Wethersfield senior Dante Burgos drives baseline on Rocky Hill's Matt Sevigny during the Eagles 52-41 victory. Photo credit- Michelle Elliott
Not all regular season games are created equal and last Thursday night’s regular-season finale between Wethersfield and Rocky Hill boys’ basketball was proof of that.
Both teams entered with identical 7-12 records and the winner would earn a spot in the state tourney, while the loser’s season would be over.
Behind an efficient fourth quarter, the home Eagles walked away with a 52-41 victory over the conference and neighboring rivals, sending Wethersfield to the Division II state tournament and eliminating Rocky Hill from the postseason.
“We basically had three playoff games in a row and unfortunately we lost to Tolland on Friday, but somewhere along the line we decided that we needed to get going,” said Wethersfield head coach Brian Fanelli, whose team needed to win their last two games against Newington and Rocky Hill to qualify for the tourney, “I think they understood the gravity of the game and they stepped up in three of the four quarters tonight.”
Fanelli’s team caught fire late, scoring 25 point over the final eight minutes after being held to 27 over the first three quarter, including two total points during a brutal third quarter.
Seniors Derek Tenney and Dante Burgos combined to score 19 in the fourth, helping the Eagles regain the lead early in the final frame before pulling away down the stretch.
“We went to a 1-2-2 half court trap right off the jump in the fourth quarter. We got two turnovers and two easy baskets in a row, and it seemed like the nerves got out and we got going a little bit. Then they started to trap, and we knew if we made the right pass and hit the middle that we could get a couple of easy baskets,” recalled Fanelli.
Tenney finished with a game-high 20 points and Burgos added 14 in the duo’s final game at WHS.
“We’ve been friends for a really long time and it’s nice to have chemistry with someone like that, who always has your back,” Tenney said of his bond with Burgos, “When I’m down he picks me up and the same thing with when he’s down I’m picking him up. It’s a really good relationship to have.”
Early on it was an offensive struggle for both squads as Tenney scored the game’s only point, a free throw, over the first three minutes of action.
The Terriers rattled off seven in a row and led 11-8 after the first quarter behind junior Alex Boutin, who exploded off the bench with a team-high 13 points, including four points and a handful of big defensive plays in the first quarter.
Tenney ignited a 6-0 run in the second quarter by tipping in a miss from the baseline as the Eagles outscored the Terriers 17-9 in the quarter.
During the second quarter, freshman Robert Ruiz added six points for the Eagles, who took a 25-20 lead into the break.
Rocky Hill scored the first six points of the third, four coming from junior Justin Fraleigh, who scored all eight of his points in the second half.
The Terriers nearly shutout the Eagles in the quarter, but two late free throws from Jack Romagnoli gave the home team a one-point edge headed to the final quarter.
That’s when Fanelli’s players carried out his pregame message.
“I kept harping that there were close games that we lost this year because of mental errors and we knew they might come back to bite us. I told them today, don’t let those games come back to bite you, be the team that goes out there and is resilient. You did it against Newington, now go out there and do it tonight.”
Tenney had to exit the game in the third quarter after taking a spill following a collision but returned minutes later and was ready for crunch time.
“I knew that even if I was hurt, I wasn’t coming out,” recalled Tenney “This is my last game here and it wouldn’t have been fair to my teammates.”
Fanelli said that Tenney has been the steady presence all season, “It’s too bad that he’s going to go play baseball in college because he’s a special basketball player too. There’s not a situation that is too big for him. If you notice his demeanor never really changes and he’s calm the whole time. I think that his ability to stay at that level, no matter the situation, makes him special.”
Rocky Hill briefly regained the lead to start the fourth on a turnaround jumper from Fraleigh, but Tenney and Burgos began to take over, scoring the Eagles next 13 points.
The home team cemented the game at the line, hitting eight of their final ten foul shots.
It was a different story on the other side of the court as the Terriers struggled all night from the charity stripe, connecting on only 1 of 10 foul shots.
