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Northwest Connecticut high school basketball news, stats, tidbits and analysis from the Register Citizen sports department.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Four area boys make CHSCA All-State teams

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Four boys basketball players from Litchfield County made a Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Team. Two of those players were from Gilbert. Senior center Austin Brochu was First Team All-State in Class S while junior guard Robert Skinner was named to the Second Team in 'S'.
Northwestern junior guard/forward John Stevens made the Second Team in 'S' while Shepaug Valley senior forward Eddie Kelly was named to Class S's All-Academic Team.
Of note, Tyler Veretto, grandson of former Northwestern head basketball coach Leon Veretto, was named to the Class L First Team and the 'L' All-Academic Team.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Former Torrington native Desmond Williams plays for junior college Division II national title tonight

Former Torrington standout Desmond Williams is making a name for himself at Division II Community College of Rhode Island.
Williams had 41 points, 12 rebounds, 9 steals, 3 assists and 1 block in an overtime win in the Final Four on Friday night. Tonight, Williams and CCRI play for the national championship. To read more, click here.
Check back later tonight for more.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gilbert's Austin Brochu puts up double-double in final game

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
Gilbert senior standout center Austin Brochu picked a great way to close out his high school basketball career Wednesday evening during the S/M (Class S and Class M) all-star game at Meriden's Maloney High School.
Brochu had 19 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. The double-double isn't surprising given that was what Brochu was known for during his senior season, where he averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds per game, according to stats posted on
Brochu capped his night with this dunk in the final 30 seconds of the game.
Brochu had 11 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in the first half. His S/M West team defeated the East 123-95. Teammate Jaquann Starks of Classical Magnet was the game's MVP with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
To read more about Brochu, click here.
Brochu now puts his focus on baseball, where he is a strong pitcher for the Yellowjackets. Brochu could be a Division I baseball player.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Gilbert's Austin Brochu playing in all-star game this evening in Meriden; Northwestern's Doug Sebach coaching

Register Citizen file art
It will be an unusual Berkshire League connection this evening at the boys 2012 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Senior All-Star Festival at Meriden's Maloney High School.
Gilbert senior center Austin Brochu will be suiting up for the S/M (Class S/Class M) West team, which is coached by Northwestern's Doug Sebach and Woodland's Tom Hunt.
For the record, the Yellowjackets won all three meetings against the Highlanders this season.
This evening's all-star game between S/M West and S/M East is slated to begin at 6:15. The L/LL West vs. L/LL East game is scheduled to start at 8.
Brochu was a consistent double-double machine for Gilbert throughout his career. He averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds per game during his senior season, according to stats posted on Very few defenses could hold the 6-5 Brochu down.
Brochu will be teammates with Immaculate's Dan McCorkle during this evening's game. McCorkle and the Mustangs ended the Yellowjackets' season in the Class S quarterfinals on their way to a state championship.
I will be there this evening to recap Brochu's stellar career. The story will appear in Thursday's Register Citizen.
You should also look for a follow-up to Northwestern's solid season in Friday's edition of The Register Citizen. The Highlanders made the semifinals for just the second time in school history this year. I will be talking to Coach Sebach to get his take on his team's season, as well as an early peek at next year.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Torrington girls basketball team honors seniors, celebrates season

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
The Torrington girls basketball team celebrated another successful season Sunday evening at P.Sam’s banquet hall at Eastwood Country Club.
The Lady Raiders honored the season put together by varsity team members Aly Otis, Caycee Williams, Mariah Cerruto, Emily Eanniello, Mollie Bartles, Morgan Thulin, Dia O’Brien, Nicole Kozlak, Megan Calabrese, Caroline Teti, Mika Howard, Olivia Morrison and Paige Middleton. Torrington also celebrated successful campaigns at the junior varsity and freshmen levels.
THS graduates Otis, Williams, Cerruto, Eanniello, Bartles, Thulin and O’Brien.
To read more about the banquet and what was said, click here.

Here are some more quotes from Sunday evening’s festivities:

"It was just a pleasure to watch the girls play. It was a lot of fun."
  • Torrington athletic director Janet Giampaolo
“You guys were my first freshmen group. I’m so excited to see what the future has in store for you, so good luck.”
  • freshmen coach Barbara Beebe talking about the seniors
“It’s always sad to see you go, but you’re moving on to bigger and better things. We had a lot of laughs.
  • assistant coach Erika Pratt talking about the seniors
“We have a great group of kids. They make me laugh every day. There are days they make me cry, and there are days they make me angry. But, all in all, and I say this every year, when we get done, they’re always going to remember the good times.”
  • head coach Mike Fritch
“Seeing all my little cousins sprint across the floor to give me a hug after my game is a feeling I’ll never forget.”
  • Torrington senior Mariah Cerruto
“It was like we never stopped playing after eighth grade PAL.”
  • Torrington senior Caycee Williams talking about returning to the Raiders after spending her first three years of high school at Wamogo
“Wow girls, this is really it. We’ve gone through so much this year.”
  • Torrington senior Morgan Thulin
“Mr. Fritch, thank you for always being a good sport when we played pranks on you.”
  • Torrington senior Emily Eanniello
“We wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without the coaches pushing us.”
  • Torrington senior Mollie Bartles
- Kevin D. Roberts

