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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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An interesting evening in the SCC tournament semifinals

So Fairfield Prep coach Leo Redgate did something I've never seen happen: play his substitutes in a tournament semifinal game for nearly a quarter. It almost cost the Jesuits.
Prep was down 15-0 before Paschal Chukwu, Ryan Murphy and Tom Nolan re-entered the game with 1:23 left in the first quarter; Prep was down to Wilbur Cross 17-1 at the end of the quarter.
Then Prep made its slow climb to what ended up being a 68-59 win and a spot in tonight's SCC championship game against Hillhouse featuring the best two teams in the league all year long and the top two teams in the Register Top 10 poll.
So did Leo Redgate do the right thing? He did by those seniors who obviously mean a lot to him to play them in such a big spot. He would've been second-guessed by everyone from now until the end of time - not that he cares - if Prep lost.
"Even if we lost the game, I don;t think it would have been the most horrible thing to happen to the Fairfield Prep basketball program," he said. "I would go to the mat with any of these guys and if we lost because of it, then so be it. If they are going to fire me, they can fire me."
And since he said he wasn't trying to discipline the trio of starters - he said as much after the game - then I guess we have to take him at his word. But he indirectly took a shot at the SCC tournament.
Because by pulling off this stunt, he basically is using the league tournament as a practice for the state tournament. Most coaches would tell you the same thing, that the state tournament carries more weight than the league tournament, and they would all be correct.
Would Redgate do this in the Class LL tournament? I doubt it. He knows that loss would be his last for the season. By doing it in this tournament, he still has the bigger one ahead of him.
So, in my opinion, doing what he did not only was a nice thing to do for those seniors, it also belittled the importance of the SCC tournament. You can make the argument he made a mockery of it.
I wonder what others are thinking today about it. Let me hear from you (, @nhrJoeMorelli on Twitter).

But this reflects even worse on Cross. The Jesuits outplayed the Governors, but those who were there will not only remember Redgate starting his subs for almost seven minutes, but also how Cross couldn't make Prep pay for it.
Josh Fleming did all he could to get Cross over the top - he finished with a game-high 33 points. But no one else had more than 11. And the Governors failed to impose their collective will on what is a much better basketball team than Cross is.
Yes the game was called tightly by the veteran group of officials Pat Paulson, Mike Gambardella and Mike Scanlon. And it's clear Cross coach Kevin Walton was frustrated with how it was officiated.
“I think our kids made enough plays to win this game, and that is where the game should be decided, with the kids," Walton said afterwards.
But the officials didn't shoot 10 of 22 from the line - Cross did. And the refs didn't let Nolan and Murphy cut down the lane for multiple baskets in the second half, either.

This was one of the more bizarre games - and exciting for a lot of reasons - I have ever seen in 20 years of covering high school sports. I wonder what the SCC championship game will bring.

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Blogger Wilton davis said...

You are correct about the foul shots and the terrible defense of Cross, but the refs were not good. It was GREAT to see Mr. Walton check the A.d. of new haven (who is always biased against new haven schools) Canzanella.

February 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM 

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