“We couldn’t hit a free thrown, we couldn’t hit a layup, and you’re not going to win a game against a quality team when you’re doing that. We’ve just struggled putting the ball in the hole all season,” said Rocky Hill head coach Josh Dinerman, who saw his offense pick it up late but his defense struggle down the stretch, “We were kind of out of position defensively and they hurt us a couple times. Some of their starters stepped up besides Tenney. We had to key on him because he’s an all-star caliber player and some other guys just made plays.”
The loss marked the end of the road for a handful of seniors at Rocky Hill, including captain Riley Donovan, who was held to nine in the finale but had scored 34 in a win over Windham, which help put the team within a win of the tournament back on Feb 14.
Donovan was the only returning starter from last season’s championship run and was the unquestioned on-court leader for the Terriers.
“Donovan had a great season. He did step up in that leadership role and I’m proud of him because it wasn’t always easy this year,” said Dinerman, who hopes that the returning players will use Thursday night as motivation for the offseason, “Some of these young guys have had some growing pains. They learned tonight that you can’t make those mistakes against a quality team.”
As for Wethersfield, they again live to see another day.
Following the loss to Tolland they needed to sweep their two biggest rivals in order to make the postseason. They we down by as many as 20 points against Newington but still found a way to earn win #7, and eventually win #8 on their home court.
“We knew we had no room for error. We had really put ourselves in a hole, but we battled and stuck it out as a team,” stated Tenney.
“After the first half against Newington they decided that they were going to play the best third quarter of their lives. They didn’t let those things that happened earlier in the year bite us and now we’ve got a whole new season,” added Fanelli.
The Starting Five: Area Athletes of the Week
Nick Wright- Cromwell (Basketball): Wright scored 25 points, hitting 11 of his 14 shots from the field, and grabbed eight rebounds to help the Panthers finish the regular season 20-0 with a 50-48 victory over Old Lyme last Monday night. The senior captain was also a terror on the defensive end, racking up five steals, and will now look to guide the perfect Panthers in their quest for back-to-back state titles.
Andrew Fogarty- Newington co-op (Hockey): Fogarty stopped all 11 shots he faced as the Indians shutout EEGS, 4-0, last Saturday to finish the regular season 15-5. It was the third time that the sophomore goalie has blanked an opponent this season and the eighth time that he has been credited with a win.
Elijah Cyr- Middletown (Wrestling): Cyr won both the Class L and State Open in the 113 LBS division. The senior defeated Bristol Central’s Jake Aldi in the class final and then took down Trumbull’s Travis Longo to win the State Open last Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. Teammate Nygell Smikle won the 285 LBS division at the class finals.
Nathan Gerace-Hicks- Rocky Hill (Swimming): Gerace, who was named a team captain this year because of his leadership qualities, qualified for both 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle at states. The senior, who has been swimming all four seasons, is also a member of two relays going to states and has brings experience after competing last winter in the 500 Freestyle as a junior. Outside of swimming, Gerace-Hicks is a member of the track team, a four-year band member, and a four-year volunteer for Sea Cubs, a swimming program for students with special needs.
Madison Bradbury & Erin Nargi- Wethersfield (Gymnastics)- Bradbury and Nargi scored high enough at the Class M meet to earn All-State accolades. Bradbury was named to the first-team All-State for her all-around performances, while Erin earned second-team All-State for bars and beam. The two seniors helped lead Wethersfield to a fifth-place overall showing at the Class M finals at Jonathan Law High School last Saturday.
Wethersfield's head coach Jeff Russell and junior guard Nicole
Gwynn after Gwynn scored her 1000th career point during Wethersfield's
50-38 victory over Newington last Monday night.
Wethersfield girls’ basketball had a lot at stake during their regular-season finale against Newington last Monday night.
The Eagles were looking to even the season series with the Indians, while attempting to capture a share of the conference crown, and guard Nicole Gwynn was within striking distance of 1000 career points.
