It was quite the night in Class LL (tournament brackets here) where anything could, and did happen. I had a Seth-Davis-like “Tournament Central” seat at the home offices in Bridgeport (my boss, Geno, needed help answering phones).
So I hung back and watched the virtual carnage unfold courtesy the dudes at Birdseye Sports
First, as you can all read in this (mildly amusing) eulogy by Joe “Hoops” Morelli Hillhouse has indeed packed it in early at home against league rival local boys Fairfield Prep. Down 13 early, thanks in part to Prep’s emotional guard Tavonne Reid‘s play, Hillhouse finally decided to show up and actually took a 1-point lead with a minute left. But Reid and Brian Murphy (edit) put Prep out in front by three with foul shots and Prep’s defense did the rest.
And so the two-time defending champions have fallen. We feel your pain, Hoops. We feel it.
Elsewhere: SHU-bound center Nick Greenbacker and two-time runner up East Catholic, a giant killer which made its name by upsetting Harding in 2006 and losing to Hillhouse in two straight finals, also exited the tournament with a two-point loss to Cheshire. And instead of a Hillhouse-East rematch, we get Cheshire-Prep. Prep beat Cheshire twice. “And that’s what makes me nervous,” said Prep coach Rich Lee.
Newtown, which saw its 11-game win streak to start the season end against Masuk, repaid the favor by ending Masuk’s season and the stellar career of another SHU-bound player in Steve Zazuri .
New Britain upset eighth-seeded Glastonbury which is notable because now St. Joseph, which saw its hopes at two home games dashed by Central on the last day of the regular season, ironically gets another home game after crushing Southington 82-65.
Though we never heard from Central, Birdseye peeps reported that the Hilltoppers–who got Jerome Parkins back from a hamstring injury–had a two point lead with a minute left in regulation but couldn’t hold on. In overtime, Holy Cross went ahead by three and it was Central’s turn to come back, but it couldn’t in losing 66-64.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… stop the tournament. I wanna get off.
Elsewhere, Harding beat Simsbury and will take the long road to face NFA and R.J. Evans. …Xavier won and will host Bassick. Greenwich struggled to beat Danbury, but did and now take to the road to face the hottest team in the tournament, newly crowned NVL champion Crosby, which absolutely dismantled West Haven too much (115)-not enough (65). …Greg Mangano and Notre Dame-WH pulled away from pesky Stamford late, and now hosts (or, plays host to) Holy Cross. …Finally, Trinity Catholic took care of McMahon and now hosts Torrington, an 11-point winner over dribble-driving East Hartford.
By the way, Newtown will face the winner of Amity/Windsor, which was postponed because of a tragic car accident involving two Amity students late Monday night on the Wilbur Cross Parkway. Our hearts and prayers to the families of the two young men, especially from me being an Amity grad (1994).
And, finally, Stratford beat Brookfield in Class M. We heard there was some pushing and shoving in that one, but nothing that bears further mention. The Red Devils face Waterford, last year’s runner up, in the second round for the right to face the winner of Bullard-Havens/Sheehan in the quarterfinals.
Back to the big tournament, where the second round begins Thursday night
No. 16 Newtown (16-5) vs. Windsor/Amity winner, 3/6, 7:00; No. 25 New
Britain (10-11) at No. 9 St. Joseph (17-4), 3/6, 7:00; No. 13 Holy
Cross (17-4) at No. 4 Notre Dame-West Haven (19-2), 3/6, 7:00; No. 12
Torrington (17-4) at No. 5 Trinity Catholic (18-3), 3/6, 7:00.
No. 15 Harding (16-5) at No. 2 Norwich Free Academy (20-1), 3/6,
7:00; No. 10 Bassick (17-4) at No. 7 Xavier (17-4), 3/6, 7:00; No. 14
Greenwich (16-5) at No. 3 Crosby (20-1), 3/6, 7:00; No. 27 Cheshire
(10-11) at No. 22 Fairfield Prep (12-9), 3/6, 7:00.
Off to cover hockey games tonight.