep; Darren Payen, Hamden Hall;Victor Joshua, Hamden Hall; John Papale, Choate; Ethan O’Day, Northfield Mt. Hermon (Ma.); Mike Mallory, Holy Cross; Garey Allen, Windsor

Public School Game
Team South: Phil Starks, Prince Tech; Freddie Wilson, Hillhouse; Drew Crudup, Hillhouse; Torin Childs-Harris, New London; Greg Andrade, Windsor; Ray Melvin, Wilbur Cross; Oscar Assie, St. Joseph; Tyler McFarland, Camden Hills; Al Azauphar, McMahon; Rob Lewis, Providence Central

Private School Game
Team South: Phil Gaetano, Choate; Anthony Jernigan, South Kent; Tylon Smith, Kingswood Oxford; Deshawn Murphy, Choate; Tavon Allen, Worcester Academy; Ishamel Kalilou, Taft; Brandon Sherrod, Choate; Scott King, Holderness; Ryan Canty, Brimmer and May

Northwest vs. New London

Northwest Catholic trailed by as many as nine points in the first half of Wednesday night's semifinal, but came from behind to eliminate Lyman Hall 54-48 at CCSU. That sets the stage for the battle everyone wanted to see at Mohegan Sun Saturday night against undefeated New London at 6:15 p.m.
Kuran Iverson had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Northwest, which held Lyman Hall to just one field goal during a 10-minute stretch in the second half. The Trojans played well in the first half, but wilted against Northwest's full-court pressure defense.
It is likely the last ganme for Lyman Hall coach Mike Conner. He is the interim principal at Troup Middle School in New Haven and may get the full-time job. If he does, he likely won't be able to continue to coach. With three Class L semifinal-round appearances in six season, and one in the finals, Conner has done a nice job turning around the program.
New London pretty much handled Maloney 72-56 in the other semi at the New Haven Athletic Center. I'll get more into the final matchup over the next couple of days.

In Class S, Classical Magnet beat Capital Prep 58-57, setting up a Friday night final against top-seeded Valley Regional, a 61-48 winner over St. Paul in the other semifinal.
Valley is the favorite and after being upset in the Shoreline Conference final by Old Lyme, it really needs that first state championship in school history to have something to show for its great season.

Mohegan Sun schedule

The schedule has been finalized for this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville for both the boys and girls basketball finals.

For the complete schedule, click here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Career reaches first final

While the quarterfinal-round game against Weaver came donw to the final possession, Career made sure there was no drama in the fourth quarter against Enfield Tuesday night.
The Panthers scored the first six points of the game, never trailed and eliminated Enfield 49-37 in the Class M state semifinals at CCSU. Career's defense gave Enfield fits, forcing 16 turnovers. While Trechon Preston had 20 points (four in the first half), the rest of Enfield's team had 17 collectively.
Top-seeded Career will stay have to be better in both ends against No. 18 Trinity Catholic, an overtime winner against Notre Dame-Fairfield. The Crusaders have tournament pedigree (five state titles) a good coach (Mike Walsh) and a pair of underrated guards (Shadrac Casimir and Jonathan Boykin) that could give Career some trouble. The Panthers will need to control the boards and limit turnovers to take home their first state title.
In Class LL, as expected, St. Joseph advanced past Glastonbury rather easily (62-42) setting up a battle with Fairfield Prep, making its first appearance in a final since 1997. These two teams used to be in the old MBIAC and ACC (an all Catholic League) before going their seperate ways.
You have to hand it to Fairfield Prep. I never thought they would get here, especially after seeing Windsor in its half of the draw. But Xavier took care of the Warriors and Prep took care of Xavier for the third time, along with Crosby and Ridgefield. St. Joes is the favorite but Prep will not go down easily.

Class L semis are Wednesday night with Lyman Hall against Northwest Catholic at CCSU. As I sit here typing in an empty Detrick Gymnasium, I expect it to be an exciting atmosphere. Lyman Hall has had success in this building before (beating E.O. Smith en route to the 2008 L final) and will bring a good crowd. So will Northwest. Looking forward to seeing Kuran Iverson for N-West.
This is one of those nights I wish I could be in two places at once. Maloney vs. New London at the New Haven Athletic Center should be a war. Two teams have combined for one loss. Three of the best guards are on display (Torin Childs-Harris and Kris Dunn for New London, Ryan Belote for Maloney). Maloney may try to run with the Whalers. That would be in New London's favor.

In Class S, its Valley Regional trying to reach its first final in school history against St. Paul, the team it beat at the buzzer in the quartrfinals last year. Classical Magnet faces Capital Prep in the other semifinal.

Days and times for the four state championship gams will be finalized on Thursday. Follow us on twitter at @jmorelli44 to find out early in the day on Thursday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Higher seeds hold serve

Class LL looks to be the only upset bracket - besides No. 18 Trinity Catholic in Class M.

On Monday, the top four seeds in Class L advanced - Northwest Catholic over Bassick, Lyman Hall over Berlin, New London over Hand and Maloney over Kennedy. Only New London had an easy time of it.
Lyman Hall allowed just six points in the fourth quarter and Rich Bronson was immense. You can read the story here.
The Trojans now face Northwest Catholic, which had a tough time putting away Bassick at home. The semifinal is Wednesday at Central Connecticut State University at 7 p.m. Lyman Hall will need to play some tough defense, including their big men, Jack McCarthy and Jason Dempsey, who have a tough chore trying to match up with Kuran Iverson if that is the route head coach Mike Conner chooses. Northwest is the favorite.
In the other half, Maloney faces New London in a rematch of the 2008 Class L semifinal, won by Maloney 72-50 on the same floor, the New Haven Athletic Center.
Let's see...New London avenged a tournament loss in last year's final to Stratford by beating the Red Devils on their home floor in this year's season opener. The Whalers avenged a 2009 second-round home loss to Hand tonight. What could they have in store for the Spartans? It should be fun with the state's best backcourt, Torin Childs-Harris and Kris Dunn, going up against a fine guard in his own right, Ryan Belote.

In Class S, the top four seeds also advanced. Top-seeded Valley Regional rallied in the fourth quarter to eliminate Kolbe Cathedral at home. Now the Warriors face St. Paul in the semifinals on Wednesday at East Haven High. Valley eliminated St. Paul last year in the quarterfinals. Should be another barn-burner.
The other semifinal is a rematch of the Constitution State Conference final: Capital Prep vs. Classical Magnet, won by Classical Magnet in overtime.

On tap tonight are the Class LL and M semifinals.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The road to the finals

For news and tournament updates throughout the final week of the winter sports season, put the following address in your web browser:

You will be able to keep track of both boys' and girls' basketball, hockey and boys' swimming.

You can also still follow boys basketball twitter updates @jmorelli44 and keep it here for the Run to the Mohegan Sun for updates as well.

We will be at Berlin Lyman Hall on Monday (Class L quarterfinals) and at Central Connecticut State University Tuesday for the Class M semifinal between Career and Enfield.