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Ellington Comes Up Short In NCCC Final - TheSportsDept.com

Ellington Comes Up Short In NCCC Final

 

By The Sports Department Staff


GRANBY – With eight victories in its final nine regular season games, confidence was soaring for the Ellington High boys basketball team. That confidence grew even more after the Purple Knights beat Canton and Classical Magnet respectively in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the NCCC tournament.
In the championship game March 1, though, No. 4 seed Ellington had trouble putting the ball in the basket early and never recovered in 50-39 loss to No. 2 Granby before a standing room only crowd at Granby Memorial High School.


The start of the game was delayed because the game clock wasn’t working properly. With an overflow crowd, school officials attempted to set up a TV of the game in the smaller gymnasium downstairs for late-arriving fans. With the bleachers packed, about 150 spectators sat on the floor along the baseline or stood in the corner on the opposite end of the gym.
Ellington’s biggest challenge in the first half was finding space to get open shots. The Purple Knights had more turnovers than field goals in the first two quarters, making a total of three shots from the field and trailed 31-9 at halftime.
“The first half we just didn’t make shots. They just weren’t going in,” Ellington coach Bob Freitas said. “Defensively, giving up 31 is not bad. We gave up 50 [for the game], that’s what we wanted to keep them at. We just didn’t shoot the ball well. Give them credit for getting in our faces and contesting shots. The first half we missed layups, we missed some easy buckets and we made some turnovers that were costly.”
The Purple Knights cut the deficit to 14 going into the fourth and looked like they might make a run in the quarter when Colin Garrow’s 3-pointer made it 43-34 with 3:15 remaining.
Following a turnover by Granby, Ellington had a chance to inch closer. But Garrow missed a 3 and Granby’s Rowan Heinze hit a 3 for the Bears that pushed the lead to 12 points with 2:43 left.
Mindful that Ellington made a dozen 3-pointers in a 71-70 win over top seed Classical in the semifinals, Granby coach Wally Hansen said the defensive game plan was to limit the number of shots the Purple Knights took from behind the arc.
“We really controlled the game defensively, rebounding,” Hansen said.
Ellington didn’t make a 3 in the first half. The Purple Knights finished with four 3’s in the game, the final one by junior Logan Macaluso in the closing seconds.
“Some of our 3s weren’t timely. We’re trying to make up 10 or 12 points in one possession, that usually doesn’t work,” Freitas said. “My motto is if you’re open, shoot the ball. The kids played hard, they played with effort. They had a good attitude, so it’s a win for me.”
Anthony Beasley led Ellington with 10 points, Garrow and Ryan Zahner had nine apiece, and Gavin Laughlan added eighth. Beasley and Garrow were named to the All-NCCC Tournament team. Garrow was the only Ellington player named all-conference.
Granby (20-3), which beat Ellington 59-56 in the regular season, was led by junior Elliyas Delaire (15 points) and Heinze (12).
“We really controlled the game defensively, rebounding. It was a lot of fun.”
The Purple Knights (18-5) will host a first-round game in the CIAC Division IV state tournament March 4 against Woodland (8-12).
“The good thing is we still get to play,” Freitas said. “It’s not over.”
“We really controlled the game defensively, rebounding. It was a lot of fun.”

 

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