“I told them that it was all possible,” head coach Jeff Russell said prior to tipoff.
Russell’s team responded to his message with a 50-38 victory over their rivals in front of a lively crowd at Wethersfield High School, avenging a 55-50 loss at NHS on Jan 8.
Gwynn needed 14 points to reach the milestone and was in attack mode from the opening tip, reaching the career 1000-point mark late in the first half.
“It felt good because I’ve work so hard in the offseason. It feels good to see the hard work pay off” said Gwynn, who finished with a game-high 24 points, “We wanted to beat them bad. We thought if we came out and played hard that we would win.”
Seven quick points from Gwynn, including a straight away jumper for the first points of the game, help provide Wethersfield an early eight-point advantage.
The junior continued her scoring onslaught in the second quarter with a layup and by knocking down her second from beyond the arc, upping the lead to 17-8 midway through the opening quarter.
“It was great because she didn’t play like a kid that was going after 1000 points. She played within the offense and didn’t force any shots, they were all good looks,” recalled Russell, “She knows if she’s even and if she’s one-on-one, she’s got an opportunity to score.”
Her 1000th point came with under a minute to play in the first half when she received the ball on the left wing before taking it baseline and kissing it off glass.
Russell took a timeout to recognize Gwynn’s feat, which took her less than three full seasons to accomplish.
“I felt early on, as a young player, that she was playing every game to prove something. Now I feel like she’s playing every game to win, and she knows how to play within our offense,” said Russell, who took over as the team’s coach when Gwynn was a freshman, “She’s no longer looking to prove. She’s out there to lead the team and do her job, and that is to attack and distribute. She liked the playoff run last year and she wanted to get there again.”
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Newington’s all-conference guard Ashanti Frazier closed the first half strong and continued to excel after the break with a three pointer followed by a perfect dish to Alexie Armour in the open court for a layup, which closed the gap to 28-24 early in the third.
Following a Wethersfield miscue, Newington had another fast break opportunity on their next possession but Isabella Samse swung the momentum back towards the home team with a great individual effort.
Samse intercepted a pass near midcourt and dribbled through two Newington defenders before finishing under the basket. The play ignited a 10-1 run, which included another layup from Samse and three-point buckets from Alice Kelly and Gabriella Amoddio.
“She’s got an instinct for off-the-ball defense. It’s almost like she’s able to process it in real time,” Russell said of Samse, “She’s a diehard basketball kid, but I joke with her that she’s a runner that plays basketball three months a year. She runs in the fall and spring and it pays off because when she runs for us, it’s effective.”
“We always know where each other is on the court. If I have the ball, she knows where to go that I can get her the ball. Same with Alice too,” Gwynn said of her relationships with her fellow juniors, Samse and Kelly.
Gwynn’s celebratory night overshadowed an outstanding all-around night from Kelly, who posted a 13-point, 10-rebound, 12-block triple double.
Newington got as close as nine early in the fourth on a steal and layup from Frazier, but Gwynn closed out the contest with six free throws down the stretch. She finished hitting eight of nine from the foul line.
Over the last year Gwynn said that she has worked tirelessly with her dad, John, to improve her foul shooting, often shooting hundreds during each training session.
The loss was only the third of the year for Newington, who ended the regular season 17-3. Frazier led the team with 15 points, Armour added nine, and Karissa Zocco chipped in with six.
“I think they’re the best team we’ve played. They make you so uncomfortable because they’re a balanced team. They’re really good so they’re going to get good shots, but their ability to track the ball on rebounds is like nothing I’ve ever seen. They jump out in film, they jump out when we scout them and they jump out when we play them. Every one of their kids plays with such high energy and effort and has a nose for the ball,” said Russell, who normally runs an up-tempo attack but slowed it down in the fourth quarter to allow his defense to seal the deal.
“Coach Ryan Alger, who is my defensive coordinator, puts together our defensive game plans and he put a great one together tonight.”
