Friday, December 30, 2016

St. Paul baseball visits MLB Network, will get championship rings next week

The 2016 Class S state champion St. Paul baseball team got to visit
the MLB Network today, and they will get their rings next Tuesday.
It will be a whirlwind few days for the St. Paul baseball program.
Earlier today, the Falcons were the guests of Paul Severino and the MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J. Severino is an alum of St. Paul, Class of 2001, and he extended the invitation. The team took a tour of the studio, and they also appeared on a network show called Intentional Talk. The episodes aired at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The team was also addressed by former Major Leaguer and MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds.

The team gave Severino a championship ring from the 2016 season. 
St. Paul baseball has a public Facebook group -- SP Base -- where they posted photos and videos from the day.
As for the rings, St. Paul will get them at halftime of the boys basketball game against Naugatuck next Tuesday. 
A championship banner will also be unveiled.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Weekly roundups abound in the new year

A new year is coming, so I'm going to try something new on Sports on CT-69.
Beginning Sunday, there will be a weekly high school roundup for each town. Yes, one apiece for Bristol, Waterbury and Wolcott. I think I will better be able to encompass what's going on locally with a roundup at the end of the week.
Each roundup will be specific to its town. I will still look to single some things out for individual spotlighting. I will not be able to catch everything that goes on. These roundups will highlight what happened during the week.
Hope you enjoy them! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Isaiah Wright solid in return game for Temple during Military Bowl

Wright (Temple athletics)
Isaiah Wright, Temple University football
Wright wasn't a huge factor on offense for the Owls, but he still helped that unit out in a 34-26 Military Bowl loss to Wake Forest on Tuesday.
Wright returned six kickoffs for 169 yards, including a long of 47. He averaged over 28 yards a return, which helped give Temple's offense good field position. 
The former Holy Cross and Kingswood-Oxford player averaged 25.27 yards per return on 11 attempts for the season. He ran for 232 yards and scored one touchdown on 42 attempts. Wright also caught eight passes for 74 yards in his freshman season.

Marchi (Temple athletics)
Logan Marchi, Temple University football
Also on the roster for the game was the redshirt freshman Marchi.
Marchi, a former St. Paul standout, got to play in six games for the Owls as a freshman. He had two completions in six attempts for 29 yards. His longest pass of the year went for 15 yards. Marchi was second on the depth chart behind senior Phillip Walker, who broke his own record for most passing yards in a season for a Temple quarterback.
Marchi should be in the hunt for the top quarterback spot next fall. 

Jordan Booker, Nichols College basketball
Booker (Nichols athletics)

The Bison resume their season on Friday after a holiday break, and this freshman looks to keep contributing to his team's success.
Booker has played in all nine games, averaging 13.6 minutes per outing. Booker played a season-high 30 minutes in a game against Newbury on Dec. 8. He connected on 5-of-11 shots and 2-of-2 free throws to tally 14 points. The 14 points were a season-high for Booker.
He has also played 29 minutes against Wentworth and 22 against Roger Williams. 

Fithian-Giantonio (Nichols athletics)
Mekaela Fithian-Giantonio, Nichols College basketball
This sophomore and former leader of St. Paul girls basketball has started seven of the eight games she has played in.
Fithian-Giantonio is averaging 21.4 minutes per game. Her per game averages are 2.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists (second on the team). Fithian-Giantonio's assist total of 15 ranks her second on her team as well.
In a start against Wentworth, Fithian-Giantonio had 10 points in 25 minutes. She made four of five shot attempts, including two of three opportunities behind the three-point line.
As a freshman, Fithian-Giantonio played in 25 games and averaged 2.6 points per game.

Santiago (Regis athletics)
Manny Santiago, Regis College indoor track and field
It's not often you find a three-sport college athlete.
Santiago, a former standout at Bristol Eastern, just happens to be a three-sport athlete. The senior finished up his senior soccer season in the fall, then moved on to indoor track and field. In the spring, Santiago plays volleyball.
On the soccer pitch, Santiago earned Third Team All-New England Collegiate Conference honors. He produced 10 wins, gave up just 1.58 goals per match (second in the NECC) and had a .743 save percentage (fourth in NECC).
Santiago is an exercise science major at Regis.

Statistics and head shots compiled from the websites of the schools.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sacred Heart hoops alumni ready to help Kelvin Davis

During his time as a Sacred Heart basketball player, Kelvin Davis electrified crowds throughout Waterbury and the rest of the Naugatuck Valley.
Davis provided plenty of thrills, and he made plenty of friends.
Want proof?
Look no further than Alumni Hall on Saturday, where Sacred Heart players from different graduating classes -- men and women -- will play a pair of games for Davis.
Davis is once again battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, the same cancer he fought publicly as a college player at San Diego State University.
There's a girls game at 10 a.m., followed by a boys game at noon. The alumni games are the first for basketball, and they are free. Any and all donations made, however, go to Davis and his fight.
Davis won the 2009 Most Courageous Award from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Davis was a national story, and was part of an online chat on ESPN about his fight against cancer.
I remember when Davis, Jon Lucky and Rob Lucky came to play my hometown Torrington High School when I was a student there. Sacred Heart had a crazy good team that year -- gee, not much has changed, has it? -- and Davis was renowned around the league for his insane leaping ability.
I still vividly remember the windmill slam Davis threw down on a fast break. It even had the opposing Torrington fans in Connie Donahue Gymnasium buzzing. He was spectacular, and he brought terrific energy to the court. He's also brought that energy to his fight against cancer.
In his story for The Zone, Joe Palladino talked to alumni Katie O'Toole and Freddie Feliciano about the alumni games and Davis. It"s a great article, by the way, so go give it a read.
Palladino provided contact numbers for O'Toole and Feliciano in his story. There's also a Facebook group supporting Davis and the games. It's called Sacred Heart Alumni Basketball Game. Check it out!
Bottom line, cancer sucks, and Kelvin Davis needs your help. Get to Alumni Hall Saturday, enjoy some hoops, and make a donation. Any and all amounts count.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Two games, two wins in Connecticut for Mustapha Heron and Auburn