Monday, March 12, 2012

No. 5 Northwestern faces top-seeded Immaculate in Class S semifinal

Photo credit: Jennifer Royals
The No. 5 Northwestern boys basketball team takes on a big challenge on Tuesday night when they face top-seeded Immaculate of Danbury in a Class S state semifinal at Plainville High School. The game starts at 7.
The Highlanders have spent plenty of time in practice working on rebounding fundamentals, most of all boxing out. They will need to do plenty of that against a Mustang team that has seven players 6’2” or taller. That includes 6’8” senior center Vitor Melo, 6’7” Connor Holbrook and a well-built Sheldon Irving at 6’5”.
In last Friday’s quarterfinal against No. 8 Gilbert, Immaculate pounded the glass on the way to a 92-54 rout of the Yellowjackets. The Highlanders would like not to see the same thing play out against them.
Northwestern (20-4) will need to pressure Immaculate (24-1) and create turnovers. The Highlanders also hope that the Mustangs aren’t hitting from the outside.
With Immaculate, it’s a case of pick your poison. The Mustangs can pound opponents inside and Dan McCorkle showed he can shoot from the outside.  Northwestern will need to limit offensive rebounds, but they also need to be aware of where McCorkle is.
Northwestern fared well against the pressure defense of No. 4 Classical Magnet in last Friday’s quarterfinal, so they’ve had experience dealing with tenacious defense. What’s different about Immaculate is the height it brings to the table.
There’s not much the Highlanders can do about the height of the Mustangs. What Northwestern must do is get the best position and force Immaculate to go over the top of them.
On offense, the Highlanders look to knock down more shots than their counterparts from Gilbert did.
The bottom line is Northwestern needs to get off to a good start and keep it going.
To read  and watch  what Northwestern’s Connor Guiheen, John Stevens and Jake Plitt had to say about tonight’s game, click here.
To read more about Northwestern’s exciting win over Classical, click here.
For more on Immaculate’s impressive effort against Gilbert, click here.
Reporter Peter Wallace will be covering the game. Follow his updates on Twitter @PWallaceSports and @nwctsports.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Former Torrington High star Sarah Royals headed to NCAA tournament

Photo courtesy of Associated Press
This is normally a blog for high school basketball, but I want to take time out to spotlight a former Torrington High School star Sarah Royals.
It has been a year to remember for Royals, who is a freshman at the University at Albany. On Saturday night, the Lady Danes played in the America East Tournament's championship game against the University of Maryland Baltimore County. At stake was an NCAA Tournament berth.
Royals may not have had her best game (16 minutes, 0 points, 0-for-1 FGs, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 foul, 2 turnovers), but Albany topped UMBC to claim its first-ever America East title and NCAA tournament bid.
To read more about the game and Royals' numbers leading into Saturday night's game, click here.
Albany finds out who it will play in the NCAA Tournament on Monday night when the seedings are announced at 7 on ESPN.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Gilbert boys season ends with Class S state quarterfinal loss to Immaculate

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
The No. 8 Gilbert boys basketball team ran into a buzzsaw in top-seeded Immaculate on Friday night in a Class S state quarterfinal matchup at Immaculate High School in Danbury. The Mustangs won the game 92-54.
Senior center Austin Brochu had 12 points and 12 rebounds in his final game for Gilbert. Junior guard Robert Skinner had 18 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds while junior guard Luis Cordova chipped in 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Seniors JP Duluc, Mitch Maher, Devon Molway, Robert Smith and Dan Williams also played in their final games for the Yellowjackets.
To read more about Friday's game, click here.
Gilbert may have had a rough ending to its season, but the Yellowjackets still put together a 20-5 record. Gilbert won 11 straight games. They finished the regular season with seven straight victories, then won both games in the Berkshire League Tournament to grab the title.
Gilbert won the BL title in stunning fashion over Northwestern by erasing a nine-point deficit in the final 2:32 of the fourth quarter. The Yellowjackets then took control of the game in overtime and beat the Highlanders for the third time in three tries.
Gilbert knocked off No. 25 Wamogo 79-73 in the first round of Class S, then defeated Goodwin Tech 88-75 in a high-scoring contest in the second round.
Skinner and Brochu both played big in the first two rounds. Skinner had 23 points against Wamogo, then lit up Goodwin Tech for 43 points. Brochu put up 27 points, 16 rebounds and 4 steals against the Warriors, then pounded the Gladiators for 26 more points.
Facing a ton of pressure on Friday night, Skinner led the Yellowjackets with 18 points. Brochu battled his way to 12 points and 12 rebounds while dealing with a much larger Immaculate front line.
Immaculate has plenty of height, quickness and depth, and is at the forefront of contenders for the Class S state title. The championship would be their first since 1976. The Mustangs face Gilbert's archrival Northwestern, the No. 5 seed, in a state semifinal next Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined.