The Eagles won nine of their last ten games to finished the regular season 15-5. They played their last five at home, but it was the lengthy road tests during the early part of the season which toughened the team.
“Basketball is a long season. A lot of time is spent indoors and on busses and we wanted to be confortable with that. We wanted to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” stated Russell, “We picked up a game in Waterford this year on purpose because we wanted to have one of those long bus rides. We scrimmage at Westerly earlier in the year because we wanted to take a ride to Rhode Island and play in a gym we’ve never seen. That way we can walk into any gym and we can say ‘its got two hoops, we’re ready to go.’”
Following the regular season finale was the CCC tourney, where Wethersfield fell to Berlin in the opening round last Thursday.
Newington knocked off Farmington 45-30 in the first round and then bested Berlin 58-48 behind 30 points from Frazier.
Both programs are now headed to the Class LL tourney, which starts first-round action on Tuesday, Feb 26.
Despite the loss to Wethersfield, Newington girls basketball finished the regular season as one of the state's best teams after
winning 17 of their 20 contests
Wethersfield Downs Newington in Pool
Wethersfield swimming and diving defeated Newington last Friday night at WHS, securing another conference title and improving to 10-1.
Caleb Skowronek had big night, winning the 50 Freestyle and placing finishing first in the 100 Breaststroke. The senior also teamed with Rory Stickley, Holden Hoon, and Brendon Mansuaku to win the 200 Medley Relay. Hoon also won the 200 Individual Medley and Matthew Iallonardo won the 100 Fly. Eagles divers Brian Puglielli and Jordan Griffin finished first and second during the meet.
The loss was the regular season finale for the Indians, who close out the season at 5-5. Michael Bohlke had a solid meet, finishing third in both the 200 and 500 Freestyles. Maks Ungrak placed second in the 100 Freestyle and John Famigliette took third in the diving portion.
Trailing 29-21 at the half, Nikki Lukens needed to have a memorable final 16 minutes in front of her hometown family and friends.
“I knew that it was my last game on our home floor, so I wanted to close it out strong.”
And that she did.
The senior guard poured in 20 of her game-high 26 points in the second half as the Terriers rallied for a 53-46 victory over Middletown on Senior Night at RHHS, earning the team a spot in the state tournament last Monday night.
“She’s a kid that you don’t need to get going. She always has her own motivations and you don’t have to get her fired up, but I looked at her and said ‘this is your last game on this floor, what are you going to do about it?’,” asked Rocky Hill head coach Allyson Smith, “She is such a humble kid, but she has that competitive nature about her. She refuses to lose and tonight she showed how she gets that done. She put the team on her back.”
Lukens single-handedly outscored Middletown in the second half, as the Terriers quickly erased the halftime deficit and picked up their eighth win of the season.
“We talked about staying composed and about passing the ball around and sealing the inside,” Lukens said of the halftime adjustments, “It was hard in the first half, we were a little nervous and chaotic but we calmed down a lot in the second half and looked for the openings and took our time.”
Middletown jumped out to a 9-2 lead after the first few minutes and upped the advantage to as many as 11 points in the first half before the resilient Terriers clawed their way back in thanks to Lukens’ efforts and a strong defensive performance in the second half.
“Our defensive rotations were slow and it was getting us out of position for rebounding. We get overly aggressive on the ball sometimes and if they made one pass, our weak side suffered,” recalled Smith, “We just had to get in better positioning, and we made that adjustment in the second half.”
Smith’s press defensive limited the Blue Dragons to 17 second-half points and sparked transition buckets on offense.
Aleksa Peterson supplied energy on both ends of the court, stepping into passing lanes defensively and setting up Lukens with pinpoint passes.
“It’s tough this year but with Nikki it makes it easier,” said Peterson, who shares the captain’s duties with Lukens, “We knew that the pressure was going to be on us this year, but we were ready for it.”
Peterson added nine points, seven coming in the first half. Her role has changed this season, becoming more of a ball hander and taking some of the pressure off Lukens.
