CPTV Sports Tip-Off Classic - Event Recap
The inaugural CPTV Tip Off Classic feature four of the more storied programs in the state of Connecticut squaring off in matchups that fans across the state aren’t accustomed to seeing until March, if they’re lucky.
In the night’s first game, Crosby set the tone early with constant defensive pressure and unselfish ball movement, piling up points the most efficient ways possible: fast break layups and open 3-pt shots. Their pressure and efficiency resulted in a 29-5 Crosby lead at the end of the 1st Quarter and a 53-25 margin at the half. The breakneck pace didn’t let up in the second half as Crosby rolled to a 90-56 victory at Maloney High School in Meriden
Leading the way for Bulldogs was 5'9" senior PG Jordan Booker, whose consistent stroke from beyond the arc and nose for the ball on defense resulted in 28 points and 5 steals in just 26 minutes of play. With his performance in front of Fairfield assistant coach and former New London Whaler Tyson Wheeler, Booker's recruitment should see an increase in both activity and level of interest. Booker can find a nice role at the next level as a change-of-pace guard who provides a powerful offensive spark. Playing without his wingman, junior Ty Sands, who sat out with a minor knee injury, Booker wasn’t the only Crosby player rose to the occasion. 6"4 senior Roary Judusingh filled up the box score with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. New London also didn't have an answer for 6'4" junior Jeremiah Kendall, who embodied Crosby's efficiency, shooting a clean 10-13 from the field and finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Senior forward Tyrell Martinez led the way for New London battled all night and finished with 19 points (7-10 FG, 5-6 FT), 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
The nightcap was the main event of this year’s CPTV Tip Off Classic, featuring two of the premier high school programs in the state, as Hartford’s Weaver HS faced off against New Haven’s Hillhouse HS. Reggie Hatchett’s Weaver squad petitioned the CIAC to jump two levels and play in the Class LL State Tournament, after winning the Class M title last season, and his team justified that decision on Tuesday night.
The first half was played at a hectic pace with both team’s offenses bothered by their opponents’ length, physicality, and quickness defensively. Carrying a 33-28 lead into the 3rd quarter, Weaver’s KeAndre Fair decided to take over. Fair, who scored his 1,500th career point earlier in the game, put on an offensive clinic, scoring from all three levels and using his newly formed powerful physique to play through contact and grab rebounds in traffic. His late-3rd and early-4th quarter barrage of layups, pullups, and long range bombs allowed Weaver to expand their 5-point halftime lead into a 77-55 victory, although the game was much closer than the final score suggests. While Fair was undoubtedly Weaver’s X-factor, he had plenty of help.
6’6” Junior big man Andre Lyons blocked four shots on Hillhouse’s first two possessions of the game and set the physical tone that Weaver was looking for. Although he would be in and out of the game with foul trouble, Lyons finished with a handful of rebounds and blocks to go along with 7 points. As long as he can stay out of foul trouble moving forward, expect to see Lyons’ numbers and recruiting interest increase as the season goes on.
The Martin Brothers - 6’2” wing Chelyn Martin and 5’10” guard Jacee Martin - wreaked havoc all night long finishing with 18 and 12 points respectively. But it was their bulldog defense and aggression that allowed Weaver to take a commanding second half lead and roll to victory. 6’6” junior big man Jaquan Williams played well off the bench, providing Weaver with 12 points and a post presence defensively.
While Hillhouse struggled to get into an offensive flow all night long, it was obvious who will be depended upon to lead this team deep into March. 6’2” junior point guard Joe Kasperzyk played his usual hyper up-tempo style that will surely give opposing teams nightmares throughout the ’15-’16 season. While Kasperyk was aggravated by Weaver’s toughness and physical defensive style all night long, he still proved that he’s one of CT’s top juniors and a prospect to keep an eye on moving forward. Kasperzyk finished with 20 points and scored on a variety of creative moves in the lane and long range daggers. Byron Breland and Tyler Douglas both showed flashes of potential as well.
Despite Kasperyk’s best efforts, the night ultimately belonged to Reggie Hatchett’s Weaver squad. The Beavers took the court with the purpose of sending an early season message to the rest of the state that they’re ready to face any team, anywhere and anytime. After their performance on Tuesday night, that message was heard loud and clear.
Below are some of the video highlights of the night, care of the CPTV Sports YouTube page: