Thursday, February 22, 2018

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Patterson, LeBeau part of two Top 5 relays for SCSU

Patterson (SCSU athletics)
For the second straight season, the Southern Connecticut State University men's indoor track and field team won a Northeast-10 championship.
Two area freshmen got to play a role in that title win. Terrell Patterson, a former standout at Kaynor Tech, and Christopher LeBeau, a top runner for Bristol Eastern, each ran in the same relay.
Patterson, LeBeau, Dan Perusina and Carlos Flores teamed up for a the 4x800-meter relay, and they finished fifth in a time of 8:08.05. The quartet earned four team points for the Owls.
LeBeau (SCSU athletics)
Patterson ran the first leg of the relay in 1:59.81. After Perusina ran the second leg, LeBeau took over for the third leg and finished it in 2:03.83. Flores completed the relay with his leg in a time of 2:05.60. The crazy part about the relay was that everyone in it is a freshman.
Patterson and LeBeau also took part in the distance medley, which finished fifth. Sophomore Justin Kelly and freshman Shawn Odei-Ntiri also took part in the relay, which finished in 10:21.08.
LeBeau also took part in the mile and he finished sixth in a time of 4:20.44.
The meet was held this past Saturday and Sunday at the Smith College Track and Tennis Center in Northampton, Mass.

Elder (SNHU athletics)

Ashley Elder, Southern New Hampshire University
indoor track and field

The former Bristol Central standout also participated in the Northeast-10 championship meet.
Elder, one of the best in the league in the shot put, took second with a throw of 44-02 feet. The winning toss from SCSU's Destiney Coward traveled 44-10.25. Elder finished just .21 meter behind Coward (13.46 to 13.67).
Elder earned eight points for SNHU. It was the seventh Top 5, and sixth Top 2, finish this year for the junior. She also competed in the weight throw and finished ninth.
SNHU finished eighth out of 12 teams.

Rodriguez (Wheelock athletics)
Dejuan Rodriguez, Wheelock College basketball
The Wildcats lost their first round New England Collegiate Conference playoff game 62-54 to Lesley, but Rodriguez did what he could to alter that outcome.
Rodriguez led all scorers with 21 points, and he pulled down 11 rebounds. The junior played all 40 minutes, shot 9-of-16 from the floor, and even made a 3-pointer. Rodriguez is Wheelock's tallest player at 6-foot-5. He also had one assist and two steals.
Rodriguez started 23 of the 24 games he played in and averaged 15.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in 29.9 minutes. He led the team in points per game and rebounds per contest. Rodriguez had games of 31, 30, 29 and 28 points. His top rebounding game was 15, followed by a pair of 13-board efforts.

Matt Finke, Mitchell College basketball
Finke (Mitchell athletics)

In another NECC playoff game, the Mariners defeated Elms College 70-49 at home, and Finke got a chance to show what he can do.
The sophomore reserve played 18 minutes and filled in many spots on the statsheet. Finke had four points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in his time on the floor. The former Wolcott standout shot 1-of-2 from the floor, missed his lone three-point attempt and knocked down both of his free throw opportunities.
Mitchell goes to Becker College for a semifinal game tonight at 7 o'clock.

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

Sacred Heart girls win first NVL title since 1976

Treasure Coleman (right) earned tournament MVP honors as Sacred Heart
won its first NVL Tournament championship, and its first league title since 1976.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2018 file)
A big first half helped fourth-seeded Sacred Heart capture its first NVL title since 1976 on Wednesday night at Kennedy's Jack Taglia Gymnasium.
The Hearts outscored the third-seeded Naugatuck Greyhounds by nine in the opening 16 minutes and held on for a 44-37 victory. Treasure Coleman had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six steals and was named tournament MVP. Backcourt mate Aamya Rivera added 12 points.
Sacred Heart improved to 18-5 with the win, and the girls were proud of bringing a championship to a program often overlooked because of the boys team.
The Hearts have more work ahead of them next week. The Class S state tournament begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. No. 6 Sacred Heart hosts No. 27 Ellis Tech.
Sacred Heart can celebrate its title now, but the focus will need to quickly turn to the state tournament.
Go to The Zone to get a full story on the game from Jason Levy, along with video from Joe Palladino. Some good stuff there, so enjoy it!

Mike Palmieri gets his 1,000th point in close St. Paul loss to WCA

St. Paul senior standout Mike Palmieri needed 20 points Tuesday night against WCA to reach 1,000 for his career.
Palmieri got those 20 points, plus three more, and reached the career scoring milestone. He had a game-high 23 points for the Falcons in the 68-67 loss to the Spartans.
St. Paul associate head coach Brendan Phelps had nothing but praise for Palmieri, who has trained with Phelps since elementary school.
"I love you Mike and couldn't be prouder of the person and player that you are," Phelps wrote on Facebook.
Palmieri was a All-NVL selection last season and is among the best guards in the league again this season.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Holy Cross, St. Paul girls garner top seeds in state tourneys

