Raiders fall game short of championship
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Mar. 15, 2013
The eight senior members of the Enfield High School boys’ basketball program have been a part of the best four-year run in school history, amassing an unprecedented 80-14 record while reaching the Class M state tournament quarterfinal and semi-final two times each, as well as three consecutive North Central Connecticut Conference championships.
Enfield’s four-year run came to an end on March 12, as the sixth-seeded Raiders fell to the 23-seed Weston Trojans 53-47 at Wilbur Cross High School.
“I told the guys in the locker room that I don’t know what they expected, but I knew we would have a group of tough kids that worked together, played hard and would always be that team that walked into the gym and everyone would be like, ‘These guys are good?’” said head coach Cory O’Connell. Referring to the championship loss, he said, “When we finally started playing there we cut it to six a couple of times, cut it five, and we just didn’t have that one play to get over the hump.”
Weston entered the state tournament with a 10-10 record, but has gone on a Cinderella run, defeating three higher-seeded opponents in its four games to advance to the championship game.
Enfield fell into an early 9-0 hole in the first two minutes of the game, but battled back and closed the quarter only down one, 9-8, on a three-point basket by senior Paul Lima.
Weston responded to start the second on back-to-back three-pointers by Troy Flynn and Asher Lee-Tyson for a seven-point advantage. Enfield could only muster up two field goals in the quarter to give the Trojans a 24-13 lead at the half.
Weston jumped out of the gates strong again in the third quarter with four quick points, to give them their largest lead of the night at 15 points. Enfield rallied off six straight points to close the quarter and shrink the deficit to nine going into the fourth quarter, but could not get the key steal or basket in the final period to swing the momentum in their favor.
Enfield may have sealed their own fate in the game connecting on just eight of 25 free throws.
“I’m proud of them. They could have easily hung it up,” O’Connell said. “To lose by six with 17 missed foul shots, how many missed easy bunnies, it’s painful when you know what was right there.”