Saturday, December 30, 2017

A LOOK AT LOCAL HOOPS: Four local girls teams sit at 5-1

The St. Paul, Sacred Heart, Crosby and Holy Cross girls basketball teams all have something in common after the first six games of this season.
Each of those four teams has posted a record of 5-1.
St. Paul took part in a holiday tournament -- one of many throughout the state -- in Fairfield and played against both public high schools, Warde and Ludlowe. The Falcons lost to Warde, but beat Ludlowe to improve to 5-1. Janessa Gonzalez and Aidrianna Lopez led the way in both games. Gonzalez made the all-tournament team after tallying a total of 37 points in two games. Lopez had eight rebounds in the Warde game, then posted 11 rebounds against Ludlowe.
Sacred Heart topped fellow city school Kaynor Tech 50-22 on Saturday at home to get to 5-1. The one Heart loss was by five points at St. Paul on Dec. 21. Sacred Heart has won two straight games since that loss. Aamya Rivera, Hayley Tucker and Treasure Coleman have paced the Hearts of late.
Crosby has already mastered the art of the close win, with three of its five coming by four points or less. The Bulldogs have won four straight games, including victories of 45-41 over Torrington, 47-43 over Seymour and 33-30 over Oxford. Tiahna Pulliam-Bishop has been the top scorer, though she's had help from Gina Vergeli, Erica Soares and Shyan Perez at some point during the win streak. Crosby won against Seymour on the road in overtime.
Holy Cross is on a three-game winning streak after a lopsided loss to Mercy. The Crusaders have been bolstered in the middle by the play of Aiyana Ward and Meah Austin. When one leads in scoring, the other leads in rebounds, and a double-double is practically expected for each of them. Allie Brown dished out eight assists in the most recent victory, 55-41 over Lauralton Hall on Friday.
Ignore the current record of Kaynor Tech, which is 2-6. The Panthers won the tech school holiday tournament for the third straight season by claiming wins over Abbott Tech on Wednesday and Goodwin Tech on Friday. Sarah Wisniewski has been a standout player for Kaynor Tech, and she was tournament MVP. Maggie DeSantis had strong contributions in both games for the Panthers.

Waterbury Career Academy and Holy Cross are both 3-0, and each side has done it with some solid play.
The Spartans blew out Oxford to open the season, then held a high-scoring Torrington side to 63 points in a 16-point home win. WCA passed its first road test of the season with an 86-68 victory over Seymour on Wednesday. Marquan Watson has been a double-double machine. Strong efforts have also come from Jadan Battle, Matt Torres, Chad McKoy and Langstun Racine.
The Crusaders turned an expected showdown at Seymour into a 93-62 victory in the season opener. Holy Cross' offense scorched the home nets in a 106-49 home opener against Derby. Wednesday's game at Naugatuck was much closer, but the Crusaders took a 69-62 victory. Sacred Heart transfer Mikey West has scored in bunches, but with plenty of help from Nyzair Rountree, DeAndre Wallace, Jack Greene and Kyle Moser.
Bristol Eastern improved to 3-1 on Saturday with a 57-50 home win over Platt. The Lancers also own victories over RHAM and Berlin. Eastern led much of the way in its lone loss against Watertown, but couldn't hang on. The Lancers have reached 3-1 with a balanced attack.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Wright, Heron make city proud

Wright (Temple athletics)
The Brass City has to be awfully proud of the efforts displayed by two former Waterbury athletes over the past week.
It took Temple time to get on the scoreboard against FIU on Dec. 21 in the Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, but once it did, Isaiah Wright found the end zone. The Owls led 14-3 midway through the fourth quarter when Wright hauled in a pass over the middle from Frank Nutile and blew past all comers for a 45-yard touchdown to open the game up.
Wright finished the game with five catches for 73 yards and the touchdown. His receptions and yards in the game were second only to Keith Kirkwood.
For the season, Wright accounted for 872 yards of offense and five touchdowns. Oh yeah, and he ran a kick back for a touchdown against Cincinnati.
Here's a scary thought for opposing defenses and special teams units...Wright will be a junior next year. He still has two years left to terrorize opponents.
Heron (Auburn athletics)
Two days later, former city star Mustapha Heron tied for the Auburn lead in points with 13 as the Tigers smoked UConn by a score of 89-64. The teams were tied at 7 early, but a 16-0 Auburn run turned the game into a rout. Heron also had seven rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
Teammate Horace Spencer was asked how Heron must have felt after the game and had this to say:
"You know Mustapha is from Connecticut. For us to beat UConn twice in back-to-back years probably resonates with him. He can hold his head up high in his city. He can go home and feel good about himself."
Heron, always looking to improve, would have liked to have shot better against UConn (5-for-15 overall), but Auburn came out with the win and got to 11-1 for the first time since 1999-2000. Heron has played in 11 of the team's 12 games, starting all 11. He leads the Tigers in points per game at 15.6.

Logan Marchi transferring from Temple
Marchi (Temple athletics)

It was a big news day for the signal caller on Wednesday. Marchi announced on Twitter that he is transferring out of Temple.