The CIAC girls basketball state tournament pairings are out, and Holy Cross and St. Paul are seeded the highest.
The Crusaders (19-3) are the No. 2 seed in Class L. The biggest question for the 2017 Class L runner-up is the health of All-NVL and All-City senior Meah Austin. Austin was hurt in the NVL semifinal loss to Sacred Heart and had to be helped off the floor. Holy Cross loses a big piece if Austin can't go. Aiyana Ward, who was All-NVL, All-City, the top NVL senior and top city senior, would have to take on even more of the load. The Crusaders would be helped big time, with or without Austin, if they can make more outside shots. All-Brass choice Julia Mecca can be one of those outside options. Holy Cross opens the tournament next Tuesday in The Pit against No. 31 Joel Barlow (6-14 regular season) at 7 p.m.
St. Paul (17-4) is the No. 3 seed in Class M, and it opens at home with NVL foe Oxford (9-11), the No. 30 seed, next Monday at 7 p.m. The Falcons have had injury issues, biggest of which the loss of All-NVL sophomore Janessa Gonzalez for the season, and they will need a slew of contributions, including those from All-Copper sophomore Jade Udoh. St. Paul won both regular season matchups against its Copper Division foe from Oxford.
Sacred Heart (17-5), which plays in tonight's NVL final, is the No. 6 seed in Class S. The Hearts and their terrific three-headed attack of Treasure Coleman (All-NVL, All-City), Aamya Rivera (All-Brass) and Mikayla Mobley (All-Brass) host No. 27 Ellis Tech (9-11) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
Crosby (13-8) is the No. 16 seed in Class L. The Bulldogs, led by All-NVL and All-City standout Tiahna Pulliam, host No. 17 Platt (12-8) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Palace. All-Brass member Gloria Vergeli will look to help Crosby's cause.
Wolcott (12-10) is seeded 23rd in Class M and travels to No. 10 Amistad (15-5) next Monday for a 7 p.m. game. The Eagles will look for a big effort from All-NVL standout Raven Cody.
WCA (10-11) is the No. 24 seed in Class L and will travel to No. 9 Bullard-Havens (13-5) next Tuesday for a 7 p.m. contest. All-NVL and All-City choice Armani Weaver hopes to have her outside touch for the Spartans.
Bristol Eastern (7-13) is the last team in for Class LL at No. 32. The Lancers will have to go to New London to face the top seed, which is also the No. 1 team in the state. The Whalers play for a ECC title tonight. Eastern and New London play next Monday at 7 p.m.

Mayo's putback gives Wilby boys stunning road win at Wolcott

Dezon Mayo's putback kept Wilby's postseason hopes alive.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Wilby boys basketball game is still alive for a state tournament berth because of Dezon Mayo.
Wolcott is in the same one-game scenario because of Dezon Mayo.
Mayo's putback on a missed shot with four seconds left gave the Wildcats a 54-52 victory over the Eagles on their Senior Night at the John H. Morris Gymnasium Tuesday.
Mayo had eight points, and his last two were by far the most important. Both teams are 7-12 and need a win in their final game for a state tournament berth because of Mayo's shot.
Christian Harris led Wilby with 21 points and TyQway Harding added 12. Harding got off to a good start in the first half with several runners in the lane.
Elmin Redzepagic (23) shot his way to a game-high 25 points.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Elmin Redzepagic paced Wolcott with 25 points, hitting from both inside and outside the three-point arc. Redzepagic ended the game with three 3-pointers. Jack Drewry had 11 points while battling inside for the Eagles. Mike Tessarzik and Chris Harris chipped in eight points apiece.
Wolcott honored seniors from the basketball team, cheerleaders and dance team, then jumped out to a 14-11 lead over Wilby after one quarter. An even second quarter made the score 28-25 at halftime. The Wildcats pulled within a point, 42-41, after three quarters.
Mayo's heroics mean that both Wilby and Wolcott are in a win or stay home game in their regular season finales. The Wildcats host Seymour on Thursday night at 7 o'clock. The Eagles are scheduled to start an hour earlier on Thursday at Ansonia.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from the game.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bristol Central boys beat Eastern, deny rival a state tournament berth

Logo credit: Bristol Central principal Twitter account
Bristol Central boys basketball edged out Eastern 46-42 on Monday night inside a packed Thomas A. Monahan Gymnasium.
The game's outcome had a much different effect on both sides: The Rams finished the regular season with a 16-4 record, a spot in the CCC Tournament, and a high ranking in Division II. The Lancers ended the season 7-13, one win shy of a state tournament berth.
In a typical game between these Mum City rivals, it was closely contested and low scoring. Eastern gave the effort you would expect from a Bunty Ray team, but it wasn't enough. Central's Jaekwon Spencer led all scorers with 20 points. The Rams had a 14-game winning streak snapped last Thursday by Wethersfield, but they were able to bounce back with a win over the Lancers.
Jake Lafferty led a balanced Eastern attack with 10 points. The Lancers led 13-10 after one quarter, then the Rams fought to a 21-21 tie at the half. Central led 33-32 after three quarters and was able to pull away just enough to win.
Eastern made a strong push to earn a state tournament berth, but injuries helped conspire to keep the Lancers out.
Central has the postseason ahead, and it will have good seeds in both the CCC and Division II state tournaments.