- Kevin D. Roberts

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gilbert-Immaculate: Keys to the game

Here are the keys to the game for the No. 8 Gilbert boys in their Class S state quarterfinal against top-seeded Immaculate tonight in Danbury. 

  • Senior center Austin Brochu has been a force on the backboards all season, but he needs a lot of help tonight. Immaculate has seven players on its roster that are 6'2" or taller. Vitor Melo is 6'8" and will be a handful underneath. To stay in the game, the Yellowjackets must crash the glass as a team. Five Gilbert players must hit the defensive boards on every possession to try to eliminate second-chance opportunities for the Mustangs.
  • Brochu and Skinner have lit up opposing defenses all season, but they will need help from other players tonight for Gilbert to be in the game and have a chance to win. Brochu could have a tough night scoring inside against the large front line of the Mustangs, and it's a certainty that Skinner will garner plenty of attention. Luis Cordova, Dan Williams and Devon Molway are likely going to get more open looks throughout the game. They will need to take those shots and knock them down for Gilbert to have a chance.
  •  Brochu and Skinner absolutely have to stay out of foul trouble. Brochu is the only real height that Gilbert has inside, and Skinner is a game-changer from the outside. If either one gets in foul trouble, the Yellowjackets are in trouble.
  • According to what I've read about the Mustangs, they are a big, athletic team that tends to out-muscle their opponents inside. They also play tough defense. Gilbert must not allow Immaculate to dominate the game inside, and the Yellowjackets must also avoid big runs. The Mustangs have lost just once all season in the tough South-West Conference and are a very dangerous team. Gilbert must avoid having a small run turn into a larger burst, or it will be very hard to make a comeback. The Yellowjackets do have the ability to rally from large deficits - they trailed Northwestern by 15 or more points twice this season, including 20 in the first meeting, and won both games - but they don't want to fall too far behind against Class S's top seed.
- Kevin D. Roberts

Live chat tonight for Gilbert-Immaculate boys Class S state quarterfinal

Register Citizen file art
The No. 8 Gilbert boys basketball team travels to Danbury tonight to face top-seeded Immaculate in a Class S state quarterfinal at 7.
Join Assistant Sports Editor Kevin D. Roberts for a live chat beginning at 6:45 from Immaculate. Make your voice heard. Tell us who you think will win the game tonight, and why, if you want to. We would love to hear from you. 
To get to the live chat, click here.

Here’s how each team made it to the quarterfinals:

The Yellowjackets defeated No. 25 Wamogo 79-73 in the first round at The Gilbert School on Monday. On Wednesday, Gilbert defeated No. 9 Goodwin Tech (New Britain) in a high-scoring contest, 88-75. Robert Skinner poured in 43 points against the Gladiators. Austin Brochu had 26.

The Mustangs received a first round bye, then hammered No. 16 Windsor Locks 82-32 in the second round on Wednesday in Danbury. Four players scored in double figures for Immaculate, according to a story in the Danbury News-Times written by Rick Casagrande. Senior forward Felipe Teixeira and senior forward Brian Hatcher each had 12 points, center Vitor Melo scored 11, and senior guard Daniel McCorkle tallied 10 for the Mustangs, according to Casagrande’s article.
Immaculate has plenty of height with seven players on the roster listed at 6’2” or taller. Melo is the tallest at 6’8”, Hatcher is 6’5” and Teixeira is 6’3”. McCorkle is a 5’11” guard.
Gilbert’s tallest player is senior center Austin Brochu, who is listed at 6’4”. 