Here's the full statement from Marchi, posted on his Twitter account:
"I want to thank my family first and foremost for the love and support they have always shown. I would like to thank Temple University for everything they have done for me during my time at this wonderful institution. I would like to thank my teammates, coaches, and all staff affiliated with Temple Football for all they have done. I have decided I will be transferring from Temple University, I will be looking for a new home for the next two seasons and looking to enroll this spring. I wish nothing but the best for the future of my teammates, coaches, and the Temple Football program. Go Owls!"
Marchi started the first seven games for Temple in 2017 and completed 136 of 245 attempts for 1,658 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He hurt his foot, then watched junior Frank Nutile start the last six games and do well. Marchi told Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer that playing time was a factor in his decision to transfer. Marchi also told Narducci that he would like to play in the Football Championship Subdivision, which would allow him to play two more seasons instead of sitting one out at the same level. Here's the full story from Narducci.
Marchi was a standout quarterback at St. Paul, and he got off to a good start at Temple in his redshirt sophomore season. It just wasn't meant to be, and hopefully Marchi lands on his feet at a new destination soon.

Bendsten (Princeton athletics)
Chris Bendsten and Mike Bozzuto, Wolcott
Two former Eagle standouts are back home coaching this winter.
Bendsten and Bozzuto are volunteer coaches at Wolcott High School. Bendsten will do so in both indoor and outdoor track and field. Bozzuto is a volunteer coach in boys basketball.
Bozzuto (SCSU athletics)
Bendsten studied at Princeton University and competed in cross country and track and field. He was an individual Ivy League champion in cross country and in the 5,000 meters in outdoor. Bendsten made First Team All-Ivy twice in cross country and was a Second Team All-America in outdoor. Bendsten was a tremendous runner for Wolcott.
Bozzuto was All-State and All-NVL at Wolcott, and he helped the Eagles win the Brass Division in his senior year. He was an Honor Roll student while attending Southern Connecticut State University. In his senior season with the Owls, Bozzuto was a spot starter for three games when injuries took their toll on his team. In a game against LeMoyne, Bozzuto made all of his shots, from the field or at the foul line, and scored 10 points. Bozzuto started his career as a walk-on.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Friday, December 22, 2017

St. Paul girls take down Sacred Heart in battle of unbeatens

Janeesa Gonzalez (11) had 24 big points and 10 rebounds for St. Paul in its 45-40 win
over Sacred Heart in a battle of unbeatens Thursday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
In a game between two 3-0 teams that featured a whole bunch of foul shots, St. Paul girls basketball outlasted Sacred Heart 45-40 on Thursday night on Maltby Street in Bristol.
The Falcons had 22 made free throws, and game-high scorer Janessa Gonzalez connected for 11 of them on her way to 24 points. Gonzalez also had 10 rebounds. Jade Udoh had a big impact on the boards and defense with eight rebounds and four blocks. 
Aamya Rivera and Mikayla Mobley had 12 points and two 3-pointers each for the Hearts.
St. Paul jumped up to a 14-4 lead after one quarter, but Sacred Heart closed to within 22-21 by halftime. The Hearts led 31-30 after three quarters, but the Falcons outscored the visitors 15-9 in the fourth to win.

Marquan Watson was again a monster for Waterbury Career Academy, posting 25 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks in his team's 79-63 win over Torrington. 

Speaking of double-doubles, Aiyana Ward had 20 points and 24 rebounds in a 65-33 Holy Cross blowout of Derby.

There were double-doubles a plenty in NVL boys basketball. Markeese Days went for 21 points and 11 rebounds while Kerwin Prince had 12 and 11 for Crosby in a 95-40 victory over Ansonia.
Jeremy Acosta tallied 15 points and 13 rebounds while Jaquane Jones chipped in 13 and 10 in Kennedy's 75-49 win over Watertown.
Holy Cross rolled 106-49 over Derby, and there were double-doubles from DeAndre Wallace, Jack Greene and Mickey West. Wallace had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Greene put together 12 of each. West led the Crusaders with 26 points and had 10 assists.

Here are some other big point totals from Thursday:

Akili Evans had seven 3-pointers and 23 total points for Holy Cross in the Derby win.

Raheem Solomon went off for 31 points in an 80-53 Sacred Heart victory over St. Paul. Isiah Gaiter and Connor Tierney both connected for 20 points. Tyler Arbuckle led the Falcons with 19 points.

Wilby's Christian Harris had 27 points Thursday, including two of the
spectacular variety on this layup. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Christian Harris poured in 27 points for Wilby before fouling out late in the 78-73 loss to Naugatuck (NOTE: Greyhound junior Jean Lukau had 41 points, including 31 in the first half). Here are my photos from early on at Wilby on Thursday night.

Sarah Wisniewski had 25 points and five steals for Kaynor Tech in its 56-44 loss to Woodland.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Guilmette, Curtin part of nationally-recognized CCSU baseball team

Guilmette (CCSU athletics)
The Central Connecticut State University baseball team received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season Fab 40 poll for 2018 released on Tuesday.
There are two locals who will play a big role in the success of the Blue Devils in 2018. Former Bristol Central standout Mitch Guilmette will be a senior and one of CCSU's most consistent hitters. Guilmette led the Blue Devils with a .331 batting average and earned All-NEC honors. He also had a good summer with a .374 batting average while playing for the Bristol Blues of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Guilmette didn't have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, but he still had a solid summer.
Curtin (CCSU athletics)
Former Bristol Eastern right-hander Tom Curtin hopes to translate a great 2017 summer with the Bristol Blues into a strong junior season in 2018. Curtin led the FCBL with 12 saves. In his sophomore season with CCSU, he tied for fifth in victories with three.
Guilmette and Curtin played against each other as rivals at Muzzy Field in the Central-Eastern baseball rivalry. They became teammates with CCSU, then did it again with the Blues in 2017. Both hope to lead the Blue Devils to an even better season in 2018.

