The Class M state championship game was over within the first two minutes of the first quarter.
The top-seeded Sacred Heart boys hit No. 6 Notre Dame-Fairfield with a 10-0 blitz to start the contest. It was 32-10 after a quarter, 58-26 at halftime. There was no stopping the Hearts, who came ready to play and ran away with a 101-49 victory at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Sacred Heart won its third straight state championship and became the first NVL team to do so, according to WATR AM-1320.
"It really speaks a lot to the character of the kids," head coach Jon Carroll told WATR after the game. "78-5 over three years has been great."
"All the hours you put in is what makes you ready for it," senior Mustapha Heron told WATR.
The Hearts are the seventh boys program to accomplish the feat of winning three straight championships, according to the CIAC. The last was St. Joseph of Trumbull from 1986-88.
Much has been made and will be made of Sacred Heart only moving up to Class M and not taking on Class LL. There's plenty of merit to that argument, but for the sake of the players, put that aside for now. This was a special basketball team.
Carroll said the team carried a target on its back.
"They're 17, 18-year-old kids, it's got to weigh on them," Carroll said. "They responded tremendously. I'm so proud of them."
Heron dropped 32 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in his last game. Senior Tyrn Flowers had 19 points and eight boards, and fellow senior Charles Fisher added a solid double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Fisher also had three assists.
Senior John (J.T.) Riddick added 10 points and nine rebounds. Junior Courie Stevenson scored 13 points while sophomore Raheem Solomon chipped in seven points and four assists.
"From one through 15, we all came ready to play," Heron told CPTV Sports. "Everybody had a big game, it meant something to everybody.
Sacred Heart held a 48-18 advantage in points in the paint. The Hearts took a 22-2 advantage in fast break points. Sacred Heart shot 54.7 percent from the field for the game and outrebounded Notre Dame 53-26. The game was tied for exactly nine seconds, which was how long it took Heron to bury a 3. Notre Dame shot 29.8 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from three-point range. Sacred Heart had six blocks and seven steals in a dominating defensive effort.
It was the final game for Sacred Heart seniors Heron, Flowers, Fisher, Riddick, Da'Shaun Douglas, Giannia Perrotti, Brandon Austin and Reggie Ligon Jr.
For Notre Dame, it was the finale for seniors Jesse McIntosh, Andrew Allen, Jordan Pettway, Giovanni Cagnazzo and Thomas Gerling.
We can debate what class Sacred Heart should have played in until the end of time. For the record, I think they should have played in Class LL.
What is not debatable is the greatness of what was witnessed in the city of Waterbury over the past three years. This is a stretch that will go down in the history books as one of the best, if not the best, ever.
UPDATE: Sacred Heart is the seventh boys program to win three straight state titles. The CIAC originally reported that they were the sixth, then later corrected it.