- Kevin D. Roberts

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Some final thoughts from Torrington-Berlin girls Class L state quarterfinal

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
The No. 5 Torrington girls basketball team's season ended on Thursday night with a 58-47 loss to No. 4 Berlin in a Class L state quarterfinal at Berlin High School. The Lady Raiders finish the season at 20-5. The Redcoats (20-4) face top-seeded E.O. Smith in a semifinal next Monday night at 7:45 at Hartford's Bulkeley High School.
Here are some final thoughts from the game:

  • The Redcoats got off to a very slow start and trailed 5-0 midway through the first quarter. Berlin, however, was able to rally and take a 9-7 lead after one quarter.
  • Berlin put together a big second quarter (17-5) where it held Torrington to just two baskets. Paige Young had five points in the quarter for the Redcoats, or as much as the entire Raider team.
  • The Redcoats were able to withstand a Raider push in the fourth quarter. Torrington cut Berlin's lead to six at 50-44 with 1:28 to play in the game, but Deanna Barrett's three-point play put the final nail in the game for the Redcoats.
  • Berlin had balance in its story. Kailene Rampone had 15 points, all in the second half, while teammate Courtney Trzasko added 15 of her own. Chelsea Vujs finished with 10 points, Paige Young added seven points while Barrett chipped in six. 
  • Torrington played the game without sophomore point guard Caroline Teti. Teti broke her left wrist in last Friday's Class L second round win over Daniel Hand.
  • Foul trouble sidelined Lady Raider senior leader Aly Otis for much of the first half. Otis picked up her second foul 1:38 into the first quarter. Torrington led 3-0 at the time, but without Otis on the offensive end and underneath cleaning up the boards, the Raiders were in trouble.
  • In spite of her early foul trouble, Otis played big down the stretch. She had 12 second half points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Otis led the team with 14 points, plus eight rebounds and two steals in her final game as a Raider.
  • Torrington struggled throughout the first half, scoring just 12 points. The Raiders had five in the second quarter after scoring seven in the first. THS had 15 turnovers in the half. They had eight in the first quarter and seven in the second.
  • The Raiders picked it up in the third quarter, scoring 15 points, three more than they had in the entire first half.
  • Torrington never stopped fighting, despite being down as much as 20 points with 4:11 left in the third quarter. The Raiders cut the Redcoat lead to 50-44 with 1:28 left to play, but a key three-point play by Berlin's Deanna Barrett helped put the game away.
  • Senior center Caycee Williams struggled early, but scored six of her eight points in the second half, including four in the fourth quarter as THS rallied.
  • Senior guard Mariah Cerruto fouled out with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter. The Raiders were already playing without Teti, and losing Cerruto didn't help. Torrington was down 10 at the time, 45-35, and got as close as six at 50-44, but couldn't close the gap any further.
  • Torrington's senior class put together a successful season that included the second best record in the Naugatuck Valley League (17-2), a runner-up finish in the NVL tournament, and an appearance in the Class L state quarterfinal. The Raiders graduate Otis, Williams, Cerruto, Emily Eanniello, Mollie Bartles, Dia O'Brien and Morgan Thulin.
- Kevin D. Roberts

No. 5 Torrington ends season with 58-47 Class L state quarterfinal loss to No. 4 Berlin

KEVIN D. ROBERTS/Register Citizen
The No. 5 Torrington girls basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 58-47 loss to No. 4 Berlin in a Class L state quarterfinal at Berlin High School.
The Lady Raiders finish the season at 20-5. The Redcoats (20-4) move on to play top-seeded E.O. Smith in a semifinal next Monday night at 7:45 at Hartford's Bulkeley High School.
Senior forward Aly Otis was in foul trouble early, but led Torrington with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Senior center Caycee Williams had eight points and rebounds while senior guard Mariah Cerruto added five points. Berlin got 15 points apiece from Courtney Trzasko and Kailene Rampone. Chelsea Vujs added 10 in the win.
The Raiders struggled in the first half and trailed 26-12. Torrington mounted a charge and trailed by six with 1:28 to play in the game, but Berlin was able to find the answers to win the game.
The Raiders graduate Otis, Williams, Cerruto, Emily Eanniello, Mollie Bartles, Dia O'Brien and Morgan Thulin.
For more on the game, click here.


No. 4 Berlin 58, No. 5 Torrington 47
At Berlin High School
Torrington        7-5-15-20—47
Berlin        9-17-12-20—58
TORRINGTON (47): Nicole Kozlak 3-0-9; Paige Middleton 0-0-0; Mollie Bartles 1-0-3; Mika Howard 1-1-4; Aly Otis 7-0-14; Caycee Williams 3-2-8; Emily Eanniello 0-0-0; Dia O’Brien 0-0-0; Mariah Cerruto 2-0-5; Megan Calabrese 2-0-4; TOTALS: 19-3-47.
BERLIN (58): Paige Owens 1-0-3; Kailene Rampone 2-9-15; Deanna Barrett 1-4-6; Paige Young 2-3-7; Chelsea Vujs 4-1-10; Alicia Maule 1-0-2; Courtney Trzasko 4-5-15; Courtney Brennan 0-0-0; Alyssa Germano 0-0-0; TOTALS 15-22-58.
3-point goals: T—Kozlak 3, Bartles, Howard, Cerruto; B—Rampone 2, Trzasko 2, Owens, Vujs.
Records: Torrington 20-5; Berlin 20-4.

- Kevin D. Roberts