Raegon Shirling-Davis, Albertus Magnus College basketball
Shirling-Davis (Albertus Magnus)

Shirling-Davis was a leader at Kennedy High School, and she's off to a solid start in her first season with the Falcons.
She has played in all 10 games with five starts. Shirling-Davis is averaging 28.3 minutes and 4.8 points per game. She had a season-high eight points in each of her last two games before the Christmas break.
Shirling-Davis is tied for second in assists per game at 4.0, and she is also averaging a steal and a block per contest. She has played at least 35 minutes in each of the past five games, including all 40 twice.

Santos (UCAP athletics)
Egypt Santos, UConn Avery Point basketball
The former Kaynor Tech standout is off to a good start in her first season with the Huskies.
Santos has played in 14 games and is averaging just under 10 points per contest (9.9). She began her college career with a bang, scoring 18 points in each of her first two games. Santos has reached double digits in eight of the 14 games she has played in. She is averaging almost 10 points on a solid 44.8 field goal percentage.
Santos has also been solid on the boards and defense, averaging 10.3 rebounds and 1.86 steals per game. 

Sam Borecki, Central Connecticut State University indoor track and field
Borecki (CCSU athletics)

The senior from Holy Cross competed in the UConn MultiEvent Challenge, and he turned in a good fourth place finish.
Borecki charged his way into the top five on the second day of competition with great efforts in the pole vault, 60-meter hurdles and 1,000-meter run. His best performance came in the pole vault, where he took second place at 4.60 meters (15.09 feet).
Borecki ran the 60-meter hurdles in 9.20, then claimed a time of 2:52.29 in the 1,000-meter run.
Borecki was 10th after the first day of competition, then surged to the top five in the season-opening meet for CCSU indoor track and field. The meet was held at the Hugh Greer Field House.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Holy Cross boys make statement in season opener

Mickey West had 24 points in his Holy Cross debut. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Holy Cross boys basketball made a statement on opening night Tuesday with a 93-62 road win over Seymour.
The Wildcats are expected to be a dangerous team in the NVL, but it was all Crusaders in this one. Mickey West, a transfer from Sacred Heart, had a game-high 24 points in his Holy Cross debut. Nyzair Rountree had 16 points, DeAndre Wallace added 15, Akili Evans scored 13 and Kyle Moser added 10 for the Crusaders.
Sacred Heart 95, Wolcott 59: The Hearts dominated the Eagles after the first quarter in the only opener between local teams.
Raheem Solomon and Isiah Gaiter went over 20 points, Solomon with 29 and Gaiter with 26. Connor Tierney tallied nine points in his debut.
Elmin Redzepagic and Jack Drewry each scored 11 points for Wolcott.
St. Paul 64, Woodland 44: The Falcons used a 12-4 first quarter to kickstart a win over the Hawks.
Tyler Arbuckle led the way with 17 points while Mike Palmieri added 15 points. Each player knocked down three 3-pointers. Matt Garry had a nice double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
WCA 82, Oxford 46: Marquan Watson and Matt Torres each went over 20 points in a Spartan blowout.
Watson had 22 points and Torres canned four 3-pointers on the way to 21 points. Jadan Battle chipped in 13 points for WCA.
Wilby 89, Derby 76: The high-powered Wildcats claimed a road win and had four players in double figures.
Christian Harris led the way with 22 points, and he was joined by Tyqway Harding (16), Calvin Hicks (14) and Damien Wade (12).
Torrington 82, Crosby 74: The Bulldogs won the three-point battle 13-11, but lost the game on the road to the Raiders.
Ivan Craig put together 19 points, including a team-high tying five 3-pointers. Justin Davis connected on five 3s and had 17 points. Markeese Days had 14 points, Kerwin Prince added 11, and Tyler Spears added 10, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Naugatuck 59, Kennedy 51: Josiah Parilla (15) and Marquise Blagmon (12) were in double figures for the Eagles in a road loss to the Greyhounds.
New Canaan 79, Kaynor Tech 57: Aaron Stewart led the Panthers with 26 points while Darren Guerrera added 14.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bristol Central boys basketball to honor "Captain Connor" on Friday night

Connor Albert touched many lives in the City of Bristol.
Bone cancer cut Connor's life short at the way-too-young age of 10, but the impact that "Captain Connor" had on people throughout the Mum City is still felt.
Bristol Central and the boys basketball team will honor the memory of Connor Albert in their own special way on Friday night. The Rams have a home game at 6:45 p.m. against Maloney, and they're calling it "CONNOR STRONG SUPERHERO NIGHT." "Connor Strong" was the slogan adopted by those that loved and supported Connor, including the students and faculty at the nearby South Side School that he attended.
Students who dress up as their favorite superhero get in free, and they will honor the memory of a great kid in the process. Regular tickets for adults are $5, and students without costumes will be charged $2. Connor's favorite superhero was Captain America.
At halftime, a 50/50 raffle will be drawn, and the proceeds will go to the Albert family.
There were Bristol Central students who became close to Connor, and that was evident in social media posts after he passed away.
On Friday night, expect to see a lot of costumes inside the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium.