Heron (Auburn athletics)
Less than two days after beating Oklahoma at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Mustapha Heron and his Auburn teammates were back in action on a Connecticut court.
This afternoon, Heron and the Tigers took on UConn at the XL Center in downtown Hartford. The arena did have a little bit of a Waterbury feel to it as more than 200 fans were bused in to watch Heron play.
"I came here a lot as a kid, to watch UConn games and concerts and things like that, so it was exciting to be able to play here, and definitely better to leave here with a 'W'," Heron said in a postgame interview.
The Tigers and Huskies battled into overtime, where the visitors held on for a 70-67 victory.
Heron finished the game with 15 points, eight rebounds and just one turnover. He made one of two free throw attempts with seven seconds left in OT to put Auburn ahead 70-67.
UConn had two chances to tie on three-point attempts, but both missed the mark. Heron played 36 minutes in the game.
The former Sacred Heart star certainly enjoyed his time back in Connecticut. Yesterday, he spent time speaking to children at Generali Elementary School in Waterbury. Heron also visited Alumni Hall and Sacred Heart, home of so many fond memories.
Head coach Bruce Pearl told WTIC-AM 1080's Joe D'Ambrosio that the Auburn-UConn game was made possible because of his connection to UConn athletic director David Benedict. Benedict helped get Pearl his head coaching job when Benedict was at Auburn.
Here's hoping that Heron gets more chances to come back and play in Connecticut. The first go-around was certainly enjoyable.

QUICK BITES: Five Waterbury boys teams, one Bristol squad undefeated

There are five undefeated boys basketball teams in the NVL after two games, and all of them reside in the Brass City.
Crosby, Holy Cross, Kennedy, Sacred Heart and Waterbury Career Academy are all 2-0 after last night's action.
In Bristol, there's one undefeated team, and that is Bristol Central, also 2-0.
Here's how each team has gotten to 2-0:

Wins: vs. Torrington (89-63), at Ansonia (74-46)
Tough trio to stop: Senior Jeremiah Kendall (27.0 points per game), senior Miguel Rivera (20.5) and junior Ivan Craig (18.0) have been lighting up the scoreboard for Nick Augelli's Bulldogs so far. Kendall is also the leading rebounder (11 per game) and steal man (6.0). Crosby is averaging 15.0 steals and 5.5 blocks per game, proving it's not just offense doing work.
All numbers are from MaxPreps.

Holy Cross
Wins: vs. Seymour (81-62), at Derby (85-42)
Lord of the Boards: How's this for rebounding? Junior DeAndre Wallace yanked down 22 rebounds in the season-opening win over Seymour. 
High-scoring threesome: On offense, Wallace was also one of the leading scorers at 15 points in that game against the Wildcats. Junior Nyzair Rountree was tops at 29 while senior Kerson Etienne hit for 22. Wallace also had four steals and four blocks while Rountree added nine rebounds and four thefts.
All numbers are from MaxPreps.

Wins: vs. Naugatuck (63-39), at Watertown (112-44)
Five for 10 or more: The Eagles saw five different players get 10 points or more in the win over Watertown, according to a box score reported to the Waterbury Republican-American. Lashawn Smith (19 points), Tyairus Sands (16), Chomari Joseph (16), Tyvon Stenson (10) and Evel Pacheco (10) all reached double figures for Kennedy. Smith, Stenson and Sands combined to fill the stat sheets with rebounds, assists and blocks.
Smith was the lone player in double figures against Naugatuck (12 points).

Sacred Heart
Wins: vs. Wolcott (82-39), at St. Paul (75-40)
New faces, familiar results: The two-time defending NVL champs have rolled to victory in their first two games, even with new personnel. One returning player, the talented Raheem Solomon, led the Hearts with 26 points in the opener against the Eagles. Newcomers Tariq Price and Isaiah Gaiter had nine points each against Wolcott. Solomon (14) and fellow returnee Courie Stevenson (13) both hit double digits in points against the Falcons, but it was newcomer Nate Tabor (15) who led the Hearts in scoring. All those numbers were reported to the Rep-Am.

Waterbury Career Academy
Wins: at Oxford (95-70), at Torrington (68-58)
Two road games to open NVL play: The Spartans have begun their first league season on the road, but that hasn't mattered. Head coach Ronan O'Leary and his bunch are off to a great start. 
Bombs away, but also fundamentals: WCA proved it can run away from an opponent, but it can also hit foul shots to close out a close game. The Spartans canned 14 3-pointers against the Wolverines, then sank 25-of-30 free throws against the Raiders in Torrington. Marquan Watson has been a double-double machine so far, while Jadan Battle has dished out assists and stolen the ball. Watson had 15 rebounds against Torrington, while Kyren Petteway dished out 10 assists. Those numbers were reported to the Rep-Am.