“I’ve worked on it. In the beginning of the season it wasn’t that great, but now I’m looking up a lot more and it’s working out,” Peterson said of her ability to drive and dish to open shooters on the perimeter.
“We have a good chemistry because we are the only two starters returning from last year. I think we’ve really come together as the leaders and done well together,” added Lukens.
The team lost five seniors and three starters from a season ago, putting added responsibilities on the duo.
“Aleksa always knows the right decision, it’s how she gets it there. She’s getting better at not forcing it and understanding when to pass and when to keep it,” stated Smith, “With her it’s just consistency. She wants to help and she’s so aggressive but it needs to be toned down. She’s becoming a smarter and more intelligent player that way.”
Corrin Stabile kept the Terriers within striking distance in the first half, canning two big three pointers. The junior has filled a much-needed outside shooting role.
“Her shooting is amazing this year, she has so much more confidence than before,” Peterson said of the Stabile.
Lukens wasted little time following the halftime break, leading the Terriers on a 12-3 run. She scored 10 during the run and gave the Terriers first their lead of the game at 33-32 when she stole the ball in the open court and took it herself for a layup.
Middletown closed the quarter scoring six of the next eight, but the Terriers again seized the momentum to start the fourth with a 12-2 run, which was started by an offensive rebound and layup from senior Annie White.
Lukens and fellow senior Julia DiBattista closed out the game with points in the paint and free throws.
DiBattista finished with eight points, all coming in the second half, and grabbed several crucial rebounds down the stretch.
“[Julia] is always in the right spots, but it’s just about toughness and trusting her instincts. In the first half she was a little tentative and in the second half she trusted her instincts,” Smith said of her center, “She’s the tallest person on the floor and she used that to her advantage tonight. The fundamentals have gotten better over the season and she always shows up in monster moments.”
The win came at the right time and just so happened to be the final game at Rocky Hill High School for Lukens, White, DiBattista, Lordina Onyina, Melissa Hiller, and Julia Rosa.
“We wanted to qualify for state, which we did tonight,” stated Lukens, who became the program’s all-time leading scorer earlier this season, “Closing the season out strong is our primary goal.”
Lukens and the Terriers had a setback last Thursday, losing 48-26 at Newington. Ashanti Frazier led the Indians with 12 points and seven steals.
Following an up and down regular season, the Class M tourney is up next for the Terriers. The team is hoping to make a run similar to the semifinal march they made a season ago.
“We’re in almost every single game and it’s just the execution of the little things. We’re getting better at time and score situations and we’ve gotten a little more poise with some of these younger kids,” Smith said of the team’s growth, “We’ve played hard all year and we’ve executed to the best of our ability but now we’re playing smarter. Our awareness and IQ has gotten better.”
Despite the loss to Rocky Hill, Middletown had already secured a spot in the Class L tournament.
Senior MacKenzie Dunn led the Blue Dragons with 18 against Rocky Hill, displaying her ability to score down low and stretch the floor with her outside shooting. Nine of her points came in the first quarter and she had 15 by halftime.
Sophomore Kya Mayo added 12 points and senior Dominque Highsmith had nine points.
The Blue Dragons responded in the next game, defeating Platt 52-40 last Thursday, led by Mayo’s 15 points and Dunn’s 11. The win improved the team to 11-8.
The Starting Five: Local Athletes of the Week
Cromwell’s 1600 Meter Relay Team (Track & Field): Andraya Yearwood, Jordan Pare, Caitlin DellaRatta, and Cara Jordan combined to win the 1600 Sprint Medley Relay at the Class S Indoor Track finals last Thursday. The foursome ran a 4:20.13, which was over three seconds faster than the second-place team from Old Saybrook. Yearwood also took home third place in the 55 Meters and teamed with Pare, Kaitlin Lewkowicz, and Melissa Woodcock for another third-place finish in the 4x200. The Panthers placed sixth overall at event, held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.