Hickey, Aiello make Walter Camp All-Connecticut teams

Seniors Dathan Hickey of Bristol Central and Dom Aiello of St. Paul have again received all-state honors for their efforts on the football field.
Both were selected for Walter Camp Foundation all-state teams. Hickey was taken for First Team Walter Camp All-Connecticut as a defensive back. Aiello was chosen for Second Team Walter Camp All-Connecticut as a center on the offensive line.
Both will be honored at the 11th High School "Breakfast of Champions" on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8:30 a.m. at The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.
For a complete list of the all-state selections and the Walter Camp weekend festivities, go to their website.

Local boys basketball starts tonight

Most area boys basketball teams begin their regular seasons tonight.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Ready for some high school boys basketball?
Well, there's plenty of it coming tonight as nearly all local teams are in action for the first time. Here's the schedule:

  • New Canaan at Kaynor Tech, 7 p.m.
  • Wilby at Derby, 7
  • Kennedy at Naugatuck, 7
  • Holy Cross at Seymour, 7
  • Woodland at St. Paul, 7
  • Crosby at Torrington, 7
  • Oxford at WCA, 7
  • Sacred Heart-Wolcott, 7
As noted above, the lone game with two locals playing each other is Sacred Heart at Wolcott. 
Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central have already played their season openers. The Lancers won on Saturday while the Rams lost. Eastern is at Berlin tonight while Central goes to Middletown. Both of those games are scheduled to top off at 6:45 p.m.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bristol Eastern wrestling upends powerful Mt. Anthony, wins McCormick tourney in Berlin

What could the Bristol Eastern wrestling team do for an encore after winning its season opener against Southington at home?
Well, try taking down one of New England's most storied programs.
Bristol Eastern had nine finalists at Berlin's C.J. McCormick Memorial Tournament on Saturday, and three won their championship matches. The Lancers used that success to edge out Mt. Anthony by a team score of 227-22. Mt. Anthony had won the tournament five straight times.
Bryce Beebe (106 pounds), Jordon Champagne (113) and Mikey Barrett (160) were the individual champions for Eastern.
Mahaffy wins for Bristol Central: Damian Mahaffy was the 170 champion for the Rams at the annual Plainville Invitational. Mason Hale was second at 132. Jason Feto (126), Joey Frechette (138), Caleb Buden (152) and Jakob Salinas (195) all claimed third place finishes for Central. Jacob Aldi (106) and Adam Ward (120) both took fourth place.

Bristol Eastern opens with a bang: The Lancers hammered visiting RHAM 59-35 at home in the season opener for both sides.
Carter Dziedzic went off for 22 points and eight rebounds to lead Bristol Eastern, according to tweets from Lancer stats guru Michael Letendre. Dziedzic wasn't the only Eastern player to have a good day.
Nate Silva went for a career-high 15 points, while Mac Goulet had career-bests of six points, nine rebounds and four assists. Camryn Tate and Tyler Mason also contributed to the Lancer effort.
Jaekwon Spencer had 18 points for Bristol Central in a 50-37 loss to Manchester at home.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Solomon, but plenty of Gaiter for Sacred Heart in jamboree victory

WCA's Marquan Watson takes the ball strong to the basketball. Sacred Heart's Connor Tierney
challenges Watson's shot. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Sacred Heart senior standout Raheem Solomon was sidelined at Saturday's Waterbury boys basketball jamboree with a sore hip following the removal of a cyst.
The Hearts still won the jamboree, and they did it with a lot of fellow senior Isiah Gaiter. Gaiter led all scorers with 31 points, including 13 in the 27-16 championship quarter victory over Waterbury Career Academy. Gaiter handled the ball, scored the ball, and was all over the court for Sacred Heart.
A surprise for the Hearts was freshman Caleb Sampson. He didn't put up huge numbers, but had just a good all-around day overall. Sampson was impressive with his quickness, and he had five points in a 21-15 championship semifinal victory over Holy Cross.
Sacred Heart beat Crosby, Holy Cross and WCA to win the jamboree. The Hearts got solid contributions from the likes of Zack Francisco and Fran Barton.
The Spartans, led by 21 total points from standout Marquan Watson, thumped Kennedy and fought their way past a game Wilby squad to reach the championship quarter. Watson became a force in the final two quarters, including 12 points in the championship final.
The most shocking few minutes of the day belonged to the WCA-Kennedy opening quarter. The Spartans trailed 9-4 after the first few minutes, then erupted for a 27-0 run against the Eagles and won going away, 31-10. 
WCA got solid efforts from Jadan Battle, Chad McKoy, Matt Torres and Jessah Doctor.
Solomon wasn't the only player missing in action. Marcellus Gomes of Holy Cross and Lashawn Smith of Kennedy were both out due to injury.
Freshman Connor Tierney made his jamboree debut for Sacred Heart. He was out-muscled at times under the hoop, but showed good passing and a soft touch.
One team that may be much better than originally thought is Wilby. The Wildcats have a slew of guards that can score the ball and stick to opposing players like gnats on defense. Wilby is very quick, and its full-court pressure defense is bound to create plenty of havoc. On offense, Christian Harris is a handful to deal with.
Holy Cross did miss Gomes, but showed what a problem its length will be. DeAndre Wallace was very active at times inside, and he tallied a bushel of blocked shots on defense. Wallace and Nyzair Rountree both showed their incredible athleticism at times during the jamboree.
Crosby has work to do, but head coach Nick Augelli talked about having interchangeable lineups. It will take time for the Bulldogs to get going, but they have a whole bunch of length and athleticism.
Kennedy received a strong effort from Joel Acosta and Jay Turner, a WCA transfer that will have to sit the first half of the season. 
Kaynor Tech will be led by Aaron Stewart, who put in good efforts during the jamboree.
As usual, Sacred Heart is the top team until someone knocks them off.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from Saturday's jamboree.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Hickey named one of CT's best football players by CHSCA

