Warriors make big plays late on way to finals
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 7, 2013
In sports, the saying goes that it is difficult to beat a team three times, and that saying can be especially true when the team you are attempting to beat is one of the top teams in the state and has only lost three games all season. In their third and final meeting of the year in the CCC semi-final, East Harford went on a furious second-half comeback, putting Windsor on its heels, but the Warriors showed their resiliency and proved the saying wrong en route to a 88-80 thriller at Bulkeley High School’s Babe Allen Fieldhouse. Windsor is on a seven-game winning streak as it attempts to win a third consecutive CCC tournament title.
“We should have never been in that position,” said Windsor head coach Ken Smith. “We didn’t play well. For some people it’s good, but for me it’s not. We work on things in practice that, if we execute, that will never happen. We have to get better on executing.”
Windsor jumped out of the gates and took a 27-8 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks in part to some defensive intensity and pressure that East Hartford was not ready for. The Warriors ended the quarter on a 21-3 run which featured three three-pointers and a three-point play. Windsor carried the momentum into the half, leading 45-23.
East Hartford was too good to go down without a fight, and in the third quarter played inspired basketball, forcing Windsor into a multitude of turnovers with a full-court trap. The Hornets rallied off a 26-7 run to end of the third quarter, as they brought the game to within three, 62-59. Junior swingman Kahari Beaufort’s 21-point quarter on eight field goals, including two three-pointers, led the comeback.
“He was on fire, but nobody stepped up to say, 'Hey, let me shut him down,' and that is what we have to get better with,” Smith said.
East Hartford took its only lead of the game, 65-64, just over a minute into the fourth quarter on two free throws by Avondre Murphy. With the game tied at 67, senior guard Quinn Fleeting scored seven consecutive points to break the late tie and give Windsor back a lead it would not surrender the rest of the contest.
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time moments,” Fleeting said. “I am just here to help the team, and I am glad we got the win tonight.”
Jared Wilson-Frame led the Warriors with 19 points and eight assists, while Fleeting and Jaquan Harrison each scored 17. Chaunce Dunbar and Ryheime Moore chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Warriors connected on 10 three-pointers in the victory.