Thoughts on Monday's Sacred Heart-Holy Cross NVL semifinal

Sacred Heart's Treasure Coleman led all scorers with 26 points in Monday's NVL semifinal.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
No. 4 Sacred Heart ran away with a 54-42 win over No. 1 Holy Cross in the NVL girls basketball tournament semifinals on Monday night at Kennedy High School.
It was a full house inside Jack Taglia Gymnasium, and those supporting the Maroon and Gold were treated to a great performance by the Hearts. Sacred Heart's effort began and ended with its three-headed attack of Treasure Coleman (game-high 26 points), Aamya Rivera (12) and Mikayla Mobley (11). The trio led the offense, and they harassed the guards of the Crusaders.
Inside, it was a team effort against Holy Cross standouts Aiyana Ward (14 points) and Meah Austin (9). The Crusaders couldn't get their outside shots to fall, so once the Hearts established a nice lead, they packed their zone deep into the paint. Hayley Tucker, Jenna Madigan, Trista Caron and Nevaeh Jones all took turns defending Ward and Austin.
Any comeback effort for Holy Cross was delivered a major blow when Austin had to leave the game with 7:11 left in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Austin was down for several minutes and was slowly helped off the court. Hopefully the senior forward will be OK.
Sacred Heart faces Naugatuck on Wednesday night in a matchup of first-time NVL finalists. That game is also at Kennedy.

For a full recap of the Sacred Heart-Holy Cross semifinal, read my story on The Zone website.

Joe Palladino took video for The Zone. Go here to see that video.

And finally, I took photos during the game. You can view those here.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

GIRLS NVL TOURNEY: Big wins for Wolcott, Sacred Heart, Holy Cross

The first round of the NVL girls basketball tournament took place Saturday at Holy Cross High School, and Wolcott had the biggest win.
The seventh-seeded Eagles took down second-seeded St. Paul 49-39 behind a monster 31 point-performance from Raven Cody. Sam Hickey added eight points for Wolcott, which jumped out to an 11-4 lead after one quarter. After an even second quarter, the Eagles claimed a 14-7 advantage in the third quarter to push the lead to 14 points.
Jade Udoh had nine points and Lindsey O'Bright added eight for the Falcons, who have been snake-bit by injuries. Emma Cretella was the latest to go down for St. Paul.
Fourth-seeded Sacred Heart erupted for a 71-49 victory over fifth-seeded Seymour. Treasure Coleman led the Hearts with 20 points, but she had plenty of help from her teammates. Hayley Tucker scored 14 points, Mikayla Mobley added 12, Aamya Rivera chipped in 11 and Jenna Madigan tallied seven. The Hearts used a monster second quarter (19-4) to take the game over. Seymour did outscore Sacred Heart by 10 in the third quarter, but a 21-7 fourth quarter by the Hearts again extended the lead.
Top-seeded host Holy Cross kept eighth-seeded WCA at bay and took a 53-37 victory. The Crusaders led 25-16 at the half, then extended the lead in the second half. Meah Austin had 21 points, Aiyana Ward tallied 10 and Ja'Lin Waters added eight. There was also five points apiece from Julia Mecca and Allie Brown.
No. 6 Crosby couldn't catch up with a red-hot No. 3 Naugatuck and lost 50-38. Tiahna Pulliam had 16 points and Gloria Vergeli added 10 for the Bulldogs. Erica Soares and Shyan Perez each had six points.

Semifinals on Monday at Kennedy
No. 7 Wolcott faces No. 3 Naugatuck in the first game at 5 p.m. The Eagles lost 37-30 to the Greyhounds at home this past week.
After All-NVL honorees are recognized, No. 1 Holy Cross and No. 4 Sacred Heart renew acquaintances at 7 p.m. The Crusaders won both matchups in the regular season.

Trelli wins state title in final competition on home mat; Rams finish 7th as team in Class L

Chris Trelli made his last competition on a Bristol Central mat count,
winning the Class L 120-pound state championship.
(Photo credit: Bristol Central principal Twitter account)
There was only one way for senior Chris Trelli to end his time wrestling on the mats at Bristol Central High School, and that was by winning a state title.
Trelli delivered with a 12-4 major decision against New Milford's Brandon Leonard in the 120-pound final during the Class L state championship meet inside the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium. Trelli ran his record to 33-6, and he did it in front of his home fans.
Trelli had a first round bye, then convincingly beat Notre Dame-West Haven's Jeff Bracale by technical fall, 18-3. The next round brought a high-scoring technical fall of 27-12 against Middletown's Tim Pawlak. 
In the semifinal, Trelli faced Bristol Eastern's Thomas Nichols. Trelli claimed victory by fall with seven seconds left in the match to advance to the final.
Trelli began the scoring in the final with a takedown of Leonard in the first period. Trelli nearly had a pin of Leonard 14 seconds into the second period. Leonard scored two escapes, but another Trelli takedown gave the Central senior a 6-2 lead after two periods. 
Trelli struck first in the third period with a takedown, then added another after a Leonard escape. Leonard had a final escape, but Trelli took him down again to go up 12-4. It was Trelli doing what he does, being a technically strong wrestler in control of the match.

Central finishes seventh overall
The Rams scored 102.5 team points, just four off of sixth place Wethersfield's 106.5. Trelli was the lone winner, and Central also had a third place and two fifth place finishers.
Mike Guzman was third at 220 for the Rams. Damian Mahaffy (170) and John Duncan (285) each placed fifth in their respective weight classes.
The medal-winners qualified for the State Open, which is this coming Friday and Saturday at New Haven's Floyd Little Athletic Center.