Bristol Central senior Dathan Hickey received a major honor from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
Hickey was one of 25 players chosen for the overall All-State team. Hickey had a monster senior season for the Rams, and he earned a major accolade for it.
There were also All-State class teams chosen, and two locals made it for offense in Class S. St. Paul senior standout Dom Aiello was chosen as a lineman and Holy Cross senior star DeAndre Wallace made it as a wide receiver.
In Class M, Wolcott junior Jake Filippone made the cut as a linebacker.

Fun day ahead Saturday at Waterbury boys hoop jamboree

Let's see, there's not one, not two, but three preseason Top 10 teams playing in Saturday's Waterbury boys basketball jamboree inside Wilby High School's Reggie O'Brien Gymnasium.
Sacred Heart is No. 2 in the GameTimeCT/Register Preseason Top 10. Holy Cross is No. 6, and Crosby is at No. 8. 
The Hearts, winners of four straight state championships, are well-known to all, though not all of the cast is familiar. Raheem Solomon is back from injury, and he will team with Isiah Gaiter to form a versatile, talented 1-2 punch. Sacred Heart is joined by newcomer Connor Tierney, a towering 6-foot-11 freshman from England. 
The Crusaders return a lengthy, experienced bunch, including seniors Ny'zair Rountree, DeAndre Wallace and Marcellus Gomes. There's also senior Kerson Etienne in the backcourt, and transfer Mikey West from Sacred Heart.
The Bulldogs lost two premier players to graduation, Jeremiah Kendall and Miguel Rivera. What does Crosby return? A whole bunch of tall, lengthy, interchangeable parts. Veteran head coach Nick Augelli has called his team a sleeper in the NVL. Yeah, right. The Bulldogs will be a pain, and a contender. They return J'Quan Ballard, Elijah Carter, Kerwin Prince, Markeese Days and Ivan Craig, just to name a few.
Sounds like a ton of fun, and that's just three of the teams that are competing.
Also intriguing is Waterbury Career Academy. Marquan Watson is being heralded as possibly the best player in the NVL. The Spartans are 19th in the preseason poll, and they also return Jadan Battle and Matt Torres in the backcourt.  
Still not convinced tomorrow will be fun? There's also Kennedy, which is ranked 32nd. The Eagles have a big presence inside, both in length and height, in senior Lashawn Smith. Kennedy did lose a whole bunch of talent to graduation, but voters still thought enough of them to put them in the others receiving votes category of the poll.
Wilby returns a pair of good guards in Christian Harris and Ty'Qwan Harding. Kaynor Tech plans to put together a bounceback season in the now Connecticut Technical Conference, according to a preview of the team on The Zone website.
It all begins at noon. Go pull up a bleacher seat and watch.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Defending Class L wrestling champion Lancers open with home win

Bristol Eastern wrestling, defending champion in Class L, didn't take it easy opening the season on Wednesday.
The Lancers hosted the Southington Blue Knights, a tough CCC foe, and came away with a hard-earned 43-22 victory. The dual meet was tied at 22, but Eastern won the last four matches to take the 21-point win. Ethan Mathieu won by decision at 220 pounds, then the Lancers swept the next three bouts.
Eastern is at the CJ McCormick Tournament in Berlin on Saturday.
Bristol Central began its season with a 48-28 loss to Farmington at home. Thomaston/Litchfield/Holy Cross hosted Gilbert in its opener, but no score has been reported.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Jon Mowatt and his brother perform heroic deed in NYC

Mowatt (WCSU athletics)
A majority of the time, HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK focuses on the athletic accomplishments of local college athletes.
This one, however, starts with not an Athlete of the Week or Rookie of the Week, but a hero. That hero is from Waterbury, went to Holy Cross, and his name is Jonathan Mowatt. Jonathan and older brother Joshua were waiting for the ferry to take them from Manhattan to Staten Island for Thanksgiving with extended family.
Instead, the Mowatts noticed a struggle occurring on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As it turned out, a man was trying to take his own life.
After hesitating for a second, the Mowatts sprung into action and kept an unknown stranger from committing suicide.
Jason Harlow, Jonathan's head coach on Western Connecticut State University's men's basketball team, wasn't surprised by what Jonathan did.
"Jon is a selfless individual," said Harlow, who was at one time the head coach at Litchfield High School in neighboring Litchfield County. "You would be hard-pressed to find someone saying anything negative about him. He is a wonderful young man who is always kind, courteous and respectful. He comes from a terrific family."
Jonathan and Joshua performed a selfless act, something to be admired and praised. Jonathan is a modest kid and didn't want credit for what happened. He did speak to Joe Palladino of the Waterbury Republican-American, and you can read that story on The Zone. Take the time to do so, it's a great read.
The days around Thanksgiving are times for families to get together. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Mowatts showed caring and compassion to a complete stranger and saved his life.

