EHHS basketball aims for second shot at tournament

By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Dec. 7, 2012
Senior Jaime Baez does a drill during the EHHS basketball practice on Dec. 5. Photos by Evan Pajer.
Senior Jaime Baez does a drill during the EHHS basketball practice on Dec. 5. Photos by Evan Pajer.

This month marks the start of a new season for the varsity boys' basketball team at East Hartford High School. Last season, the team's 12-8 record brought them to the first round of the state tournament and to the quarter-finals at the Central Connecticut Conference tournament. This year, coach Ed Laboie hopes to get his team on track to win both tournaments.

"We set the bar high last year," Laboie said, "and we're looking to contend in our division." East Hartford's program is in Division LL, the CCC's top division for basketball. With them are other top teams, including Manchester, Glastonbury and the team's rival, Windsor.

The team's first regular-season game will be against Bloomfield on Dec. 12, and Laboie said his team has been training for it. "We've been working very hard in practice," Laboie said. "We've raised the level of play just in practice alone." Laboie said that his team has been focusing on communication and hard work each day, and that the players have met those expectations.

"I think we're ready, but not fully ready," senior Jaime Baez said of the team's first regular game. "We're going to get prepared, and the coaches are going to get to that this week." Baez, who played in the state tournament last season, hopes to get another shot at the tournament this season.

Laboie said the team's biggest challenge this year will be winning close games, such as last season's state tournament game, where the team lost by one point in overtime. "We won a couple of games last year that were close, but we hope the cohesiveness of the team will let us win those games," Laboie said.

The team has been doing well in the pre-season, and will play its final pre-season match against defending state champion St. Joseph High School. They will also have two games against Windsor, the first later this month in the Doc Hurley tournament.

"I'm looking forward to playing Windsor this year," said senior Nick Fenton. Fenton said he thought the team made progress during training. "Come Wednesday, we'll be ready. It'll be a big game," Fenton said.

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