TWICE AS NICE: Bristol Eastern wrestling repeats as Class L champs

Logo from Bristol Eastern athletics Twitter account
Moving up the Class L wrestling finals due to an impending snowstorm didn't slow down Bristol Eastern on Saturday.
As a matter of fact, nothing did.
The Lancers had four individual state champions on the way to their second straight team title. Eastern finished first with 231 points, well ahead of second place Xavier's 196.5 and third place New Milford's 173.
Leonardo Fernandez (145 pounds), Justin Marshall (152), Mikey Barrett (160) and Trinidad Gonzalez (195) won individual state titles for the Lancers. Fernandez won a 10-8 decision over New Canaan's Nate Sibbett. Marshall claimed a 4-3 decision over Amity's Matthew Rothman. Barrett took a 9-1 major decision over Wethersfield's Alec Arnold. Gonzalez shutout Hall's Justin Searls with a 7-0 decision.
Eastern also had two second place finishes, plus one third, one fourth and one fifth. The Lancers wound up with nine medal winners, and while it wasn't the most, it was more than enough for victory.
Bryce Beebe (106) and Jordon Champagne (113) took second place. Thomas Nichols was third at 120, Carson Sassu finished fourth at 126 and Hidekel Mangual placed fifth at 220.
For Eastern's seniors, there could be no better way to close out their time together as a team than with a second straight Class L state title.
Eastern's nine place winners have qualified for the State Open, which takes place at New Haven's Floyd Little Athletic Center this coming Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Martin, Dantino part of NE-10 success for SCSU swimming and diving

Martin (SCSU athletics)
The Southern Connecticut State University women's swimming and diving team captured its second straight Northeast-10 championship and 12th in program history.
The men wrapped up their 13th championship, making it a clean sweep for the Owls.
What do the two teams have in common? Each had a local influence help achieve victory.
For the women, it was junior Lilly Martin, a former standout at St. Paul. She was one of four Owls to score points in the 200-yard breaststroke, and she had the best finish in fourth place. Martin finished the race in 2:25.03. 
(Note: Teammate Meaghan Spagnolo of Waterbury was eighth in the same event).
Martin was also part of the winning 400 medley relay team. She is part of the 2017 relay that owns the Northeast-10 record for the event. 
Martin was fifth in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 400 IM.
Dantino (SCSU athletics)

For the men, it was sophomore Drew Dantino, who hails from Sacred Heart. Dantino was solid for the Owls in the breaststroke events. He finished third in the 200 breaststroke and took fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Dantino finished the 200 breaststroke in 2:10.04 and completed the 100 breaststroke in 59.01 seconds.
Dantino also swam in the 200 and 400 medley relays and the 200 IM.
It was a double-banner effort for SCSU, and Martin and Dantino got to be right in the middle of it.

Knox (ECSU athletics)
Haley Knox, Eastern Connecticut State University
indoor track and field

The junior has experienced plenty of team success both with the Warriors and at Bristol Central in high school, and the winning continued this past weekend.
Knox teamed up with Samantha McKosky, Christina Gosselin and Laura Bresson to finish first in the New England Alliance 4x800-meter relay. The relay took the top spot in 10:07.94.
Knox also picked up a second place finish in the 1000 meters. She missed her program record by quarter-second, and she was less than a second behind the winner.
The event, held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, was called the New England Alliance/Little East Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Next up for Knox and ECSU is the New England Division III Championships this weekend.

Jacob Collins, Eastern Connecticut State University basketball
Collins (ECSU athletics)

This senior from Bristol Central dealt with nagging injuries before his second full season with the Warriors.
In the last two games, Collins has had the chance to show what he can do, and he played a role in the clinching of a fifth straight Little East regular season title for ECSU. 
In wins over Plymouth State, Trinity and Keene State, Collins had nine, eight and seven points in double-digit minutes off the bench. 
Collins scored 17 points in the second half and overtime and was 8-of-10 shooting in a 101-99 loss to UMass-Dartmouth on Feb. 10. He also tallied three rebounds and two blocks in that game.
On Wednesday night at Western Connecticut State, Collins played 16 minutes and scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting in a 106-82 victory. He also had four rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Coach Bill Geitner had this to say about Collins before the season:
"A very god shooting forward, Jake has had some nagging injuries this preseason but we expect him to have a good year."
Collins has been getting good minutes off the bench, and he has delivered for the Warriors over the past two games. The former Bristol Central standout could become a big factor off the bench for ECSU in the postseason.

Wnuk (ECSU athletics)
Diana Wnuk, Eastern Connecticut State University basketball
The former Bristol Eastern standout got a chance to start for the first time in her career last Saturday, and the freshman delivered on the backboards for the Warriors.
Wnuk played 34 minutes in the 78-62 loss to UMass-Dartmouth, and she grabbed 10 rebounds and one steal. The minutes and rebounds were both career-highs for Wnuk.
Earlier this year, Wnuk showed her athleticism in back-to-back games. She notched three steals against Connecticut College on Jan. 30, then logged two more against UMass-Boston on Feb. 3. 
Wnuk has had a steal in five straight games for ECSU.