Bristol Central
Wins: at Maloney (54-48), at Wethersfield (43-37)
Two close road games, two wins: All the Rams have done is win in the other team's gym, twice. In the first game at Maloney, Jaekwon Spencer scored 21 points while Alex Bernier added 14, according to a box score reported to the Hartford Courant. Spencer (15) and Bernier (11) were again the leading scorers against Wethersfield.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

QUICK BITES: Holy Cross boys 2-0 under new head coach Ryan Olsen

It's not easy taking over for a legend.
Ask Bunty Ray, who took over for Mike Giovinazzo as Bristol Eastern boys coach this season. Another new head guy is Ryan Olsen, who took over for the legendary Ed Generali at Holy Cross.
So far, so good for the Crusaders. Holy Cross beat Seymour 81-62 on opening night, then dismantled Derby 85-42 tonight to get to 2-0.
In the opener against Seymour, Nyzair Rountree lit up the nets for 29 points while teammate Kerson Etienne had 22 points. DeAndre Wallace had a huge double-double with 15 points and 22 rebounds, according to statistics posted on MaxPreps.
Stats weren't available yet for the Derby game, but the most important one is Holy Cross' record, 2-0.

QUICK BITES: Bunty Ray gets first win as Bristol Eastern head hoop coach

It took one final fourth quarter burst, but Bristol Eastern was able to hold off New Britain at home and give head coach Bunty Ray his first win.
The Lancers claimed a 47-41 victory over the Golden Hurricanes, thanks to a 6-0 run in the final minutes, according to results reported to the Hartford Courant. Roderick Jenkins, a transfer from Waterbury Career Academy, had nearly half of Eastern's points with 21.
Ray took over for long-time head coach Mike Giovinazzo, who retired. The Lancers are 1-1 on the season.

QUICK BITES: St. Paul, Kennedy girls both 4-0

The St. Paul and Kennedy girls basketball teams each improved to 4-0 with victories on Thursday night.
The Falcons won 51-36 over Sacred Heart at Alumni Hall in Waterbury. Brigid Johndrow had a double-double for St. Paul with 14 points and 10 assists.
The Eagles picked up a 48-44 victory at home over Watertown.
Looking ahead, St. Paul and Kennedy play each other on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul. The Eagles knocked the Falcons out of the NVL Tournament in the semifinal round last year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Heron posts double-double in first game back in CT

Mustapha Heron made plenty of good memories in Connecticut
while playing for Sacred Heart. On Wednesday, Heron returned home for a game
with Auburn against Oklahoma at Mohegan Sun Arena.
For the first time since last year's Class M state championship game with Sacred Heart, Mustapha Heron stepped onto the Mohegan Sun Arena court for a game.
Heron, a freshman, helped get Auburn a 74-70 win over Oklahoma in the nightcap of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Birthday of Basketball doubleheader. It was a Topsy-turvy game for Heron and his Tiger teammates.
Between turnovers, physical play and some rough officiating -- awful if you listened to the guys on the Auburn Sports Network radio -- Auburn struggled to put Oklahoma away after leading by 17 in the second half. Let's put it this way, Auburn radio personality and former coach Sonny Smith had the line of the night.
"It's hard to explain a bank robbery," Smith said as an official explained a call to head coach Bruce Pearl.
The Tigers were able to hang on and improved to 9-2.
Auburn's next game is Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the XL Center against UConn.
Heron put together a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He was 5-for-10 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-4 on 3-pointers, and he went 3-for-4 from the foul line. Heron struggled handling the ball with seven turnovers. His struggles handling the ball were indicative of what happened with the team, which had 22 turnovers.
Heron scored six points in a 1:23 span early in the second half to help Auburn build a 37-22 lead.
Next up for Heron is another homecoming game, this time at the XL Center against UConn. The game is being televised by ESPN2.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Khadaijia Brooks gets first career double-double in Marshall win

Khadaijia Brooks, Marshall women's basketball
Brooks (Marshall athletics)

The former Bristol Eastern star was always capable of a double-double with the Lancers.
On Tuesday, Brooks put together her first double-double in college in a 136-62 Marshall win over Maine Fort Kent. The 136 points were the most in program and Conference USA history.
Brooks tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds, both career highs. She was 8-for-10 from the field, including a perfect 4-for-4 on 3-pointers. Brooks was 2-for-3 on free throws. She had three blocks and a steal in 24 minutes.
Brooks started the game out quickly on defense with a blocked shot on the first play. Her first points came on a 3-pointer with 7:12 left in the first quarter. Brooks grabbed her first rebound at 6:16 of the first quarter.
The sophomore Brooks and her Marshall teammates are back in action on Dec. 30 against Florida International University.

Elder (SNHU athletics)
Ashley Elder, Southern New Hampshire indoor track and field
The former Bristol Central standout had a great effort at the Dec. 9 Plymouth State University Winter Classic.
Elder won the shot put with a personal best of 11.61 meters (38 feet, 1.25 inches). That was .13 meter better than second place. Elder also took fourth place in the weight throw. Her best throw was in that event was 13.38 meters (43 feet, 10.75 inches).
Elder, a sophomore at SNHU, is a Forensic Psychology major.

