Division I tournament: East Catholic takes off | High school sports

MANCHESTER — East Catholic High boys’ basketball coach Luke Reilly has said all season that his team has yet to play their best basketball.

After East’s 73-63 victory over Wilbur Cross in the quarterfinals of the Division I State Tournament, Reilly may not be able to tell.

East didn’t just scratch the surface of the offensive brilliance, he put a big gouge into it. East has scored in almost every way imaginable that James Naismith has ever invented – on hoop spikes, 3-point precision shooting, inside-out ball movement, outside-in ball movement, defensive goalkeeping – he has even scored when a pass bounced off East Fowler’s Preston and rolled into the basket.

Wilbur Cross, with his all-court pressure, cut East’s lead to 69-61 with 1:06 to play, but by then East had built up enough offensive inventory to start planning. his trip to the Division I semi-finals on Wednesday.

East, seeded eighth with an 18-6 record, will face fourth-seeded Fairfield Prep, who edged past Norwich Free Academy, 57-55 on a 3-point buzzer-beater from Ryan Presiano. The tip site and time will be announced. Cross, ranked 16th, ends the year with a 14-10 record.

East made his reservation for the big dance with a nearly flawless first half, highlighted by James Jones, who scored 15 of his 25 points in 16 minutes. His arsenal included tips, layups – even a three-pointer. Robert Elliott dominated around the rim for seven points in the first half while Luke Reilly connected on four consecutive three-point bombs. East threw more daggers at Cross than you’d see in a Wild West show.

“We talked about playing our best playoff basketball, and I think the first half reflected that,” Reilly said. “They played the right way. And took care of the ball. The two things I’m most proud of are our rebounds and the way we played defense. I think our rebound was the key to the game .

East passed Cross, 39-15, with Jones knocking down 17 boards. It was dominance in an area that East didn’t think he was dominating.

“I think the rebound was the difference in the game,” Cross coach Kevin Walton said. “It definitely hurt us.”

“We just went out and got the rebounds,” Elliott said. “We trusted each other and continued to play as a team.”

Allyn Wright led the attack and scored 13 and Leondre Sanchez pumped in nine.

In the first half, one player did not have a warm hand, everyone had it. East accomplished this explosion without the services of his best shot, Sam Reilly, who suffered a foot injury.

“In the first half, our tips and three-point shots saved us,” said the 6-foot-4 Jones. “Their press bothered us a bit, but we got through it in the end.”

Jones’ mega-play didn’t surprise him.

“It’s what I do every day in training,” Jones said.

Thanks to his performance on Monday, East can continue training.

“Everything we do during the season is aimed at making us a better team at the end of the season,” Reilly said. “Today everyone contributed. If we play the game the right way and involve everyone, we believe we can beat anyone.

The Division I Final Four is a good place to prove it.

“We just want to win one straight,” Jones said.

If so, the state championship game is right around the corner.

WILBUR CROSS (63): Jamel Lee, 3 0-1 6; Eljiah Jean-Guillaume, 6 2-2 14; Camar’ee Williams, 4 1-2 9; Christian McClease, 3 2-2 7; Jarel Delgado, 7 8-9 25; Christopher Van Tassel 0 0-0 0; Craig Quest, 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 13-16 63.

Three-point goals: Delgado (3), McClease.

CATHOLIC EAST (73): Robert Elliott, 5 0-1 11; Leondre Sanchez, 3 2-2 9; Allyn Wright, 6 0-1 13; Luke Reilly, 4 1-2 13; James Jones, 10 4-5 25; Preston Fowler, 1 0-0 2 Totals: 29 7-11 73.

Three-point goals: Elliott, Sanchez, Reilly (4).

WILBUR’S CROSS 10 17 14 22 — 63

IS CATHOLIC 21 18 18 16 — 73

WINDSOR 62, RIDGEFIELD 58. Sixth-seeded Windsor knew what he was getting into when he traveled to No. 3 Ridgefield for a Division I tournament quarter-final match on Monday. On January 22, the Warriors picked up a 65-62 win over the Tigers.

The rematch proved to be just as difficult.

After watching a 17-point second-quarter lead fade, Windsor closed on a 9-1 streak to erase a four-point deficit and advance to the semis.

The Warriors (20-4) will face No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined for a berth in the title game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Tyler Betsey had 25 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots for Windsor. Rashawn Tibby added 20 points and three assists.

Windsor led 21-9 after one quarter, 34-17 midway through the second and 36-22 at halftime. Ridgefield (22-3) then scored the first six points of the third quarter and was within 49-44 going into the fourth.

The Tigers took their first lead on a Ben Klotz field goal and a Justin DiFabio 3-pointer, his second of the game, made it 57-53.

Betsey responded with two tied baskets and Raymond Rodriguez nailed a basket to put the Warriors ahead in the final minute. Dylan Veillette’s free throw with nine seconds left made it 60-58. Betsey was then fouled and both free throws on second put the game away.

Johnathon Pierce didn’t score but had eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

Veillette had 22 points for Ridgefield and Matt Knachel added 12.

WINDSOR (62): Tyler Betsey 10 4-4 25; Rashawn Tibby 8 2-2 ​​20; Prince Samuels 2 1-2 5; Quintin Floyd 0 0-0 0; Raymond Rodriguez 3 0-0 7; Jakeel Martin 1 0-0 3; Johnathon Pierce 0 0-0 0; Anthony Williams 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 7-8 62.

Three-point goals: Betsey, Tibby (2), Martin, Rodriguez.

RIDGEFIELD (58): Justin DiFabio 3 0-0 8; Alister Walsh 2 0-0 4; Evan Kozdeba 1 2-2 4; Carson Lust 1 0-0 2; Dylan Veillette 10 2-4 22; Ben Klotz 2 0-0 4; Matt Knachel 7 0-0 14. Totals: 26 4-6 58.

Three-point goals: DiFabio (2).

WINDSOR 21 15 13 13 — 62

RIDGEFIELD 9 13 22 14 — 58

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