Trai Weaver, Anna Maria College football
Weaver (Anna Maria athletics)

The former Holy Cross standout got a chance to show what he could do in front of NFL and Canadian Football League scouts this past weekend.
Weaver participated in The National Bowl, a game focused on Division II and III football players that is played each year in Daytona Beach, Fla. The game, which was played at Bethune-Cookman University, finished up its fourth year and is an annual event. The National Bowl is a subsidiary of the FCS National Bowl, held for schools at that level.
Weaver was noticed in his time on the White team.
"Slot WR Trai Weaver (Anna Maria College) has the best hands on the White team @National_Bowl," read a Tweet from NFL Draft Blitz on Dec. 9. "He is also so smooth in and out of his breaks."
Weaver enjoyed his time, and posed for a photo with former Wilby standout Tyrell Zimmerman, which you can see on the Anna Maria football website.
"It was a great experience to play with players from so many schools around the country," Weaver said in a story on the AMCATS website. "It was privilege to play in front of so many scouts and represent Anna Maria College on a national stage."
Weaver had a tremendous senior season and would love to play professionally, but he is ready to go to law school after he graduates from Anna Maria. AMCATS head coach Dan Mulrooney, a former Holy Cross standout, heaped praise on Weaver.
"I am proud of Trai and all of his accolades as a player," Mulrooney said in the story. "Trai brought a work ethic every day that was infectious and I'm happy his hard work has been recognized. He left his signature on this program and it will last for years to come and sets the bar high for AMCAT football."

Brigid Johndrow, Utica College basketball
Johndrow (Utica athletics)

The freshman and former leader at St. Paul earned an Empire 8 Conference honor after a solid performance.
Johndrow made her seventh straight start in as many games, and she contributed four rebounds and a team-high three assists in a 67-55 loss to SUNY Poly on Dec. 9. For her effort, Johndrow was named Rookie of the Week by the conference.
Johndrow is averaging 19 minutes per game and scoring 2.1 points. She is fourth in rebounding (29) and assists (8). Her season-high for points is six against Misericordia on Dec. 2, and her top total for rebounds is also six, which came in her debut against SUNY Potsdam on Nov. 15. 
Johndrow is a Psychology-Child Life major.

Sands (Westfield State athletics)
Ty Sands, Westfield State basketball
Sands had an impact at both Crosby and Kennedy in Waterbury, and now he's doing it for the Owls.
The freshman guard was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week after strong performances. Sands averaged 14.3 points, seven rebounds and 2.7 assists in three games. 
He had a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds -- plus three assists -- in a 70-63 loss to sixth-ranked Williams College. Sands put together a statsheet-filling efforts against Western New England University, tallying 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 92-83 defeat. In his last game of the week, Sands put up 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in a 79-72 loss to Pine Manor College.

Kim Hylan, Sacred Heart University swimming and diving
Hylan (Sacred Heart athletics)

The sophomore and former St. Paul standout had a season-best effort in two events in the recent 2017 ECAC Winter Championship on Long Island.
The multi-day event was held at Nassau County Aquatics Center, a place Hylan hopes to revisit in February. The same facility will host the Northeast Conference championships.
Sacred Heart finished fifth as a team at the meet. As for Hylan, she took a seventh place finish in the 200-yard backstroke and helped the 400 freestyle relay A team to ninth place.
Hylan swam a 2:09.68, her top time of the year. In the 400 freestyle relay, Hylan started the race with a split of 54.59 seconds. That split was her best of the season.
Hylan won't have a chance to better those times until Jan. 13. That's when Sacred Heart returns to dual action, after the winter break.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

St. Paul, Holy Cross girls open with victories

Morgan Kolb and Jade Udoh helped St. Paul get a 64-37 win over WCA Tuesday.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
WCA girls basketball showed a whole bunch of energy at home in the first quarter of Tuesday night's season opener and had the lead against defending NVL champion St. Paul.
The Falcons grabbed a 12-11 advantage late in the opening eight minutes, then Janessa Gonzalez buried a buzzer-beating 3 from the left wing to put the road team up 15-11.
St. Paul outscored WCA 20-7 in the second quarter and rolled from there to a 64-37 victory. Gonzalez (11 points) was one of four Falcons in double figures. Morgan Kolb led all scorers with 18 points while Jade Udoh and Aidrianna Lopez tallied 10 points apiece. Armani Weaver paced WCA with 13 points.
Notes: She may not have scored a point, but St. Paul junior guard Emma Cretella helped switch the momentum of the game to her team in the second quarter. Cretella's hustle, strong defense, and good passing on offense led to a quick spurt for the Falcons, and Spartan head coach Stephen Barbieri wound up calling a timeout.
During that time, Udoh took over underneath the basket. She scored close to the hoop, and she also swatted a shot when a WCA player thought she had an open look. Udoh is tough to stop when she gets the ball in good position. Her basket in the final seconds of the first half put the Falcons ahead 35-18 at the break.
A beneficiary of a solid Cretella pass on a fast break was Kolb, who emerged as the leading scorer in the game.
Photos: Click here to see images from last night's game.