Mike Bozzuto, Southern Connecticut State men's basketball
Bozzuto (SCSU athletics)

This senior guard and former Wolcott standout has seen more playing time recently for Scott Burrell's Owls.
Bozzuto has gotten the start in each of the last three games, playing a high of 34 minutes in a loss to Caldwell on Monday. Bozzuto scored 10 points on perfect shooting (3-for-3 FG, 2-for-2 3-pt FG, 2-for-2 FT) in 28 minutes in a loss to Le Moyne. Against Caldwell, Bozzuto pulled down eight rebounds and tallied three steals.
Bozzuto has played in five games, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds on 41.2 percent shooting

Martin (SCSU athletics)
Lilly Martin, Southern Connecticut State women's swimming and diving
The former St. Paul star was named NE-10 Swimmer of the Week after doing well against Yale on Dec. 8.
Martin, a junior at SCSU, took third in both the 200-yard individual medley and 200 breaststroke for the Owls. Martin was also part of a 200-yard medley relay team that took third place.
Martin has been a strong competitor in her time at SCSU, and she still has a year-plus left in her career with the Owls.

Elias Rodriguez, Western Connecticut State men's basketball
Rodriguez (WCSU athletics)

This former Bristol Eastern player has appeared in eight of the nine Colonial games so far this season.
Rodriguez, a sophomore, is averaging 14.1 minutes per game off the bench. He is scoring 5.5 points per game and has an assist to turnover ratio of 2.4/1. Rodriguez is averaging three rebounds per contest.
Rodriguez has hit double digits in two games this season, with a high of 13 points in a loss to Lycoming on Nov. 19. He also had 12 points in a win over Westfield State.
Rodriguez's best rebounding game was seven boards in a win over New Rochelle on Nov. 29.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

GIRLS HOOP: Holy Cross battles, but Mercy too much in CPTV Sports Tip-Off Classic

The Holy Cross girls basketball team's coaching staff knew what their team was in for when it played Mercy in Tuesday night's CPTV Sports Tip-Off Classic at Maloney High School in Meriden.
Aiyana Ward (32) follows through on a foul shot.
The Tigers were the top seed in Class LL and reached the quarterfinals. In 2014 and 2015, Mercy reached the semifinals in 'LL'.
The Tigers are a perennial Class LL power, and the Crusader coaches knew the task was a big one.
Holy Cross couldn't have expected what Mercy threw at it.
The Tigers ran off 15 straight points to open the game and ran away with a 58-37 victory. Mercy, which lost to a solid Daniel Hand team to open the season, improved to 1-1. For Holy Cross, it was the first loss (2-1).
The Crusaders competed against a Class LL school for the first and only time this season. It was a chance for Holy Cross to see where it stood against a powerful program, and also what it needs to work on. The Crusaders play in Class L this season because of postseason success. After games against Wolcott (tomorrow) and Derby on Thursday, Holy Cross plays Class L Lauralton Hall on Dec. 30 in another challenging non-league game.

The Tigers blitzed the Crusaders for nearly six minutes before Aiyana Ward her team on the board with a free throw at the 2:10 mark of the first quarter. Holy Cross's first field goal didn't come until nearly 30 seconds were gone in the second quarter. It was 30-10 at halftime.
Meah Austin (14) gets a pat on the back from head coach Frank Lombardo.
What went wrong? Holy Cross couldn't get a shot to fall, when it got one off. The Crusaders had issues with the length and height of the Tigers, who used it to their advantage time and again. Mercy blocked shots and forced turnovers, then took off down the other end. When the Crusader defense slowed them down, the Tigers used their height and snagged offensive rebounds.
To Holy Cross's credit, it came out with a ton of intensity in the second half. Ward made a nice move for two points, then Idalis Miranda buried a 3-pointer. The Crusaders ratcheted up the defensive pressure and forced some turnovers. Holy Cross tallied 14 points in the third quarter, more than it had in the first half. Still, Mercy maintained a 43-24 lead after three quarters.
The Crusaders continued to fight in the fourth quarter and were outscored 15-13 in the final eight minutes.
The result says it was a lopsided loss, and it was. Holy Cross, however, showed a lot of heart and hustle, and it even outrebounded the larger Mercy players at times.
Ward and Meah Austin, both listed at 5-foot-10, battled inside against the likes of 6-footers Meghan DeVille and Samantha Chapps. In the starting lineup alone, Mercy's starters were all between 5-5 and six feet. There were several Tigers off the bench that were around 5-7 to 5-9. Besides height, the Tigers had length.
Idalis Miranda led Holy Cross with 13 points.
Holy Cross's starting lineup =  5-10, 5-10, 5-2, 5-5, 5-5.
Still, the Crusaders battled, and it wasn't just Ward and Austin. Head coach Frank Lombardo played most of his bench, and they came out with some good intensity. Miranda led Holy Cross with 13 points (3 3-pointers), all in the second half. Austin scored seven points, Ward tallied six points, and Natalie Hodak added five points. Gabby Goldman, Devon Eason and Allie Brown each had one basket for two points.
Holy Cross learned some lessons on Tuesday night, and the Crusaders will take them through the rest of their three-game, three-day slate.