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

Wolcott girls have quick turnaround to season finale after home loss

Wolcott girls basketball will look to regain momentum in their season finale tonight
at Kaynor Tech. The Eagles lost 37-30 at home to Naugatuck on Wednesday night.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Wolcott girls basketball team will need to get Wednesday night's 37-30 home loss to Naugatuck out of their minds quickly.
The Eagles (10-9) close the regular season at Kaynor Tech tonight at 6 o'clock. Wolcott will be the No. 7 seed in the NVL Tournament, which begins Saturday with quarterfinal games at Holy Cross High School. The Eagles will play second-seeded St. Paul.
Wolcott had a rough night offensively Wednesday, especially in the third quarter where Naugatuck put the game away. Raven Cody and Alayna Greene each scored seven points for the Eagles. Freshman Sam Riviezzo added four points.
It was Senior Night for Cody, Greene, Jenna Hoban, Morgan Kiely and Sam Hickey. Wolcott will look for a better result tonight against Kaynor Tech, and seek to build good momentum entering the postseason.

PHOTOS: Click here to see images from the second half of the game.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Holy Cross boys swimming and diving having another strong season

The NVL knows how good Holy Cross boys swimming and diving has been this season.
It's likely that Class S is also on alert as the postseason approaches.
The Crusaders are undefeated in the NVL, and they boast a 11-2-1 record overall. The losses were to Class L Amity and Class M Daniel Hand, and the tie came against Class LL Cheshire. For reference about the recent success of those three programs, Cheshire was third in Class LL, Hand was third in M, and Amity fourth in L.
Holy Cross has faced strong competition outside the NVL. That competition continues as the Crusaders close the regular season Thursday at defending Class M champion Weston at 4:30 p.m. Holy Cross finished as Class S runner-up to Weston in 2015 and 2016.
In Holy Cross' most recent meet on Feb. 6, the Crusaders beat Sacred Heart 96-81 at Kennedy High School. Chris Fryer had individual wins in the 200-yard IM and 100 free. Other individual victories came from Sam Mason in the 50 freestyle, Madison Smith in diving, John Tucker in the 100 butterfly and Lucas Racevicius in the 500 freestyle.
Holy Cross also won the 200 medley (Luciano D'Amelio, Nick Galasso, Adam Fernandes, Tom Pompeii) and 200 freestyle (Tucker, Ben Bowler, Alex Ford, Mason) relays.
After Weston, the postseason -- and a hunt for championship hardware -- begins for Holy Cross.

BOYS HOOP NOTES: Kaynor Tech, Wolcott, Bristol Eastern and Wilby fighting for tourney berths

Kaynor Tech and Wilby are both fighting for berths in the upcoming boys basketball state
tournaments. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
It's coming down to the wire for the Kaynor Tech, Wolcott, Bristol Eastern and Wilby boys basketball teams.
All four still have a chance at making the state tournament with a losing record, but there is work to be done.
Kaynor Tech sits at 7-9 and has four games left to play. The Panthers need one win to reach the Division IV state tournament. Kaynor has games against Kennedy (5-12) on Friday, Seymour (8-8) on Feb. 20 and Woodland (7-10) on Feb. 22. There is also a game against Amistad (8-6) that needs to be rescheduled. The bad news for the Panthers is that the Kennedy game on Friday is the only one of the four they will play at home.
At 7-10, Wolcott is in the second-best position given it needs one win with three games left to play. The Eagles have a tough game tonight at Naugatuck (10-7). On Feb. 20, Wolcott meets up with another team challenging for a state tournament spot, Wilby. The Wildcats are 6-11 and need two wins in their final three games to get in. The Wolcott-Wilby game is a home contest for Wolcott.
The Eagles finish the regular season on Feb. 22 at Ansonia (4-13). Wolcott is in Division III.
Wilby's final three games are against WCA (11-6, tonight at WCA), Wolcott on Feb. 20, and home against Seymour (8-8) on Feb. 22. The Wildcats will attempt to get a spot in the Division II state tournament.
Bristol Eastern is 7-11 and needs one win in its final two games to qualify for the Division III state tournament. Neither game will be easy. The Lancers play at New Britain (13-5) on Friday. The regular season finale is home on Feb. 19 against city rival Bristol Central (15-3). A win in either game, however, puts Eastern in the state tournament.

A win is a win as Central boys make it 14 in a row

Bristol Central boys basketball battled its way to a 14th straight win on Tuesday.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Pretty? Not really.
Well-played? Not so much.
Another win on the ledger? Yes.
It wasn't the best game, but Bristol Central boys basketball put another one in the win column on Tuesday with a 48-42 victory over Capital Prep on Senior Night inside Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium. The amazing win streak continues for the Rams, who have won 14 straight games. Central improved to 15-3 with two regular season games left against Wethersfield and city rival Bristol Eastern.
Senior Jaekwon Spencer had another big game with 26 points. Fellow senior Isaiah Miller added eight points.
With two more wins, Central will have its best regular season record since 2013-14, when it went 17-3. That Ram squad earned a No. 3 seed, reached the Class L state semifinals ad finished 20-5.
The current Central team is ranked third in Division II and will play at second-ranked Wethersfield on Thursday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ward, Austin and some good balance have led Holy Cross girls to another strong NVL campaign

