CIAC Finals Set
The CIAC Finals are set and there weren't many surprises along the way. With no team lower than a #4-seed advancing to the Mohegan Sun for Saturday's championship games, the matchups promise to be competitive and compelling.
If you didn't see the game you would think LL #1 St Joseph simply ran #5 New London off the court with their talented roster and powered their way to a 69-59 victory. But the Cadets did the little things to win, causing turnovers, taking good shots and hitting a plethora of free throws down the stretch, going 21-22 from the line in the game. James Jennings was at his absolute best, scoring 30 points on a variety of dribble drives and long range daggers. He consistently broke his defender down and used his brutal step-back jumper to score at will. Timajh Parker-Rivera stepped confidently to the line throughout the fourth quarter, went 10-10 from the line and scored 20 points of his own. The Cadets held McDonald All-American Kris Dunn to 18 points and made him defer to his teammates late in the game by putting constant pressure on the ball. Dunn never quit, leading the Whalers back from as many as 16 points in the second quarter, but St. Joe's proved to be too talented and too deep in the end. Center Pat Hopkins sealed the deal with a break-away two handed dunk late in the fourth for the Cadets.
The Cadets will face #2 Hillhouse in the LL finals after the Academics defeated Terry Tarpey's Fairfield Prep squad 60-47 without the services of lead guard Andre Anderson due to a leg injury. Bobby Bynum led Hillhouse with 23 points. Tarpey scored 16 points in the first half but was held in check after halftime and finished with 22 points and 10 boards in his high school finale for Prep. Hillhouse will look to push the tempo against St. Joe's and use their depth to attack the Cadets this weekend in what should be an exciting matchup.
Class L #1 Northwest Catholic had no problem dispensing #4 Farmington 56-33 behind Kuron Iverson's 25 points, who scored on an array of 3's and physical drives against a smaller Farmington roster who was without 6'5" senior Ben Pollock for the tourney's entirety. Farmington didn't have an answer for the 6'10" Iverson, whose ability to handle the ball like a guard and power his way to the hole like a center was and has been the difference for Northwest in this game and throughout the season. Aaron Wilson, headed to the University of Hartford on a baseball scholarship, was a defensive stalwart for Northwest and finished the game with 5 steals. Iverson and the Indians will have their hands full on Saturday when the face #2 Career in the finals though.
In what was one of the most exciting games in the tournament thus far, Career defeated a tough #3 Wilby squad, 64-63, in overtime behind Kenny Armstead's tip-in with a little over 30 seconds left in OT. Wilby ultimately shot itself in the foot, shooting 8-22 from the free throw line, but it was Armstead's presence on the glass and teammate Trayvon Moore's ability to attack the rim throughout the game that won it for Career. Armstead finished with 18 points. Wilby's Walter Wright Jr. was nothing short of phenomenal, scoring a game-high 26 points and got into the paint at will against a long Career zone defense.
Capital Prep redeemed themselves after an early-season loss to Kolbe Cathedral, winning 65-62 in a Class S semi-final matchup between the #2- and #3-seeds. Junior combo guard Kahlil Dukes stepped up once again for the Longhorns, scoring 22 points and playing dogged defense, helping to force Kolbe to 23 turnovers in the contest. Capital will face #1 Immaculate, who has raced through their side of the bracket, winning by an average of over 37-points per contest in the tournament.
All CIAC Finals will be held at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday.