Enfield Raiders end season with semifinal loss
By Tom Phelan - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Mar. 17, 2011
The season came to an end for the Enfield High School boys’ basketball team in the semifinal round of the Class M state tournament, played at Central Connecticut State University on Tuesday, March 15. Career Magnet got the better of the Raiders, 49-37.
It was a tough end to what can only described as a great season for the EHS squad.
“We knew going in that Career was bigger and stronger than us, and we were going to need to execute to beat them,” said EHS coach Cory O’Connell. “I thought we did execute pretty well at times, but we weren’t able to convert some of the easy shots that we normally hit.”
The Raiders gave a determined effort to close the gap on the scoreboard, but it seemed that every time they were about to get back in the game, Career would score on an easy basket.
All five starters will be returning to the Raiders next season for another run through the NCCC, their eyes set on the CIAC state tournament once again. They will be another season older and wiser, but that won’t be enough, according to their coach. “I feel confident that we will be able to compete with anyone we play,” said O’Connell. “Our success next year will be determined by the amount of work we do in the off-season.” O’Connell expects his players to use the off-season to get stronger, if they want to be considered serious contenders next year.
The Raiders lack a true “big man” in the middle, and the height of their front line is not an intimidation factor. “Being a team of all guards, we all need to be better ball handlers and shooters for us to be successful,” said O’Connell. “We will continue to work on everyone’s overall skills.”
Against Career Magnet, Enfield had to execute their game plan almost perfectly. Whenever they lost the battle for loose balls and offensive rebounds, they let Career dictate the outcome of the game. Career’s roster of 15 players included only two at 5’10.” The other 13 were listed at 6’0” to 6’5.” Being a small team out of the NCCC, EHS being able to hold the 19-1 Panthers to just 49 points was a great achievement in itself. The Raider defense came to play. Better success on the offensive end of the floor might have made it an even closer game.
Enfield's standout guard, Tre Preston, finished the game with 20 points – 14 of those in the second half. Sophomore guard Paul Lima had 11 points – nine on three-point shots,
Enfield will say goodbye to three seniors - Sean McGuire, Jeremy Chevalier and Anthony Gugliotti. But the starting five of Preston, Lima, Hugh Lindo, John Cerrato and Tony Romano should all be back in uniform at EHS next season.