Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Holy Cross, St. Paul girls garner top seeds in state tourneys

The CIAC girls basketball state tournament pairings are out, and Holy Cross and St. Paul are seeded the highest.
The Crusaders (19-3) are the No. 2 seed in Class L. The biggest question for the 2017 Class L runner-up is the health of All-NVL and All-City senior Meah Austin. Austin was hurt in the NVL semifinal loss to Sacred Heart and had to be helped off the floor. Holy Cross loses a big piece if Austin can't go. Aiyana Ward, who was All-NVL, All-City, the top NVL senior and top city senior, would have to take on even more of the load. The Crusaders would be helped big time, with or without Austin, if they can make more outside shots. All-Brass choice Julia Mecca can be one of those outside options. Holy Cross opens the tournament next Tuesday in The Pit against No. 31 Joel Barlow (6-14 regular season) at 7 p.m.
St. Paul (17-4) is the No. 3 seed in Class M, and it opens at home with NVL foe Oxford (9-11), the No. 30 seed, next Monday at 7 p.m. The Falcons have had injury issues, biggest of which the loss of All-NVL sophomore Janessa Gonzalez for the season, and they will need a slew of contributions, including those from All-Copper sophomore Jade Udoh. St. Paul won both regular season matchups against its Copper Division foe from Oxford.
Sacred Heart (17-5), which plays in tonight's NVL final, is the No. 6 seed in Class S. The Hearts and their terrific three-headed attack of Treasure Coleman (All-NVL, All-City), Aamya Rivera (All-Brass) and Mikayla Mobley (All-Brass) host No. 27 Ellis Tech (9-11) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
Crosby (13-8) is the No. 16 seed in Class L. The Bulldogs, led by All-NVL and All-City standout Tiahna Pulliam, host No. 17 Platt (12-8) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Palace. All-Brass member Gloria Vergeli will look to help Crosby's cause.
Wolcott (12-10) is seeded 23rd in Class M and travels to No. 10 Amistad (15-5) next Monday for a 7 p.m. game. The Eagles will look for a big effort from All-NVL standout Raven Cody.
WCA (10-11) is the No. 24 seed in Class L and will travel to No. 9 Bullard-Havens (13-5) next Tuesday for a 7 p.m. contest. All-NVL and All-City choice Armani Weaver hopes to have her outside touch for the Spartans.
Bristol Eastern (7-13) is the last team in for Class LL at No. 32. The Lancers will have to go to New London to face the top seed, which is also the No. 1 team in the state. The Whalers play for a ECC title tonight. Eastern and New London play next Monday at 7 p.m.

Mayo's putback gives Wilby boys stunning road win at Wolcott

Dezon Mayo's putback kept Wilby's postseason hopes alive.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Wilby boys basketball game is still alive for a state tournament berth because of Dezon Mayo.
Wolcott is in the same one-game scenario because of Dezon Mayo.
Mayo's putback on a missed shot with four seconds left gave the Wildcats a 54-52 victory over the Eagles on their Senior Night at the John H. Morris Gymnasium Tuesday.
Mayo had eight points, and his last two were by far the most important. Both teams are 7-12 and need a win in their final game for a state tournament berth because of Mayo's shot.
Christian Harris led Wilby with 21 points and TyQway Harding added 12. Harding got off to a good start in the first half with several runners in the lane.
Elmin Redzepagic (23) shot his way to a game-high 25 points.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Elmin Redzepagic paced Wolcott with 25 points, hitting from both inside and outside the three-point arc. Redzepagic ended the game with three 3-pointers. Jack Drewry had 11 points while battling inside for the Eagles. Mike Tessarzik and Chris Harris chipped in eight points apiece.
Wolcott honored seniors from the basketball team, cheerleaders and dance team, then jumped out to a 14-11 lead over Wilby after one quarter. An even second quarter made the score 28-25 at halftime. The Wildcats pulled within a point, 42-41, after three quarters.
Mayo's heroics mean that both Wilby and Wolcott are in a win or stay home game in their regular season finales. The Wildcats host Seymour on Thursday night at 7 o'clock. The Eagles are scheduled to start an hour earlier on Thursday at Ansonia.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from the game.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bristol Central boys beat Eastern, deny rival a state tournament berth

Logo credit: Bristol Central principal Twitter account
Bristol Central boys basketball edged out Eastern 46-42 on Monday night inside a packed Thomas A. Monahan Gymnasium.
The game's outcome had a much different effect on both sides: The Rams finished the regular season with a 16-4 record, a spot in the CCC Tournament, and a high ranking in Division II. The Lancers ended the season 7-13, one win shy of a state tournament berth.
In a typical game between these Mum City rivals, it was closely contested and low scoring. Eastern gave the effort you would expect from a Bunty Ray team, but it wasn't enough. Central's Jaekwon Spencer led all scorers with 20 points. The Rams had a 14-game winning streak snapped last Thursday by Wethersfield, but they were able to bounce back with a win over the Lancers.
Jake Lafferty led a balanced Eastern attack with 10 points. The Lancers led 13-10 after one quarter, then the Rams fought to a 21-21 tie at the half. Central led 33-32 after three quarters and was able to pull away just enough to win.
Eastern made a strong push to earn a state tournament berth, but injuries helped conspire to keep the Lancers out.
Central has the postseason ahead, and it will have good seeds in both the CCC and Division II state tournaments.