Holy Cross 56, Watertown 41: Aiyana Ward erupted for 29 points in a Crusader NVL road win over the Indians.
The duo of Ward and Meah Austin (14 points) outscored Watertown's team, 43-41. On the perimeter, Hannah Brown, Jasmine Thorpe and Julia Mecca each hit a 3-pointer to loosen the attention on Ward and Austin inside.

Crosby 57, Kaynor Tech 34: The Bulldogs were also victorious in their season opener, taking a non-conference win over the Panthers (0-2).
Tiahna Pulliam-Bishop led Crosby with 17 points while Erica Soares chipped in 12. Sarah Wisniewski led Kaynor with 20 points.

Wolcott 83, Wilby 23: Raven Cody led all area scorers with 30 points as the Eagles won easily. Morgan Kiely put in 12 points for Wolcott.

Sacred Heart 51, Naugatuck 23: Aamya Rivera led all scorers with 19 points, and she and Treasure Coleman combined for an astounding 15 steals for the Hearts.

Kennedy lost 40-32 to Ansonia on the road.

On Monday, Chase defeated Wooster 55-35. Maddie Patrick put together a monster double-double with 29 points and 13 rebounds.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Unusual start to season for Bristol Eastern girls basketball

The Bristol Eastern girls basketball team was scheduled to host Wethersfield in the season opener for both teams on Monday night.
Then a water main break happened. The water main break forced the game to be postponed. It will be made up on a date to be determined.
Instead of opening the season on Monday night, Eastern now waits until Thursday, when it plays a game at neighboring Plainville.
Two local teams were in action on Monday, and both were defeated. Bristol Central went down at home to Bulkeley by a score of 49-46. Kaynor Tech lost 52-25 at Joel Barlow. Sarah Wisniewski had 18 points for the Panthers in defeat.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

High school girls basketball season starts this week for area teams

The regular season begins for girls area high school basketball teams this week.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The first snowstorm of the season forced the cancellation of Waterbury's girls basketball jamboree on Saturday, but the regular season will begin this week.
So what's ahead for area teams? 
Defending NVL champion St. Paul would love to get back to where it finished in the league. The entire starting lineup graduated for the Falcons, but young standouts Janessa Gonzalez and Jade Udoh return. 
Also in the Mum City, Bristol Eastern lost standout Diana Wnuk, plus Jillian LeBeau and Miya Laprise, to graduation. Miranda Janick will be among the players Tony Floyd will count on to keep the Lancers on the winning track.
In Waterbury, Class L runner-up Holy Cross will need even bigger contributions from the likes of Aiyana Ward, Meah Austin, Devan Eason, Hannah Brown, Allie Brown and others after the departures of Century McCartney and Natalie Hodak. 
Wolcott brings back the leading scorer in the NVL in senior Raven Cody. The Eagles -- who also have seniors Alayna Greene, Sam Hickey, Jenna Hoban and Morgan Kiely -- could be in for a big season.
Class S semifinalist Sacred Heart has championship aspirations and a lightning backcourt of Aamya Rivera and Treasure Coleman. The Hearts return a whole bunch of experience from last season's run and could be very dangerous.
Waterbury Career Academy lost one senior from last season's CIAC roster, and that was a team that made the state tournament. This season could be even better for the Spartans.
Kennedy must deal with the graduation losses of Raegan Shirling-Davis and Joyce Benton. 
Kaynor Tech saw the graduation of Cassie Couture and Egypt Santos, so Brian Stasaitis will need others to step up and fill the gap. Stasaitis also has the extra role of head coach of the ABA's Springfield Sting.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Wright has delivered points in five different ways for Temple this season

Wright (Temple athletics)
Temple sophomore Isaiah Wright has done something this season that just five other Football Bowl Subdivision athletes have accomplished in the last 10 years.
Wright, a Waterbury native and standout at both Holy Cross and Kingswood Oxford, has scored points for the Owls in five different ways. He has rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown, returned a kickoff for a touchdown, run back a punt for a touchdown, and thrown for a two-point conversion., thrown for one, returned a kickoff for a score, and run back a punt for another.
Wright has caught three touchdowns and run for a touchdown. He has one kickoff return for a score and a punt return for another. Wright has also thrown for a two-point conversion. 
Wright was named special teams player of the week after the 35-24 win over Cincinnati. He ran back a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, then threw a two-point conversion pass to quarterback Frank Nutile on the next play. Wright finished the Cincinnati game with 154 all-purpose yards.
Wright and Temple will play Florida International University in the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Booker (Dean athletics)
Jordan Booker, Dean College basketball
Look up the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, and you will find this former Crosby Bulldog at the top of the list.
Booker, a sophomore, is averaging 16.1 points per game. His highest total was 29 in an 81-73 win at Bridgewater State on Saturday. Booker has hit double digits in points on five occasions, with the other totals being 19, 19, 18 and 13.
Booker is shooting 41.2 percent from the field, including a solid 41.9 percent at the three-point line. He is also hitting on 78.1 percent of his foul shots. Booker is 35-of-85 from the field and 18 of 43 on 3-pointers. He has made 25 of his 32 free throws.
Booker averages 31.4 minutes per game for Dean, which is 4-3 entering Thursday's game at Eastern Nazarene.

