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High School Boys Basketball Recap Week 11: Newington making noise in the CCC tournament

Last week in the CCC girls basketball tournament, the No. 12 seed went on a tear and ended up winning the title.

The No. 12 seed in the boys tournament, Newington, has similarly made some noise in the earlier rounds.

Newington defeated No. 5 Southington in the first round of the CCC tournament Thursday 75-48. On Saturday, the Nor’easters (13-9) knocked off No. 4 Northwest Catholic (18-4) in the quarterfinal game, 65-62. Newington will play top-seeded East Catholic Tuesday night in the semifinal at the University of Hartford.

Newington won seven of its last eight regular season games and some of its losses to top teams were close (Newington played Windsor twice and lost to the Warriors by a point the second time).

“We’ve been playing much better the second part of the season,” Newington coach Scot Wenzel said. “The key to the wins over Southington and Northwest was our defensive effort. The kids have been doing a great job of defending and creating offense off of our defense.”

Senior LeBron Beckford had 22 points and defended Northwest’s Gianni Mirabella. Sophomore Josiah Sims, who is averaging 18 points and 17 rebounds per game, had 16 rebounds and 11 points.

“Our defense kind of carried us,” Wenzel said. “It was one of those games you kind of grind out.”

Top performers

Chance Clark, Manchester: Clark scored 22 points in a 69-65 win over East Hartford in a CCC first round game Thursday.

Andrew Crayton, Haddam-Killingworth: Crayton scored 24 points, including 13 free throws, and had eight assists, six rebounds and two steals in a 75-64 win over Coginchaug in the Shoreline tournament quarterfinal Saturday.

Madden Cupe, Weaver: Cupe had 17 points, eight assists and four steals in an 88-68 win over Capital Prep in the CRAL quarterfinals Friday.

Colby Dunnack, Windham Tech: Dunnack had a triple-double (19 rebounds, 13 points, 10 steals) along with six assists but Windham Tech lost to Norwich Tech 84-64 Tuesday.

Dominick LaDuca, East Hartford: LaDuca scored his 1,000th career point with 57 seconds left in the game and had 16 points in a 69-65 loss to Manchester Thursday.

Victor Payne, Cromwell: Payne scored 27 of his 33 points in the second half as Cromwell beat Innovation 55-44 Wednesday.

Eli Pelletier, Lewis Mills: Pelletier hit a game-winning buzzer-beater and had 17 points in 48-46 victory over Newington Tuesday.

David Smith, Glastonbury: Smith scored 27 points in a 58-51 loss to Bristol Eastern in the CCC first round Thursday.

Josiah Upson, Enfield: Upson had a double-double (14 rebounds, 11 points) in a 54-43 win over South Windsor Tuesday.

Avant Williams, Classical: Williams scored 25 points in a 53-48 win over University in the CRAL quarterfinals Friday.

Storylines

Bloomfield’s Kerr twins, Davien and Davion, who have been part of the Warhawks’ football and basketball success over the past few years, transferred to St. Thomas More about three weeks ago, leaving to enroll for spring football, Bloomfield coach Brooks Sales said. Bloomfield, which won the Division IV title two years ago and was the state runner-up to WCA in Division III last year, moved up to Division II this season and finished the regular season 8-12.

Michael Coggins of Suffield broke the school scoring record set by Suffield assistant coach Jeff Viggiano in a loss to Ellington in the quarterfinals of the NCCC tournament Friday. Coggins, who scored 37 points in the 60-58 loss, has 1,643 points. Viggiano, who set the record (1,637) in 2002, played at UMass and professionally overseas.

Games to watch

Newington (13-9) vs. East Catholic, CCC semifinal, Tuesday, University of Hartford, 6 p.m.: Newington, the 12th seed, has been on a roll, with the exception of a two-point buzzer-beater loss to Lewis Mills to end the season, but top-seeded and defending champion East Catholic will be a tall order. The two teams have not faced each other this season.

Farmington (16-6) vs. Windsor (19-3), CCC semifinal, Tuesday, University of Hartford, 8 p.m.: No. 2 seed Windsor’s last loss came on Jan. 29, 74-70, to Farmington. No. 11 Farmington is on a seven-game win streak; the River Hawks’ last loss was a 58-53 setback to East Catholic Jan. 26.

Haddam-Killingworth (15-6) at Cromwell (19-2), Shoreline Conference semifinal, Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Cromwell is going for its third straight Shoreline tournament title. The Panthers won 49-40 the last time the two teams played on Feb. 14.