Meah Austin (14) and Aiyana Ward (32) have led the way
for another successful Holy Cross girls basketball team.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The regular season comes to a close in NVL girls basketball this week.
The team at the top of the NVL comes as no surprise. Holy Cross, a program that owns nine NVL Tournament titles, will be the top seed again in this year's edition.
The Crusaders earned the No. 1 seed with a great regular season, which ends on Wednesday night at Crosby at 7 p.m. Holy Cross is 16-1 in the NVL going into the game, 17-2 overall, but it also has something to play for. The Crusaders can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the Class L state tournament with a win over the Bulldogs.
The inside duo of Aiyana Ward and Meah Austin has been strong nearly all season for Holy Cross. Ward is averaging about 13.7 points per game and Austin is at an even 11.
There have been others who have hit double figures recently for the Crusaders. Ja'Lin Waters scored 15 against Wilby in her team's most recent game, and she also had 10 against Crosby. Julia Mecca scored 17 against Seymour, had 15 on five 3-pointers in a game against St. Paul, then tallied 14 versus Woodland. Hannah Brown scored 15 points against Seymour, then tallied 11 more against WCA.
The balance has helped Holy Cross stay on the winning track, and the 2017 Class L runner-up hopes the trend continues.

No. 11 is good for St. Paul boys

St. Paul boys basketball clinched its 11th straight state tournament berth.
The 11-6 Falcons have also won double-digit games for 11 consecutive seasons.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
St. Paul boys basketball is on good terms with the No. 11.
After starting the season 1-4, the Falcons are 11-6. That's the first 11.
The second 11 is the number of years in a row that St. Paul has made the state tournament.
And here's a third 11: the Falcons have also won double-digit games in each of the past 11 seasons.
Along that 11-year journey, there have been four trips to the final 16 of the state tournament. There's also been three runs to the final eight and one to the final four.
The years change, and so do the players in the program, but what doesn't change is the consistency of the St. Paul boys basketball program.

Money raised at city game for cause near and dear to Kennedy boys coach

Photo credit: Kennedy High School Twitter account
The final score for Monday night's Kennedy-WCA boys basketball game was 68-61 in favor of the host Eagles.
The more important number of the night was 500.
As in over $500 raised for the Connecticut chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The money was raised through a 50/50 raffle and the sale of T-shirts.
The cause is near and dear to Kennedy head coach Ryan Sullivan. Sullivan's wife Kacey was diagnosed with MS in 2008. The game was the first MS charity game and was known as "Two teams, One dream: Cure MS".
Both teams and their coaching staffs got together with the Sullivans for a photo at midcourt. Kacey Sullivan does the scorebook for Kennedy boys basketball.
Kacey and Ryan are the leaders of Sully's Shamrocks, a large group of supporters that take part in Walk MS and other fundraisers.

Joey DeFillippi makes history, seals big win for Mount Ida

DeFilippi (Mount Ida athletics)
Mount Ida senior Joey DeFillippi made some history last Thursday, and then he made a big play to seal his team's win.
The former Bristol Central standout became the third player in Mustang history to pass the 1,200-career point mark. DeFillippi had just nine points in the 72-68 win over Norwich, but the two biggest came late.
DeFillippi, listed by Mount Ida at 5-foot-9, grabbed an offensive rebound off his own three-point miss and was fouled in the waning seconds of the game. His two free throws upped the Mustang lead to four points and sealed the victory.
DeFillippi ended the game with seven rebounds, one steal and was 5-of-7 at the foul line. He leads Mount Ida in scoring at 13.2 points per game.
The win put the Mustangs within a half-game of the eighth and final spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament. Mount Ida (4-10 GNAC) is now a game behind Anna Maria (5-9) for that final spot, but they play the AMCATS tonight on the road. The Mustangs won the first meeting between the teams.

Monday, February 12, 2018

GIRLS HOOP NOTES: Three area teams rank in Top 4 of their respective classes

Meah Austin and Holy Cross would love to end
up with a first-round bye in Class L.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
The final games of the high school girls basketball regular season will be played this week.
State tournament-bound teams are looking at improving their ranking if possible while trying to finish on a positive note. Several of those teams in this area are looking at league tournament games this weekend.
Three area teams rank in the Top 4 in their respective classes. Holy Cross (16-2) is ranked second in Class L, Sacred Heart (14-4) is third in Class S, and St. Paul (15-3) is fourth in Class M. A top-tier finish in Class L means a first-round bye for the Crusaders.
Here's where the other area girls teams are ranked:

NOTE: Bristol Eastern can still make it, but needs help from others. Brien McMahon is 6-12 and has two games left.
OUT: Kennedy

13. Crosby (12-6)
24. WCA (8-10)
OUT: Bristol Central, Wilby

21. Wolcott (10-7)
OUT: Kaynor Tech (5-14)

BOYS HOOP NOTES: City schools litter CIAC Division I basketball landscape

Sacred Heart has the best ranking of the four city boys teams in Division I.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2018 file)
When you look at the CIAC Division I basketball tournament, one thing is apparent.
Four of the 21 teams that will qualify -- and all do in Division I -- will be from the Brass City. As of today, Sacred Heart (14-2) has the best ranking of those four teams at No. 6. Holy Cross (13-3) is eighth, Crosby is 18th and Kennedy is 21st.
Since all 21 teams in Division I qualify, seeds 12-21 will play what is essentially a play-in game. The games will be 12 vs. 21, 13 vs. 20, 14 vs. 19, 15 vs. 18 and 16 vs. 17. Those play-in games narrow the field from 21 to 16, and then the bracket looks like any Round of 16 you have seen.
As of now, Sacred Heart would play No. 11 Trinity Catholic and Holy Cross would get No. 9 Ridgefield. Despite having much different records, Crosby (9-6) and Kennedy (4-12) would have to deal with the "play-in" games. The Bulldogs would play No. 16 Norwich Free Academy and the Eagles would take on No. 12 Windsor.
With anywhere from two to six games left to play, those Division I rankings can certainly change. 
Here are the current rankings for all of the other area boys basketball teams (Remember, 40 percent to qualify for divisions II-V):