Miguel Rivera, Newbury College basketball
Rivera (Newbury athletics)

Speaking of Crosby, this freshman is off to a good start in his first season with the Nighthawks.
Rivera was named the New England Collegiate Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week. During the week ending Dec. 3, he averaged 16 points, two rebounds and six assists. Rivera had a then career-high 20 points in an 86-70 win at Rivier College on Nov. 28. He then scored 12 in an 84-71 loss to Tufts on Nov. 30.
As if Rivera hadn't done enough with his ROW honor, he tallied 30 points on Tuesday night in a 115-108 loss at Mount Ida College.
Rivera is averaging 16.1 points per game in 39.4 minutes. He is 29-of-67 from the field for 43.3 percent and a perfect 14-of-14 at the foul line.

Elder (SNHU athletics)
Ashley Elder, Southern New Hampshire University
indoor track and field

The junior from Bristol Central earned a spot on the Northeast-10 Conference honor roll after a solid performance in the season-opening meet.
Elder won two events at the Smith Winter Classic. She finished first in the weight throw, where she set a personal record of 14.48 meters, or 47.5 feet. Elder also took first in the shot put with another personal record of 12.80 meters, or 42 feet. Her effort in the shot put has already qualified her for the NEICAAA Championships.

Matt Finke, Mitchell College basketball
Finke (Mitchell athletics)

The sophomore from Wolcott played valuable minutes in a 97-94 loss at home against Western Connecticut State University on Tuesday.
Finke played 20 minutes and scored eight points. He was 2-of-3 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 at the foul line. Finke dished out five assists to just two turnovers and also grabbed two rebounds.
Finke has played in five of six games this season and is averaging 16 minutes per contest. He is a solid 9-of-11, or 81.8 percent, from the free throw line.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Bristol Central, Eastern players populate All-CCC Division II-West football team

Bristol Central's Justus Fitzpatrick (15), Dathan Hickey (3) and Darrell Payton (2)
all made the All-CCC Division II-West team. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
A whole bunch of Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern football players were chosen for the All-CCC's Division II-West football team.
The Rams who made the squad are: Devon Dawson, Adam Ewart, Justus Fitzpatrick, Michael Guzman, Dathan Hickey, Darrell Payton, Jacob Salinas and Gabe Updegraff. 
Dawson, Ewart, Guzman, Hickey and Updegraff were all seniors on a Central team that finished the season with a record of 7-3.
The following Lancers made the team: Zach Giblin, Trinidad Gonzalez, Ariza Kolloverja and Jaden Laprise. Kollverja was the lone senior chosen from an Eastern team that doubled its win total from the previous two seasons by going 2-8 in 2017.

All-NVL football teams

Wolcott senior Mike Polzella was one of two quarterback choices
for the All-NVL team. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The All-NVL football teams have been released, and not surprisingly there are a bunch of locals on those squads.
Wolcott senior quarterback Mike Polzella threw for 3,349 yards in 10 games and earned All-NVL accolades. Dangerous Holy Cross senior receiver DeAndre Wallace was also named All-NVL. St. Paul senior Dom Aiello was chosen for the offensive line, and Holy Cross junior Corey Fappiano was taken as the kicker/punter.
Six locals were chosen for the All-NVL defense. St. Paul senior Eric Langland, Crosby senior Bernardo Mbaya and Kennedy junior Marquis Blagmon were taken for the defensive line. At linebacker, there was Wolcott junior Nate Filippone and WCA sophomore Jalen Gopie. WCA senior Jaden Battle was chosen for the secondary.
The NVL also does all-division teams, and here's who made it from local squads:

QB- Alberim Klenja (Crosby), Alexandre Gonzalez (Wilby)
RB- Christian Calle (WCA), Tiron Ferris (Sacred Heart/Kaynor)
WR- Jake Desjardins (Kennedy), Davonte Howard (Crosby)
OL- Albert Nieves (Holy Cross), Robbie Guerin (SH/K), Sydney Asiedu (SH/K)
DL- Wyatt Brennan (Holy Cross), Cassius Arnold (Kennedy), Joe Altreche (Kennedy)
LB- Nedrion Payne (WCA), Alex Ward (Holy Cross), Dashaun Wilson (Wilby), Santos Lopez (Crosby)
DB- Qaron Brown (Holy Cross), Eli Nelson (Kennedy)
RB- Anthony Ligi (Wolcott)
OL- Logan Lussier (Wolcott)
RB- Damien Rabis (St. Paul)
LB- Chris Dionne (St. Paul)
DB- Kevin Ashworth (St. Paul)