Northeast Christmas Classic Event Recap
The annual Northeast Christmas Classic moved to the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard and drew a crowd of more than 2,000 people on Tuesday night.
Two of the CIAC’s top teams locked up in the opener as New London met Trinity Catholic.
The Whalers made a quick statement with their pressure defense as Kris Dunn was able to jump into passing lanes on consecutive possessions, leading to easy run-out scores.
Dunn would continue to be the story throughout the game, showing a frame that is now beginning to blossom at a rapid rate, unmatched defensive instincts, and a rapidly expanding offensive repertoire that included a pair of floaters to break Trinity Catholic’s back at the two minute mark.
Malcolm Simmons and Keith Porter showed well in a supportive role for New London, finishing with 11 and 12 points respectively. Simmons continued to play bigger than his size inside the paint while showing off a skill set that included two three-pointers and a jump hook on the block. Porter finished with body control and was a capable threat with his jumper.
Trinity Catholic was led by Jason Boswell and Kevin Leumene, who both finished with 20 points. While Boswell is the more celebrated recruit, it was Leumene who was the team’s most efficient player, making a series of open three-pointers in addition to a couple of straight line drives.
Seven-foot-sophomore center Paschal Chukwu showed his clear potential during a dominant third quarter. He asserted himself as a shot-blocker on the defensive end, while playing through contact and making free-throws on the offensive end. Schadrac Casimir scored 11 points while running the show for T.C.
Ultimately, the game saw an exciting conclusion when Dunn followed out with 54 seconds to play, but New London’s lead proved to be secure enough as they came away with a solid victory.
Tuesday’s nightcap saw hometown favorite St. Joseph’s face off against Archbishop Molloy from New York. Quincey McKnight led the charge out of the gate, scoring six first quarter points as St. Joe’s opened up a commanding 25-11 advantage.
That first quarter served as a spring board for what turned out to be a coming out party for McKnight as he scored a game high 27 points to lead St. Joe’s to the 74-63 victory.
With Timajh Parker-Rivera (14 points) and James Jennings (16 points) both forced to the bench in the second quarter, McKnight looked to assert himself more offensively, not just showing his trademark smooth open floor game but also knocking down a pair of three-pointers.
Nevertheless, Archbishop Molloy chipped away at the lead throughout the second quarter and third quarters, cutting it all the way down to five late in the third, but McKnight and Jennings would spark a decisive run to open the fourth that proved to be the difference maker.