Division II
4. Bristol Central (14-3)
12. WCA (11-5)
Wilby (6-10)

Division III
9. St. Paul (10-6)
Wolcott (6-10)
Bristol Eastern (6-11)

Division IV
25. Kaynor Tech (7-9)

Division V
no area teams

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Williams' win highlights area efforts at weekend state meets

Photo credit: Sacred Heart High School athletics on Twitter
Four area schools sent athletes to compete in indoor track and field state championship meets on Friday and Saturday at New Haven's Floyd Little Athletic Center.
The highlight of the weekend belonged to Sacred Heart's EJ Williams, who won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.59 seconds during Saturday's Class S meet. 
Wolcott's Robert Snide finished second in the high jump during Friday's Class M meet. Kathryn Rodrigues had another Top 3 finish for the Eagles when she placed third in the 1600. Rodriguez was also sixth in the 3200. Jonathan Maldonado was eighth in the 1000 for Wolcott.
Williams' effort was one of several good ones for the Hearts. Jonathan Warren was third in the 1000, then combined with Michael DiGiovancarlo, Mechai Hayes and Williams for another bronze in the 1600 sprint medley. Individually, Hayes was seventh in the 300 dash.
Locals comprised the Top 2 in the 55 hurdles. Williams was first and Holy Cross' Marckens Auguste took second. The Crusader 4x200 relay of Marckens Auguste, Cliff Hodak, Chris Wihbey and Marckenslee Auguste claimed fourth.
In Class S girls, Sacred Heart's Jenna French finished seventh in the 1000.
Kaynor Tech's Zyiera Brown took fifth in the 55 hurdles. Brown was the winner in the same event during the Connecticut Technical Conference meet back on Jan. 31. Brown was also second in the 300 dash and third in the 55 dash.
Of note: Kaynor Tech's Brianna Pittman was the gold medalist in the 600 at the CTC meet.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Bristol Central boys take sixth at Class L indoor meet

The Bristol Central boys finished sixth overall at Thursday night’s Class L Indoor Championship Track and Field Meet at New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center.
Mark Petrosky and Hunter Peterson led the Rams with Top 3 finishes. Petrosky was second in the 1600 meters and Peterson took third in the long jump. Jose Ramirez and Elijah Ortiz each had fifth place finishes, Ramirez in the 600 and Ortiz in the 55 hurdles.
The Rams also had two Top 5 finishes in relays. The 4x400 team of Pat Kjornrattanawanich, Jose Navedo and Nigel West took fourth place. The 1600 sprint medley of Ramon Ambert, West, Kjornrattanawanich and Ramirez finished in fifth.
The Kennedy boys 4x800 team of Alexander Brites, Andry Evangelista, Ivan Meraz and Kyle Hotchkiss claimed fifth place. Crosby's Izaiah Barnes was fourth in the 55 dash.
The best girls finish came from Central’s Shy-Ann Whitten, who placed second in the high jump. Ram teammate Meghan Curtis was fourth in the 600. Bristol Eastern’s Avery Braccia was seventh in the 1000.

CCC meet recap
The Central boys also finished sixth as a team in the conference meet on Jan. 27, also at the FLAC.
Ortiz picked up the best finish for the Rams, taking second place in the 55 hurdles. Petrosky finished third in the 1600, Peterson was fifth in the long jump, West took seventh in the 300 dash, and Ramirez was seventh in the 600.
The 4x200 team of Kjornrattanawanich, Peterson, Navedo and West placed fifth, as did the 4x800 group of Petrosky, Pacifico Flores, Eric Knox and Ramirez. 
For the Central girls, Whitten tied for fifth in the high jump and Curtis was seventh in the 600. The 4x800 relay of Curtis, Alexa Furniss, Isabella Crandall and Paige Hinton finished sixth.

Bristol Eastern wrestling finishes another undefeated regular season, wins another CCC South title

Bristol Eastern wrestling defeated Bristol Central 58-13 on Thursday night at Bristol Central High School to complete a second straight undefeated regular season.
The Lancers finished the regular season at 15-0, 6-0 in the CCC South Division. Eastern has won 36 straight dual meets, a streak that goes back to 2016. The Lancers also wrapped up their seventh CCC South title in the past eight seasons.
Next up for Eastern is the CCC Tournament in Berlin, which begins today at 4:30 p.m. It continues Saturday at 9 a.m. This is the first full conference meet with all 26 teams, according to Connecticut Wrestling Online. The league used to have divisional tournaments, but one hasn't been contested since 2011.
Eastern will be in Class L for the state meet, where it will try to win a second straight championship. That meet starts at 4:45 p.m. on Feb. 16.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mustapha Heron has great game in tough Auburn loss to Texas A&M

