Victor Payne - Cromwell (Basketball): Payne was named the Shoreline Conference (SLC) Player of the Year and saved his best performances for the conference tournament as the Panthers won a second straight SLC title with a victory over Portland on March 3. In a 68-43 semifinals win over Morgan to reach the conference title game, Payne scored 33 points including an alley-oop dunk off backboard in the first minute of the game to ignite the home crowd at CHS. The junior’s performance in the title win over Portland was even more impressive. After being held to two points in the first half, Payne exploded for 33 points over the final 16 minutes as the Panthers erased a halftime deficit and cruised to a 58-43 victory. Payne and the Panthers now turn their attention to the Division IV state tournament where the earned a No. 1 seed and a first round bye. They will host a second round game tonight (March 9) at CHS, tipping at 6:30 p.m. Cromwell is seeking their first state championship since 2018.
Evan Howard- Canton/Newington (Ice Hockey): Howard had a night to remember, scoring three goals as the Nor’easters co-op—featuring players for Newington, Cromwell, Berlin, Canton, and Manchester—won the CCC South Championship by defeating Conard 5-3 on March 4. It was the second time this season that Howard, a senior from Canton, netted a hat trick. Cole Brandon and Evan Oliver also scored in the title triumph. Cromwell’s Harrison Ranger was instrumental in setting up the goals, dishing out four assists. Heading into the state tournament, the Nor’easters have won 20 of 22 games this winter.
Nevaeh Clark - Cromwell (Basketball): Clark scored a career-high 23 points and hauled down 13 rebounds as the Panthers eliminated New Fairfield in the second round of the Class M state tournament on March 3 at CHS. Clark, a senior, was aggressive from the opening tip, making 13 of 14 foul shots and shooting over 50% from the field. The Panthers were playing their second tournament game in three days after knocking off Griswold 75-32 in the opening round behind senior Adela Cecunjanin, who scored 22 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds in only 22 minutes.
Matt Ruck - Wethersfield (Ice Hockey): Ruck, a junior goalie, posted his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over Northwest Catholic in the CCC-North semifinals on March 1. Jack Millen scored the game’s only goal with an assist by his brother Sean Millen, advancing the Eagles to the conference championship. In the conference title game, Wethersfield battled Simsbury to three overtime periods before falling 4-3 in triple OT. Despite the loss, sophomore Owen Thulen was outstanding in net for the Eagles, making 47 saves. Jack Millen, Anthony Ruck, and Nick Fretz (first varsity goal) each scored for Wethersfield.
Kendall Miller - Newington (Basketball): Miller did a little over everything for the Nor’easters in the team’s 61-20 second round Class LL tournament victory over Ridgefield on March 3. Miller, a sophomore, posted a six-point, nine-rebound, six-assist, six-steal, four-block night to help Newington advance to the quarterfinals. Senior Brianna Gadarowski led the scoring charge, knocking down five 3-pointers to score a game-high 21 points, and sophomore Bella Cucuta added 20 points.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin