East Catholic Basketball Rallies From Big Halftime Deficit to Win in Overtime in the State Stemifinals

The Windsor Warriors had the East Catholic Eagles right where they wanted them up 30-16 at halftime of the semifinal of the Class L State Tournament. It was a certainty they’d be playing for the title after such a successful season…and then it wasn’t.

Thanks to 34 points from East Catholic senior Mark Carbone and an amazing second half rally, the Eagles came back to win 60-57 in overtime at Bulkeley High in Hartford.

After a very close first quarter that saw Windsor up 11-10, it opened up a fourteen point lead thanks to their trapping defense and excellent perimeter shooting.

East Catholic Head Coach Luke Reilly had a simple message for his team while facing such a large deficit heading in to the second half.

“It can’t get much worse, let it rip in the second half,” said Reilly during halftime.

That’s exactly what Carbone did. After only eight points in the first half, he took over and was unconscious down the stretch for his team in the comeback win.

The Eagles got their confidence back in the third quarter, cutting the Windsor lead to 42-35. Carbone continued to let it rip, and thanks to six second half threes the Eagles were right back in it.

Down 55-51 with less than 30 seconds to play, Carbone saved his best for last. He launched his final made three of the half and drew a foul on the play for a chance to tie with just over six seconds left to play.  The senior converted the clutch free throw and sent the East Catholic crowd into pandemonium.

“I just had trust in God, trust in my coach, trust in my ability to shoot and it went in,” Carbone said.

From there, a shell shocked Windsor couldn’t recover, and never mustered any offense in the overtime period.  Carbone added three big free throws that ended up being the difference in the 60-57 win.

“We lost in the same round and at the same place to Weaver last year, and that loss hurt and lit a fire inspired me to work the whole offseason,” Carbone said. “That game lit a fire in our stomach, and there was no way we were leaving today without a win and a trip to Mohegan.”

Windsor, who suffered only its second loss of the season against East Catholic, came up just short of capping off their amazing season. It was a total team effort for the Warriors with nine players scoring for them, and they were led by Mike Mahon and Jordan Powell, who scored 15 and 12 respectively.

Carbone put East Catholic on his back for most of the second half and overtime, but nine points from both Joey Reilly and Mike McGuirl helped the comeback significantly.

This game was an instant classic and definitely taught one of the most important lessons basketball has to offer.

“It is a crazy game, but if you never give up you’re never out of it,” said Coach Reilly.

 

Carbone three to cut lead

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