Connecticut Hoops Challenge - Event Recap

Cody Hatt | Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Connecticut Hoops Challenge - Event Recap

Eight of the CIAC's top programs met at Central Connecticut State University on Monday for the second annual Connecticut Hoops Challenge. 

Game of the Day: Northwest Catholic 60  East Catholic 45

In one of Connecticut’s fiercest schoolboy rivalries, East Catholic would match-up with Northwest Catholic in front of a raucous local crowd in what turned out to be a highly competitive contest.  With the two teams battling each other in a physical brand of play early, East Catholic’s Rohan Brown would hit a three to give the Eagles a five point lead, at 12-7, midway through the first quarter.  Northwest Catholic’s super-talented sophomore Kuran Iverson would begin to show why he is a consensus top five player in the national class of 2013, dominating the defensive glass and taking the ball end-to-end with a controlled dribble to locate open teammates and finish in traffic at the rim on multiple occasions.  After a 10-0 run propelled the Indians to a marginal lead midway through the second quarter, Brown would hit a smooth mid-range jumper to pull East Catholic within six, at 27-21, with under a minute to play in the half.  Freshman point-guard Winston Morgan would drill a triple on the ensuing Eagles possession to cut the Northwest Catholic cushion in half and make the score 27-24 heading in the break.

With both teams coming out of the locker room refusing to let the other get out to a comfortable lead, Brown would convert on a tough putback bucket to keep East Catholic within five, at 33-28, with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.  Iverson would continue to dazzle the crowd with a variety of creative moves to the basket, but East Catholic would refuse to go away, as six-foot-three guard Tyler Veretto knocked down a three to cut the lead to just two, at 35-33, with under a minute to play in the period.  The final quarter, however, would belong entirely to Iverson and Northwest Catholic, as the six-foot-eight point-forward was the centerpiece of several spectacular finishes, including a monster two-hand dunk off a backboard lob from Zack Lewis in transition, that would balloon the Indians’ lead to double-figures midway through the final period.  Iverson and company would handle late East Catholic pressure and eventually cruise to a convincing, 60-45 victory.

Iverson finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in a dominant all-around effort for Northwest Catholic, with J.C. Carr and Lewis adding 13 and 12 respectively.  Brown led all scorers with 23 points for East Catholic, to go along with 13 from Veretto.

Top Performers

Chris Borea (St. Paul Catholic)- The five-foot eight guard finished with a game-high 23 points, including five threes, in St. Paul’s blow-out victory over Sacred Heart.

Jake Martin (Sacred Heart)- One of few offensive bright spots for Sacred Heart, the six-foot-two forward finished with 16 points on a variety of  buckets from the mid-range area and strong finishes in the paint.

Timmy Blair (Newington)- Finishing with a game-high 23 points, including six threes, in his team’s victory over a young, talented New Britain team, Blair possesses good size and skill on the perimeter for a young player in the class of 2013.  At six-foot-two, he is still maturing physically and has a pure outside stroke and polished overall skill-set that could make him an extremely tough cover down the road with added muscle to his long, lean frame.

Daequan Clark (New Britain)-  A long, rangy guard with solid quickness and impressive overall athleticism, the six-foot-two sophomore shook defenders with a creative handle and finished from a variety of angles at the rim.  While he’s still maturing physically and has a tendency to over-dribble and settle for low-percentage shots from the perimeter rather than attacking efficiently with his bounce, Clark has the natural talent to develop into a volume scorer, while also showing signs of committing as a lock down perimeter defender on the other end.

Craven Johnson (New Britain)- Just a freshman, the six-foot-two forward makes up for his lack of vertical size with a wide, strong frame that he uses to carve out space on the interior, establish solid seals on the low block, and bull his way through defenders for scores through contact.  Showcasing soft hands and nimble feet, Johnson caught the ball on the move in traffic and utilized an efficient gather dribble to create a solid base and power his way to the rim.

Kuran Iverson (Northwest Catholic)- The top-ranked player in New England and the number two ranked player overall in the national class of 2013, according to ESPN, the six-foot-eight forward was sensational in Northwest Catholic’s victory over rival East Catholic on Monday, scoring the ball with flare in traffic and orchestrating a series of easy scores after drawing two off the dribble.  With the potential to be as good as he wants to be, Iverson (26 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists) displayed a developing feel as an attacking facilitator and, as he continues to mature into his long, lean frame, his supreme size and polished perimeter skill-set could make him one of the most coveted prospects to come of New England in the past several years.

Zach Lewis (Northwest Catholic)-  A cerebral presence handling the ball with good length and quickness, Lewis is often overshadowed by the spectacular play of Iverson, but he impressed on Monday with his ability to consistently get into the paint and dump the ball down for easy scores or finish himself at the rim.  A tenacious on-ball defender, Lewis pressures opponents chin-to-chest and creates turnovers off deflections for easy run-outs in transition.

Rohan Brown (East Catholic)- The most impressive college prospect at the event, with the exception of Iverson, the six-foot-five wing is a long, explosive athlete with an aggressive mindset as a versatile scorer capable of hitting from behind the arc and attacking with a quick burst off the bounce.  Possessing an array of physical tools, Brown (game-high 23 points) has a nice feel and exercises a relentless motor in attacking the glass on both ends of the floor and following his own misses for tough putback scores.

Mike Fraylon (Windsor)- A strong athlete at six-foot-three, Fraylon simply out-muscled smaller Manchester defenders and used an acrobatic tough to convert on a series of drives to the basket.  Finishing with a game-high 17 points and 10 boards, he’s a solid area rebounder and has the athletic versatility to get down in a stance to guard smaller guards and body bigger forwards on the block.

Kavohn Townsend (Manchester)- The five-foot-ten lead guard showed quickness and creativity off the bounce, shaking his defender with a variety of crossover moves and using a quick burst to penetrate the lane and finish at the rim.  Despite a tendency to over-dribble at times, Townsend (team-high 16 points) has natural attacking instincts and could develop into a solid playmaker within the right system at the next level.


St. Paul Catholic 70  Sacred Heart 44

Newington 64  New Britain 54

Northwest Catholic 60  East Catholic 45

Windsor 68  Manchester 54