Friday, December 16, 2016

GIRLS HOOP ROUNDUP: St. Paul, Wolcott reach 2-0 with Friday night wins

There are four local girls basketball teams sitting at 4-0 after Friday night's action.
Kennedy was already there, and it was joined by Holy Cross, St. Paul and Wolcott. The Crusaders had a wild comeback win over Torrington, St. Paul blew out Crosby on the road, and Wolcott pasted Ansonia, also on the road.

St. Paul 51, Crosby 29: Another good night for Brigid Johndrow, who had 15 for the Falcons. Amelia Sanchez added 10 points for St. Paul, according to a box score reported to the Hartford Courant.
Wolcott 45, Ansonia 8: Three days after beating overmatched Wilby, the Eagles dispatched the Chargers in decisive fashion. 

Derby 48, WCA 47: The Spartans rallied in the fourth quarter and came oh so close to victory, only to fall by a point.

In another NVL action, Wilby lost to Seymour by a score of 62-11. 

GIRLS HOOP: Holy Cross rallies for huge road win over Torrington

It didn't look good for the Holy Cross girls basketball team on Friday night at Torrington.
The Crusaders trailed their long-time NVL rival Raiders 42-28 entering the fourth quarter at the Connie Donahue Gymnasium.
Holy Cross turned the tables on Torrington and won 60-56 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
With as little as 2:12 to play in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders were down 53-50 to the Raiders. At 1:26 to go, Torrington still led 54-52. 
From the 1:26 point on, the Crusaders outscored their opponent 8-2 to claim a stunning victory.
The game didn't start out well at all for Holy Cross. The Crusaders found themselves in an 18-7 hole after one quarter. Holy Cross cut the deficit to 28-22 by the half, but Torrington outscored it 14-6 in the third quarter to lead 42-28.
That's when the Crusaders began their march back into the game.
Holy Cross plays Mercy of Middletown next Tuesday in the CPTV Sports Classic at Meriden's Maloney High School. The tipoff is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.

Peter Wallace, a former co-worker of mine, was sending out tweets for GameTimeCT. Thank you to him for the updates!

BOYS HOOP: Waterbury jamboree off; also, a look at season openers

The threat of winter weather forced Crosby to cancel the boys basketball city jamboree, scheduled for Saturday. It will not be made up because the season begins next week.
It stinks that the jamboree is off, but safety is the No. 1 priority, and you can never be too cautious on the hills of the Brass City.
That being said, here's who each local school -- Bristol and Wolcott included -- opens up with:

Bristol Central -- The Rams will host E.O. Smith at 5:30 p.m.
Bristol Eastern -- The Lancers, guided by first-year head coach Bunty Ray, entertain Rockville at home at 6:45 p.m.

Kaynor Tech -- The Panthers open the schedule with a bang against FCIAC foe Norwalk at home at 7 p.m.

Waterbury Career Academy -- The Spartans play at Oxford at 6 p.m.
Wilby -- The Wildcats tip off against Ansonia inside Reggie O'Brien Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
Kennedy -- The Eagles, also home, open up against Naugatuck at 7 p.m.
Holy Cross -- Another city team, another home game. The Crusaders host Seymour at 7 p.m.
St. Paul -- The Falcons head for Beacon Falls for a 7 p.m. game against Woodland.
Crosby -- Back to the Brass City home games. The Bulldogs play in The Palace against Torrington at 7 p.m.
Sacred Heart -- The three-time defending state champion Hearts open with Wolcott inside Alumni Hall at 7 p.m. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

ROUNDUP: Bristol Eastern girls basketball picks up first win

After a tough loss in the season opener, the Bristol Eastern girls basketball team rebounded with a 61-56 win in its home opener against Wethersfield on Thursday night.
Diana Wnuk had 18 points and nine rebounds while Hannah Maghini tallied 17 points and five assists, according to a box score reported to the Hartford Courant. Meredith Forman grabbed nine rebounds for the Lancers, who improved to 1-1.
Kennedy 40, Kaynor Tech 28: The Eagles spoiled the Panther season opener and improved to 2-0 on the season.
It was also the home opener for Kaynor Tech.
Brookfield 49, Wilby 11: It was a rough outing for the Wildcats on the road against the Bobcats.
Wilby is 0-2 on the season.
East Catholic 44, Bristol Central 35: The Rams took a road trip to Manchester and came back home with their second loss of the season.
Bristol Central fell to 0-2.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Rashana Siders earns Rookie of the Week

Siders (AIC athletics)
Rashana Siders, American International College basketball
Siders had a homecoming when she went to Waterbury to play with the Yellowjackets against the Post Eagles.
Siders, playing not far from where she starred in high school at Holy Cross, scored 14 points against Post. That effort helped Siders earn Spalding Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week honors.
All Siders did during the week was average 10.3 points and a steal per game. She shot 45.8 percent from the field overall, but an even better 50 percent from three-point land while coming off the AIC bench. The 14 points Siders had against Post is a career-high for the freshman.
Siders has played in all 12 games for the Yellowjackets, averaging 15.9 minutes. She is shooting 87.5 percent from the foul line (7-of-8) and 37.2 from three-point range (16-of-43). The 16 3s that Siders has made leads the team.

