Tolland Tops Ellington In Boys Hoop

By Matt Stevens

ELLINGTON – A fast start and a strong finish proved to be the winning formula for the Tolland boys basketball team as the Eagles held on for a 68-62 victory over Ellington Wednesday night.

Tolland (3-3) took the lead early as Ellington had trouble getting its offense started for a stretch of the first quarter. Ellington had trouble finishing its drive all night while Tolland’s “Big Three” of seniors David Busch, DeOndrew Regisford and junior Andrew Jaworski combined to handle the scoring duties for the Eagles on the way to a 35-24 lead at halftime

Ellington found some energy in the locker room, and played more aggressively in the third quarter. Bailey Bassett made several shots from both sides of the 3-point line as the Knights closed in on the Eagles. A buzzer beater 3-pt shot by junior Randy Philavong at the buzzer helped Ellington close to within two points (44-42) after three quarters.

Ellington led briefly in the fourth and the game was tied at 52-52 before Tolland took control for good down the stretch.

Tolland Coach Dean Edwards said his team was helped by the amount of experience several of his players have had in big rivalry games.

“When the other team goes on a run, which teams do, we can kind of handle it, weather the storm, and make a run of our own,” Edwards said, adding that he felt like Ellington had some advantages that his team overcame.

“We’re playing in their place. The crowd was into it, and they played with a lot of energy,” he said. “We were a little rusty and a little sloppy. We turned the ball over way too many times, but down the stretch, we made the plays.”

Edwards said contributions from a number of different players proved to be the difference for Tolland.

“We’re getting better balance, which is allowing us to be in games and win games,” he said.

Ellington coach Don Flint was happy with his team’s ability to battle back from a big deficit.

“In the first half, they were more aggressive,” said Ellington coach Don Flint. “In the second half, we were more aggressive. We were down 14 points and came all the way back.”

Besides the comeback, Flint said there were some great moments for the Knights in this game, which they hope to improve on, while waiting for injured players to return.

“We’re still a little distracted with the guys who are out, but we’ll get it together,” Flint said. “The key is, for us, to have patience. We will get there.”

Bassett lead the Knights with 23 points, including five three-pointers. Ellington’s Evan Wesley was 4-for-4 from the line.

For Tolland, Jaworski and Busch both had 20 points. Regisford had 17. Curtis nailed all four shots from the free throw line.

Tolland heads to East Hartford on Jan. 15 and Ellington visits Windsor Locks the same night. For complete schedules, visit www.ciacsports.com.

Ellington's Randy Philavong runs away from Tolland's Matthew Curtis copy Tolland's Clayton Keane flies toward the bucket copy

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