Crusaders two wins away from tourney
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
East Granby - posted Thu., Feb. 14, 2013
The East Granby High School boys' basketball team's postseason aspirations were looking bleak after losing five straight games over the past three weeks, dropping the Crusaders' overall record to 5-9. The Crusaders entered the Feb. 12 match versus the East Windsor Panthers desperate for a win. Behind a strong defensive effort, the Crusaders broke out of their losing ways, earning a 57-51 victory.
With the victory, the East Granby team cemented itself in the middle of the pack of the tough North Central Connecticut Conference and inched its way closer to a Class S state tournament berth.
“It’s a good win for us,” said head coach Jeff Moger. “We have a history of slow starts, and we got off to a good start tonight. The first five minutes of the fourth were about as well as we can play. We possessed the ball, we made good decisions on the offensive end and we rebounded.”
With the victory, East Granby improved its record to 6-9. To earn a bid to the state tournament, the Crusaders will need to earn two victories during their final five games and make it to the eight-win cutoff.
“Every one of those games is a game we could win if we play with that kind of consistent effort, smart offense and good solid defense,” Moger said. “At the same time I wouldn’t look at any of them and say that’s a win. I think we could win all five, I think we could struggle in all five.”
The East Granby defense did not allow East Windsor to score a field goal from the end of the third quarter until one minute and 26 seconds left in the game. Over the course of the seven minutes down the final stretch of the game, the Panthers could only muster five made free throws.
The Crusaders were led by junior guard Dylan O’Brien’s 24 points, 17 of which came in the second half, including nine in the final period. East Granby also received strong contributions from senior point guard Noah Fersch, who put in a workmanlike 14 points and eight assists. Senior forward Connor Kennedy chipped in with eight points.
“Noah is the heart and soul of our team,” Moger said. “Everything goes through him, and he is very good with the ball, and I thought he made excellent decisions with the ball tonight.”