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.

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