Glastonbury junior captain Connor O’Leary is defended by Trumbull’s Sean Racette in the 4th quarters on last week at GHS. The Guardians would lose the game in overtime, eliminating them from the state tournament.
The boys basketball team at Glastonbury High School played three solid quarters at GHS and then ran out of gas in the Division II state tournament, losing 59-55 in overtime to Trumbull on March 7.
Leading 29-28 at the half, Glastonbury came out of the halftime locker room on a mission and scored six of the first nine points of the second half.
Junior captain Connor O’Leary scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter as the Guardians took a 43-38 advantage into the fourth.
Then the well dried up as Glastonbury managed only two points over the final eight minutes of regulation.
O’Leary had a chance to give Glastonbury the lead in the closing seconds of regulation but his shot rimmed in-and-out before Trumbull’s Ryan Johnston was just off the mark on a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer.
After Brandon Fowler providing the visiting Eagles a 47-45 advantage in overtime, O’Leary tied it with a pull-up jumper, but a 7-0 scoring run by Trumbull secured the lead for good in the extra session.
Johnston led Trumbull with 17 points, while Fowler and Sean Racette each added 13.
Glastonbury sophomore David Smith scored 16 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds in the loss.
“We missed shots,” said GHS head coach Jim Vaughan, whose team made only three shots in the fourth quarter and overtime. “We got tired and we started to miss.”
Vaughan added that the team missed Adam Molusis, who was the team’s point guard and has been sidelined since February.
Molusis was one of five seniors on Vaughan’s roster this year, joining Jordyn Sams, Owen Peterson, Gage Haines, Brendan Hutt as players who will be graduating this spring.
Sams, a team captain, allowed the Guardians to take control of the game in the second quarter by scoring eight straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers. He was the ultimate utility player this winter, starring on defense and finishing the tourney game with five rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals before fouling out in overtime.
Despite battling a slew of injuries the last two seasons, Vaughan said his handful of seniors were instrumental in evaluating the program back to pre-pandemic levels.
“They played hard and they are a great group. I will miss them,” added Vaughan. “They got us back to where we should be. We had a long year last year because of injuries, but we are back to where we need to be.”
The team won 14 of 20 games in the regular season, winning the first four games to start the season and going on a six-game winning streak during February.
Vaughan won his 300th career game during February’s win-streak when the team defeated E.O. Smith on Valentine’s Day.
“If we were whole I thought we would have a real good chance to win a bunch of games in this tournament, but every game we are trying to piece it together who is going to handle the ball and who is going to do what,” reflected Vaughan.
The team’s 15 total wins was the most the team has had since the 2019-2020 season. They should be strong again next season with the return of the team’s two leading scorers in O’Leary and Smith.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin