Tournament time for Enfield and Somers

By Tom Phelan - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Mar. 3, 2011
Enfield's Paul Lima sank four critical foul shots with only 1:20 left in the game. Photos by Tom Phelan.
Enfield's Paul Lima sank four critical foul shots with only 1:20 left in the game. Photos by Tom Phelan.

Enfield High School’s boys’ basketball team has secured a spot in the Class M bracket of the CIAC state tournament. The announcement of the team’s #4 seed came the day after Enfield defeated rival Granby Memorial 58-49 in the semi-final game of the NCCC conference tournament.

Enfield’s top threat, guard Trechone Preston, was fairly quiet in the first half, and with good reason. Preston was dogged by two defenders almost every time he handled the ball. But late in the second half, he found a way to shake himself loose several times. Preston went on a shooting spree that included three baskets in a row from outside the three-point arc.

Junior Hugh Lindo played a solid game, attacking the basket and the boards at both ends of the court, netting nine points in the first half. He finished with 10 points and 19 rebounds in the game.

Like Preston, sophomore guard Paul Lima held his offensive assault until the second half. Four of his 11 points in the game came on free throws in the final minute and a half.

Enfield coach Cory O'Connell praised Lindo for battling on the boards against the taller Granby Memorial front line. The 6’2” junior not only spent a lot of time up in the air against taller players, but also went to the hardwood, scrambling after loose balls.

O’Connell said his team has maintained its focus all season long to get to the finals of the NCCC tournament and to earn its #4 berth in the state tournament. Against Granby, their mission was to keep the opponents away from the basket. “We concentrated, like we have all year, on the defensive end,” O’Connell said. “We knew their size would cause us problems if we let them get to the hoop, so we focused on having them shoot outside shots.” He said the Raiders also used their team’s speed to beat Granby down the court.

“I have confidence in these guys to battle through some tough situations,” said O’Connell, adding that, even though the game was close on the scoreboard, he was always confident his team would prevail.

“We will have tough games through the entire tournament,” the Enfield coach said after the CIAC brackets were announced. “Every team that makes the state tournament deserves to be there, and if your team looks past anyone, that's when upsets happen.”

Somers basketball, at 13-7 for the regular season, is headed into the Class S division of the state tournament. Although his team may not be made up of outstanding athletes, coach John Hostetler is happy to be back in the tournament for the second year in a row. “Anything can happen,” said Hostetler after the bracket was announced by CIAC on March 2.

With the #13 seed, and playing #19 Westbrook, Hostetler said it will be nice to play a tournament game at home. “Chemistry is what carries us,” he said, adding that what the team members feel for each other is “exceptional.”

Hostetler praised the play and leadership of his returning starters, Evan Woicik and Josh Fredette. “The difference for us is that we have defended very well at times,” he said. “When we’ve played well, it was because of our defense.”

Prior to the NCCC tournament game between Enfield and Granby, the conference announced this season’s conference awards. East Windsor Coach John Cessario was named the NCCC Coach of the Year.

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