Seymore (A&M Commerce athletics)
Trey Seymore, Texas A&M University-Commerce basketball
Seymore is fitting in just fine with his new team.
He has played in all 10 games, making eight starts and averaging a team-high 30.8 minutes. Seymore is leading the team in assists with 33 (3.9 per game) and is second in scoring (16 per game) and rebounds (59, 5.9/game).
Seymore has scored 20 or more points three times with a career-high of 21 against Oklahoma Christian in the season opener. He has scored in double digits in all but one game.
Seymore, a transfer from Coppin State, was a standout at Kennedy High School. He is a senior at A&M Commerce.

Tre'Von Perry, Western Connecticut State University basketball
Perry (WCSU athletics)

Speaking of former Waterbury standouts, it's difficult to find a player as consistent as this Holy Cross graduate.
All Perry has done in nine games, all starts, is average nearly a double-double. Perry is at 13.1 points per game (third on the team), 8.3 rebounds (first), 2.1 blocks (first), field goal percentage at 59.1 (first), and 29.2 minutes (fourth).
Perry has scored in double figures in seven of nine games, with a high of 20 points against Southern Maine. He completed a double-double in that game with 18 rebounds, also a season-high. 
In the next game against Worcester State, Perry had a season-high six blocks. He also had four blocks in a game against Pine Manor.
In another game against Dean, Perry had 12 rebounds.
Perry, a senior, has been one of WCSU's best players.

Sanchez (North Country athletics)
Sydney Craig, North Country Community College basketball
The former Kaynor Tech player is doing well in her second season at the New York school.
Craig has played in 10 games, all starts, and is second on the team in scoring at 10.8 points. Craig is also second in assists (3.9 per game) and steals (2.0/game).
Craig is shooting 41.3 percent from the floor (38-of-92).
Craig, a sophomore guard, is majoring in Criminal Justice. She was named team captain before the season.
Head coach Jerrad Dumont said this about Craig before the season: "She works hard and never questions anything."
That's what a coach wants in a team leader, and that's what Craig provides.

Sanchez (SCSU athletics)
Ramiro Sanchez, Southern Connecticut State University
indoor track and field

The Bristol Eastern graduate competes for the Owls in field events.
The sophomore took part in the Yale Season Opener last Saturday at Yale University. Sanchez took seventh place in the triple jump and 12th in the long jump.
In the Elm City Challenge on Dec. 3, Sanchez took seventh place in the high jump with a personal-best effort of 13.23 meters (@43.4 feet).
Sanchez plans to major in athletic training, according to his bio on the team's website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WRESTLING: Bristol Eastern claims lone local win on opening night

The eighth-ranked Bristol Eastern wrestling team was the only local squad to win on opening night Wednesday.
The Lancers traveled to South Windsor and defeated the host Bobcats 50-30.
Senior Anthony Lozier, junior Mikey Barrett, sophomore Trinidad Gonzalez and sophomore Noah Piazza all claimed pins for Bristol Eastern. Juniors Jordon Champagne and Noah Corliss also picked up wins for the Lancers.
Bristol Eastern's next event is the CJ McCormack Invitational on Saturday at Berlin High School.
East Hartford 54, Bristol Central 25: Sophomore Mason Hale offered up the best effort for the Rams in a road loss to the Hornets.
Bristol Central is scheduled to wrestle again on Saturday in the Plainville Invitational at Plainville High School.
Ellis Tech 66, St. Paul 9: It wasn't a pleasant night on the road for the Falcons.
The lone wins came from Patrick George and Jordan Silva, according to The Bristol Press. George won via pin and Silva claimed victory via decision.
A new tri-op in the area: Holy Cross has joined forces with Thomaston and Litchfield to form a wrestling team.
Both Holy Cross and Thomaston have had issues with numbers in the past. Litchfield is a newcomer. The tri-op lost 56-6 to Gilbert on Wednesday night.
Michael Herschenfeld is listed as the tri-op's coach on the Thomaston version of the roster. The Holy Cross wrestlers are senior Phil Serva, juniors Grayson Henderson and Albert Nieves, and sophomore Nick Pietrorazio. 
The tri-op is scheduled to wrestle again on Saturday at the Pomperaug Invitational.

Dan Mulrooney named head football coach at Anna Maria College

The image Anna Maria College athletics posted with today's
announcement about Dan Mulrooney becoming head coach.
The Anna Maria College football program has a new leader, and his name is certainly familiar to area NVL teams.
Dan Mulrooney, a former standout player on both sides of the ball for Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, takes over the reins of the AMCATS. Mulrooney was announced as head coach of Anna Maria by the school on Wednesday morning in a press release on the athletics website.
Mulrooney was defensive coordinator for Worcester Polytechnic Institute for the past three seasons. This will be his first head coaching job.
"I am an enthusiastic, dedicated, hardworking coach who strives to develop student-athletes to reach their maximum potential," Mulrooney said in the release. "The team will only be as good as the culture that is created since day one."
Athletic director Serge DeBari is impressed by Mulrooney, who holds a communications degree from Boston College and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Stony Brook. Mulrooney played at both schools.
"He is a hardworking football coach with a great attitude looking for an opportunity to develop high character student-athletes on [and] off the field," DeBari. "I believe Mulrooney has a great deal of experience and knowledge to bring to the football program; I look forward to working with him in developing and growing the Anna Maria College football team."
Mulrooney and his staff will have some work to do with the AMCATS. Anna Maria was just 1-9 this past season, and a whole bunch of those losses were by double digits.
Mulrooney is no stranger to success, at both the high school and collegiate levels.
In high school, Mulrooney helped Holy Cross win two state championships while earning all-state honors twice. He got a full ride to Boston College, and the Eagles made four bowl games and two ACC Championship game appearances during that time. Mulrooney had eligibility remaining when he went to Stony Brook, and all the Seawolves did was win a pair of Big South titles and reach the NCAA Playoffs.
At WPI, Mulrooney and the Engineers made an ECAC bowl game for the third time in its 126-year history.
Mulrooney hopes to continue having success in football, only this time it will be in the lead role of a college program.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

