Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It's Sacred Heart-Bloomfield, again, in a state semifinal

Does this matchup sound familiar?
The top-seeded Sacred Heart boys basketball team tips off tonight against No. 4 Bloomfield in a Class M state semifinal game at 7 o'clock at New Britain High School. At stake is a spot in the state final this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Sacred Heart senior Charles Fisher is used to having
Bloomfield as an opponent. The Hearts are meeting the
Warhawks in a state semifinal for the third straight season.
 


This is the third straight season that the Hearts and Warhawks have met in the state semifinals. In 2014 and 2015, Sacred Heart knocked off Bloomfield on its way to the state championship. Last year's game was also in New Britain. The 2014 game was played at Avon High School.
In just a little bit of an understatement, these non-conference foes are familiar with each other. They even go back to 2009, when Sacred Heart topped Bloomfield for the Class S state championship in the first year of title games played at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
As Hearts head coach Jon Carroll put it after his team's semifinal win over Granby: "We know them pretty well, they know us pretty well. It's almost like a conference game at this point."
Carroll knows the style of Gary Barcher's Warhawks well. Be ready for pressure, and lots of it.
"I expect them to compete and be physical, and we look to do the same," Carroll said.
Senior Charles Fisher said Sacred Heart has been focused since Day 1 on a third straight state championship.
"We're a team that wants it," Fisher said.
After losing to the Hearts in the state semifinals the last two years, it's a good bet the Warhawks want it badly as well.
Bloomfield got to the semifinals with wins over No. 29 Kaynor Tech (66-39), No. 20 Plainfield (70-43) and No. 12 Bacon Academy (65-51), which won the ECC Tournament title.
The Warhawks had a balanced attack in their win over the Bobcats. Seven different players scored seven points, according to the report submitted to the Hartford Courant. Bloomfield was led by a pair of 6-foot-3 players, junior Russell Thompson-Bishop and senior Chin Rochester.
Sacred Heart seniors Tyrn Flowers (24), Mustapha Heron (3)
and Charles Fisher (front) are looking for a third straight
state championship. They need to get past Bloomfield for the
third straight season first.


Carroll said his team, led by seniors Mustapha Heron, Tyrn Flowers and Fisher, are used to the bright lights. So is Bloomfield, which is making its fourth straight appearance.
Still, the Hearts have looked very dominant in their first three state tournament games, and frankly throughout most of their games in the state (their two losses were out-of-state) this season. Sacred Heart just keeps coming, and it's not looking to change.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Carroll said. "We'll play the way we play until we see something where we have to adjust."
Bloomfield will attempt to provide that roadblock tonight in New Britain. The winner gets a trip to the Mohegan Sun Arena this weekend for the ultimate prize.

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