Griswold boys gearing up to qualify for post-season play

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Jan. 31, 2012
Griswold's Nick Faulise (11) lets loose for two points against Plainfield Jan. 27.
Griswold's Nick Faulise (11) lets loose for two points against Plainfield Jan. 27.

The Griswold High School boys’ basketball season record doesn’t really tell the team’s story, said coach Rob Mileski. “The 4-8 record is not really indicative of our season,” he said. “We played some very challenging schools.” Early in the season, the Wolverines suffered losses to the likes of Waterford, Bacon Academy and Wheeler.

The Wolverines even lost their Dec. 17 match-up against local rival Plainfield, in a 62-59 overtime heartbreaker. “We were up 7 points with 30 seconds to go, and a lot of crazy things happened,” Mileski said.

But the green and white evened the rivalry score on Jan. 27, with a 45-38 victory against Plainfield, playing to a packed house on their home court. GHS took control early in the game and managed to withstand a fourth-quarter onslaught by Plainfield that narrowed, but didn’t eliminate, the Wolverine lead.

Mileski said that this year’s varsity crop is “a very hard-working group.” Four players from last year’s squad were lost to graduation, and three-time varsity starting forward Zach Wood, a senior, has taken on a leadership role on the team. “He’s our go-to guy and our leading scorer,” he said. “But we’re starting to get contributions from other guys, too.”

Among the other seniors on this year’s varsity squad are center Tim Martineck,forward/center Tyler Mikula, point guard Nick Lagace and forward Gage Kudelchuk. Sophomore Nick Faulise and freshman Zach Hawkins are newcomers proving to be standouts, said Mileski. Plus, he said, “There’s some very promising eighth-grade players who are coming up, so there’s some young talent in town. We’ll coach them when they get here.”

For now, Mileski said, the team’s focus is racking up four more ECC Small Division wins to qualify for the ECC tournament. The team was 4-2 in division play as of press time. “We need to win four to make it to post-season,” he said. This weekend’s game against Tourtelotte may be key. “They’ve got one loss in the division, and that was to us,” by a 48-46 OT score, he said. “Right now they’re leading the division 5-1.” Other upcoming opponents include St. Bernard, Lyman, Ledyard, Fitch, Montville and Parish Hill.

“They’re a tough bunch,” Mileski said of his players. “I really enjoy this group. They work hard, but they clown around together. It makes coaching fun. I’m enjoying the moment.”

Mileski is in his fourth year at the helm in Griswold. Previously he served nine years as Woodstock Academy’s head coach and 10 as assistant coach at Norwich Free Academy.

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