GIRLS HOOP: Holy Cross begins with blowout win

Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central girls basketball each opened their seasons with losses on Monday night.
For everyone else in the area sans Kaynor Tech, the season tipped off on Tuesday night.
Coming away with victories were Holy Cross, Kennedy, St. Paul, Sacred Heart and Wolcott.

We'll start with the defending NVL Tournament champion:
Holy Cross girls basketball lost a lot to graduation.
Gone are Rashana Siders, who was league player of the week at AIC. Caitlin Cipriano is also playing in college. Cipriano and Kaitlyn Grimshaw provided some good interior play, but both are gone.
Also not playing until at least the 2017 portion of the season is Century McCartney, a talented junior rehabbing from knee surgery.
So what did this Holy Cross team have in store for Watertown, which lost dominant post player Abby Collier to graduation?
More of the same Crusader basketball, that's what. Holy Cross ran away from Watertown for a 65-33 victory inside McDonald Gymnasium, also known as The Pit.
Holy Cross led 25-14 after what was a foul-laden first half, according to Joe Palladino of The Zone (Waterbury Rep-Am). The Crusaders used a 27-7 outburst in the third quarter to pull away.
Kennedy 47, Ansonia 32: The Eagles opened up what they hope to be another big season with a win over the Chargers at home.
St. Paul 57, Waterbury Career Academy 27: The Falcons didn't make life easy for the Spartans in their first NVL game.
St. Paul won easily behind the efforts of Brigid Johndrow, who had 11 rebounds and 10 assists to go along with four points. Those numbers were reported to the Hartford Courant.
Sacred Heart 42, Naugatuck 22: The Hearts put together a good defensive effort in a home win over the Greyhounds at Alumni Hall.
Wolcott 56, Wilby 15: The Eagles, who have a lot returning to their roster, opened with a blowout win at home over the Wildcats.
Oxford 53, Crosby 43: The young Bulldogs lost on the road to begin their season.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

GIRLS CITY JAMBOREE: Plenty of good hoops at Crosby on Saturday

I took in the first three quarters of Saturday's girls basketball city jamboree at Crosby High School, and I was pretty impressed by the level of play I saw.
Idalis Miranda (front) and company showed the man-to-man pressure that has been
the trademark of Holy Cross defenses under Frank Lombardo.
If you are a Naugatuck Valley League team outside of the city, bring your A+ effort every time you play Holy Cross, Kennedy, Sacred Heart, Crosby and even Waterbury Career Academy. Those teams all have something to offer. 
Wilby beat WCA in the semifinals (the Wildcats had a bye because there were seven teams -- no Chase Collegiate) before getting thumped by Holy Cross in the final. It has been a rough go of it for the Wildcats, but they were able to get past the Spartans on Saturday.
Kaynor Tech has some talent and could be a tough matchup for opponents in the Constitution State Conference.
Some observations:
  • Holy Cross will again defend from the second an opponent steps on the floor. That much is known. What's unknown is if/when junior Century McCartney will return from knee surgery (She was in street clothes Saturday). Juniors Aiyana Ward and Meah Austin stepped up inside, and senior Idalis Miranda knocked down some shots from the outside.
  • Sacred Heart was down 13-5 at one point to Holy Cross in the first quarter, yet pulled to within 13-10. The Hearts were also within 17-13 before falling 20-13. Aamya Rivera, a diminutive yet feisty freshman, will be a handful this season. Rivera has no fear, whether it's breaking pressure or going to the basket, and she's quick.
  • Kennedy has some solid players again this year, led by senior captain Raegon Shirling-Davis. She seemed to be all over the floor against Kaynor Tech. Joyce Benton is another senior captain, and there's sophomore Shyan Perez to keep an eye on from three. As usual, the Eagles play solid defense.
  • Kaynor Tech played hard against Kennedy and lost 12-9. The Panthers have seniors like Egypt Santos and Cassie Couture, but they also got contributions from sophomore Sarah Wisniewski on Saturday.
  • Don't leave Waterbury Career's Armani Weaver open. She hit two threes early in the quarter against Crosby, then made the game-winning trey in the final seconds for a 19-17 victory. The Spartans also got good minutes from junior Alyssah Chouinard and sophomore Dianne Samaroo.
  • Crosby, a young team with one senior on its jamboree roster, showed some serious guts in its matchup with WCA. The Bulldogs were down eight points, but rallied to take a 17-16 lead on Leyda Colon's foul shot. Joe Palladino reported that Crosby lost its potential top scorer to a knee injury, but the Bulldogs showed grit on Saturday. 
 The boys jamboree is next weekend, also at Crosby. Looking forward to seeing some of that action. Should be fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Kevin Love posts double-double in WCSU men's hoop loss