Heron (Auburn athletics)
Auburn sophomore Mustapha Heron missed his last shot against Texas A&M on Wednesday night, a long three-point attempt as the buzzer sounded inside Auburn Arena.
A single foul shot with three seconds left gave the Aggies an 81-80 lead, and that's what they wound up winning by after Heron's miss. 
Heron may have missed that shot, but he had another big game for Auburn. He wound up playing 36 of 40 minutes after Bryce Brown left due to an injury and missed the entire second half. All Heron did was score a game-high 28 points.
Heron is averaging 22 points per game over his last four contests, and head coach Bruce Pearl had nothing but praise for the left-hander after the A&M game.
"Mustapha Heron was great tonight," Pearl said, according to postgame quotes on the team website. "He rose up and got on another level, which we know he has. That's what separates him from everybody else. He attacks the basket, gets to the foul line, makes shots, and he played 36 minutes tonight."
With Brown missing in the backcourt, Auburn needed others to step up. Heron certainly did his part to try to help the Tigers complete a big comeback. He knew he had to.
"It's difficult, but it's one of those things where you have to go out and play," Heron said in the postgame quotes. "I think I'm aggressive either way, but definitely with what [Brown] does, I would definitely have to up my level of play."
Heron did, and the two-time SEC Player of the Week may be called upon for that honor again real soon.

Arbuckle and the No. 30 synonymous in recent stretch

St. Paul senior Tyler Arbuckle is very familiar
with the 30-point mark. He's gotten there
four times in the last seven games.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file)
Anyone who knows area boys high school basketball knows about the scoring exploits of players like Isiah Gaiter and Raheem Solomon of Sacred Heart.
The four-time defending state champions have a large spotlight on them.
Another big-time scorer that you need to know about is St. Paul senior Tyler Arbuckle. All he has done in the last seven games is tally 30 points or more four times. Arbuckle's lowest scoring output over the seven-game stretch is 20. That was his lowest output. Arbuckle had 22 in one game and 23 in another.
So, those 30-point games? On Jan. 23, Arbuckle tallied 38 points in a 90-89 double overtime victory over Derby. He had 30 and was 16-for-16 from the foul line in a 66-60 road win at Wolcott on Jan. 26. On Jan. 29, Arbuckle dropped 32 on Weaver in a 94-75 home win. After a game of 20 points, he went for 31 in an 80-37 home win over Oxford on Tuesday.
In 15 games, Arbuckle is averaging 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, and he is shooting 53 percent from the floor.

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Madison Pechulis a double-winner in LEC swimming

M. Pechulis (Keene State athletics)
The Keene State women's swimming and diving team won a 12th straight Little East Conference championship last Saturday, and a former Bristol Central standout was right in the middle of it.
Sophomore Madison Pechulis swept the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events for the Owls. Pechulis swam the 100 in a time of 1:08.7, then finished the 200 in 2:11.34.
O. Pechulis (Keene State athletics)
In an ironic twist, Madison Pechulis was a winner in the same event that her sister Olivia Pechulis won as a freshman. Olivia Pechulis won the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.48 in the 2017 championships, and she finished second in the 200 breaststroke.
Madison Pechulis was part of the winning 200 medley relay team as a freshman in a time of 1:54.59. Her teammates in that relay were Alexandra McCafferty, Sophie Hayes and Paige Westley.
Olivia Pechulis also competed in the 2018 championships. She earned points for the Owls in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, and 200 IM.
In two seasons, the Pechulis sisters have had an impact on Keene State swimming and diving, just like they did at Bristol Central.

Bonicki (Clark athletics)
Kyle Bonicki, Clark University baseball
His senior season hasn't started yet, but the former Chase Collegiate star is already earning national recognition.
Bonicki was picked for the 2018 All-America second team. The team's choices are based on All-American and All-Region nominations from the previous season. Bonicki had another amazing season in 2017, and he was chosen as New England Player of the Year by 
Bonicki was a first team All-NEWMAC selection, and he first team All-Region as chosen by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings. It was the second straight season that Bonicki was first team All-Region.
Bonicki did his damage in the gaps and down the lines as a hitter, leading the NEWMAC in doubles and triples. He also set school records in doubles, runs scored, at bats and total bases. Bonicki owns Clark career records in batting average, hits, doubles and on-base percentage.

Jalissa Rodriguez, Simmons College basketball
Rodriguez (Simmons athletics)

The Waterbury native and former Taft standout had a big game for the Sharks on Jan. 30.
Rodriguez scored a career-high 22 points in the 71-63 victory over Rivier. Twenty of those 22 points came in the first half, including a school record-tying six 3-pointers.
Rodriguez fouled out after 27 minutes in a game that featured 50 team fouls and 57 foul shots. Before leaving the game, Rodriguez was 6-of-13 from the floor, including 6-of-11 from three-point range. She was also 4-of-4 at the foul line. 
Rodriguez had three rebounds, two assists and two steals. She has had four other games in double figures in points during her freshman season. Rodriguez scored 17, 13, 11 and 11 points.

Siders (AIC athletics)
Rashana Siders, American International College basketball
The sophomore and former Holy Cross star has played in all 25 games for the Yellowjackets with 20 starts.
Siders is averaging 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 27 minutes per contest. She also has 17 steals and four blocks. Siders' season-high in points is 17, and she has done it four different times.
Siders has started 19 straight games, and she has scored in double figures in four of the last five. She had 12 points against Merrimack on Jan. 23, 17 against Franklin Pierce on Jan. 27, 15 against Le Moyne on Feb. 3, and 11 against Southern Connecticut State University on Feb. 6.

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