William Curran- Xavier (Track & Track): Curran won the 1000 Meters at the Class L finals, edging teammate and runner-up Peter Schulten. Xavier took home first place overall as a team at the event thanks to a strong all-round performance by the Falcons. Curran also joined forces with Christian Schaefer, James Dickman, Pierre Sylvain for first place in the 1600 Sprint Medley, and Robbie Cozean won the 3200 Meters.
Clarissa Nock- Wethersfield (Track & Field): Nock finished second in the Shot Put at the Class L finals last Friday at the Floyd Athletic Center. The junior does a little of everything for the Eagles track & field team, also completing with teammates Giuliana Serrao, Kathleen Hattie, and Kayla Condon during the 1600 Sprint Medley at the class finals.
Justin Stergos- Cromwell/Newington (Hockey): Stergos scored a pair of goals, including the go-ahead goal in the second period, as Newington co-op defeated SNLT 3-1 last Saturday. The two goals were a season-high for the junior defenseman, who has been a valuable asset for an Indians team that is 12-4 entering the week.
Najla Cecunjanin- Cromwell (Basketball): Cecunjanin had terrific back-to-back all-around games last Monday and Thursday. The junior had 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in a 62-38 victory over Valley Regional, then posted 11 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks in a 59-27 win over Morgan.
Wethersfield senior Derek Tenney scored a school record 51 points in a 90-84 win over Bloomfield last Monday night.
Stealing a line from the incomparable Sergio Dipp, Wethersfield senior Derek Tenney was ‘having the time of his life’ last Monday night when he scored a school record 51 points in a 90-84 overtime victory over Bloomfield at WHS.
“It was definitely a once in a lifetime night for me. I’ve never had a night like that before,” said Tenney, “I was feeling good the whole night and all the adrenaline kicked in, especially because the fans got louder as the game went on. The atmosphere got better, and it pushed me to keep going and my teammates helped out a lot.”
“The fact that we won made it less of an individual accomplishment and made it more of a team thing. It made me feel much better that all on my teammates were celebrating a win with me too.”
Tenney was incredible all night long, also grabbing 15 rebounds to help the Eagles earn their fifth win of the season.
“They started to double team me a little bit more in the second half, but we started moving the ball around more. If I got it back and had one guy on me, I was going to the hoop. It opened up a lot more once we started to share the ball more in the second half and our team as a whole started to score more.”
The teams needed overtime to settle the score and he broke the 50-point barrier at the free throw line in the extra session.
“We had a few easy buckets to start overtime and made our free throws at the end. We didn’t miss many free throws at all,” recalled Tenney, who made 18-20 foul shots and the team shot 90% from the line overall, “In overtime Noel Lopez stepped up, Dante Burgos got steals on defense and we kept getting stops which sealed the game for us.”
After 36 exhausting minutes, the senior swingman knew he had scored a lot of points but didn’t realize how many until they made an announcement over the loud speakers shortly after the final buzzer sounded.
“They announced it and all of my teammates came over and congratulated me. Once we got in the locker room we celebrated as a team and celebrated the win too. We went about it as a team and not as one individual.”
The memorable scoring night was the cherry on top of a must-needed win for the Eagles, who lost a lot of talent to graduation following last season’s tourney appearance and have struggled with injuries this winter. Tenney has seen his role expanded drastically this winter and he’s logging a lot of minutes on a nightly basis to fill the voids.
“Last year having two all-conference players and one that was an all-state player on the team, I was in the shadows a little bit and I didn’t have to do as much on offense or defense. The guys on the team were looking up to the other players, but now that the spotlight in on me and I’m just trying to do everything that I can to help the team out.”
Last season’s all-state player was Michael Mozzicato, who is now playing for Southern Connecticut State University. He had held the previous the school record, scoring 42 points against Windsor in last year’s season-opener.