Love (WCSU athletics)
Kevin Love, Western Connecticut State University basketball
Former Bristol Eastern player Kevin Love seems to be fitting in just fine with his new college.
Love, who transferred to Western Connecticut State University, posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in a 93-90 home loss to UMass-Boston. Love played 29 minutes, blocked two shots, dished out an assist and picked up a steal.
Love has played in all seven games for the Colonials, including one start. He's averaging 22.9 minutes per game. Love has put up an average of 9.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.
Love began his collegiate basketball career at Lyndon State College in Vermont.

Hylan (Sacred Heart athletics)
Kim Hylan, Sacred Heart University swimming and diving
Hylan was a special swimmer at St. Paul Catholic High School, and she is now competing for a Division I team in Fairfield.
Sacred Heart finished third in the ECAC Winter Championship, and Hylan played a part in it. On the final day of the three-competition, Hylan helped the Pioneer 400-yard freestyle relay take third place. She also finished seventh in the 500 freestyle with a lifestyle best swim time.
Hylan finished third individually in the 200 breaststroke, and she helped Sacred Heart to third place finishes in the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. Hylan also took an eighth place finish in the backstroke.  

Karissa Smith, Western Connecticut State University volleyball
Smith (WCSU athletics)

This fall, Smith concluded a fantastic career with a strong senior season.
The former Bristol Eastern star is not just an athlete though. Smith is a well-rounded student-athlete.
Here's proof: Smith was just named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team. Smith, a psychology major with a 4.0 GPA, was chosen for the team by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She was also chosen for the CoSIDA Academic All-District squad.
As for her senior season, Smith had 443 kills and 375 digs. Smith was named First Team All-Conference in the Little East after WCSU put together a solid regular season. The Colonials did see their LEC Tournament run end in the semifinals, but that doesn't take away from the season, and career, that Smith had. And that was both on, and off, the court.

Nelson (WNEU athletics)
Josh Nelson, Western New England University wrestling
A former grappler at Bristol Central, Nelson is in his sophomore season with the Golden Bears of WNEU.
Josh Nelson won a tough 9-6 decision over Sam Lindblom in a dual meet against Rhode Island College on Dec. 2 on the road. Nelson was one of four WNEU wrestlers to post a win in his team's 22-15 loss to RIC.
After a tough start to the season, Nelson picked up a win while competing in Springfield College's Doug Parker Invitational on Nov. 19.
Nelson is majoring in Criminal Justice. 

Kiera O'Donnell, Assumption College basketball
O'Donnell (Assumption athletics)

This former Holy Cross star has started seven of eight games to begin her junior season with the Greyhounds.
O'Donnell is averaging 27.4 minutes per game and 7.3 points. She is second on the team in rebounding at 6.6 per game and is also averaging 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks.
O'Donnell had a season-high 12 points, plus five rebounds, in a 76-65 loss at Bentley. At the time, Bentley was the top-ranked team in the WBCA Division II Top 25. Bentley won the 2014 Division II NCAA national championship.
O'Donnell's top rebounding effort is nine, which she has done twice. She's also had eight rebounds in two different games.
O'Donnell is majoring in Human Services and Rehabilitation Services.

Statistics compiled from the websites of each athlete's school.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CT Passion product Trillo now an Arizona Wildcat

During his high school years, Tyler Trillo flourished at Terryville.
Trillo (University of Arizona athletics)

When not at Terryville, Trillo honed his skills with the Bristol-based Connecticut Passion AAU program. All the hard work Trillo put in helped him walk on at the Division I University of Arizona. 
There have been several injury issues with the Wildcats this season, and that has given Trillo the chance to play.
Trillo played 13 minutes in Arizona's 79-57 home win over the University of California at Irvine on Tuesday night. He only took one shot and missed it. Trillo did dish out two assists, and he also earned praise from head coach Sean Miller.
"He did a really good job," Miller said in the postgame interview. "He takes care of the ball. Tonight he had zero turnovers in 13 minutes...he knows his role and he is out there for the right reasons."
Miller went as far as calling Trillo his eighth man. That's pretty amazing for a guy who comes from Terryville.
Trillo played in his first game on Nov. 18, ironically against Sacred Heart University from Fairfield. Trillo missed his only shot, but also recorded the first two assists of his career. Trillo has four assists and no turnovers in three games played this season.
Before going out to Tucson, Trillo played his freshman season at Division III Roger Williams in Rhode Island.
How does Brendan Phelps, Connecticut Passion founder and St. Paul associate boys basketball coach, feel about Trillo? Just read the following:
"Peep my guy @TylerTrillo making waves out west!" Phelps wrote in a Twitter post.
Phelps always spoke highly of Trillo when I talked with him in my time as a sports reporter. Now Trillo is having an impact at the Division I level of college basketball. Trillo spent plenty of time with the Passion in St. Paul's gymnasium, but now he plays in front of thousands of people in the McKale Center on the campus of the University of Arizona.
It's a pretty amazing story, and it'll be a neat one to follow.