“His dad came up after the game and he had Mikey on the phone. We were talking and laughing about it, that I broke his record. It was all love between us, there were no hurt feelings. I’ll only bring it up every once in a while,” said a smiling Tenney.
The 90 points as a team were also a season-high for the Eagles, who have shaken off an 0-3 start and are still in contention for a tournament berth.
“I think this could be a turning point in our season. We’ve had some selfishness in the locker room and it’s shown during the games at points, but I think in the last game we shared the ball more and we got easier open looks,” added Tenney, “Every though I was scoring, my teammates were getting me open. They helped me get open and I was able to make the shots. They were never negative and they just kept telling me to do my thing. That helped keep me going.”
Tenney’s career night on the hardwood is due to the long hours devoted to the sport he’s played since elementary school. But believe it or not, basketball is his second passion behind baseball.
“I started playing baseball when I was really young. My dad played in college and he put a ball in my hands when I was younger and I just rolled with it.”
As a junior he was an all-conference third baseman for an Eagles’ baseball team that captured their first state title, trouncing Windsor 16-4 last spring.
“We have a lot of retuning guys. Obviously we lost a few big pieces, we lost our best pitcher, but we have a lot of good pitching coming back. Our rotation looks deeper this year and we should have a really good team this spring.”
The multisport star has already committed to continuing his baseball career at the University of Hartford where he’ll play for head coach Justin Blood, who by the end of this spring will have the most wins in the program’s history.
“I had some interest from other colleges, but I never had any other official offers. UHart was my first one and coach Blood seemed real interested and he’s a really good coach,” stated Tenney, who is looking forward to the next challenge, “Obviously in high school it’s a little different. Some guys sign up for the sport for the fun of it but when you get to the next level, especially Division I, you know that every guy wants to be there. Everyone is competing every single day.”
But before he finishes his senior year on the diamond and leaves for Hartford, there’s some unfinished business of the courts.
The Eagles have four games remaining as they make a push at their seventh consecutive state tournament appearance.
This Thursday, Feb 7 is a road game at New Britain, tipping at 6:45, followed by back-to-back home games vs Rocky Hill (2/12) and Tolland (2/15). The team finished the regular season at Newington (2/19).
Other Hardwood Heroes
Kya Mayo- (Middletown): Mayo had her best three-game stretch of the season, scoring a season-high 22 points in a win 63-54 win over Manchester and then added 13 more as Middletown outlasted Bristol Eastern 64-61 in overtime at MHS, helping the tourney-bound Blue Dragons earn wins nine and ten. The sophomore then scored a season-high 24 points in a loss to Plainville on Friday.
Mason Romano- (Newington): Romano helped lead a comeback against Windsor last Monday, scoring 34 point, but the Indians fell 84-82 to a Warriors team that hasn’t lost in the state of Connecticut this season. The Indians got back on the winning track last Thursday with a 64-43 victory at Bulkeley, earning their 10th win on the season.
Vanessa Stolstajner- (Cromwell): Stolstajner had a dominant two-game stretch, totaling 50 points in convincing wins last Monday and Thursday. The junior scored 23 points and posted three steals in 64-42 win over Coginchaug Regional and then added 27 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two blocks in a 72-40 victory over North Branford. The wins improved the Panthers to 14-2.
Riley Donovan- (Rocky Hill): Donovan scored 22 points, which include a thunderous dunk, in a 62-56 win over Hartford Public last Friday night. The senior’s efforts helped the Terriers overcome a large second half deficit to capture their fifth win of the year.
Gabe Charleston- (Cromwell): Charleston seems to get better each week and he continued to terrorize opponents last week, helping the Panthers win three more games and remain unbeaten at 16-0. The senior started with a 14 point, 10 rebound performance in a 54-38 victory over Coginchaug Regional on Tuesday and then had 10 points, six rebounds, and five blocks in a 78-35 win over Westbrook on Thursday. He capped off his brilliant four-day stretch with 17 points in a 71-32 win over North Branford on Friday.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin