Quest for Perfection Part II
By Sam and Tyler / February 26, 2008, 9:44 am
WINDSOR- Another gloomy February Day and our sights were set on Windsor, CT, home of the Warriors of Windsor High, ranked first in Class LL. It was a real treat to get to watch the undefeated leader of Class S on Friday and turn around to watch the undefeated, top ranked team in LL on Monday. Ken Smith, who some of you may have read about in a Courant article earlier this year, has his team in contention for a state title again, with a deep, athletic squad.
There were a trio of games that highlighted the state schedule of high school games and all would have been exciting. Maloney @ E.O. Smith (featuring the Olander brothers), the Elm City rivalry (Hillhouse vs Wilbur Cross), but it was the intrigue of potentially seeing an undefeated fall that brought us to Windsor.
Having never been to the Windsor gym, I was shocked at its size, even with the additional balcony seating. Some would say the small size makes it louder and tougher on opposing teams, but for such a large school, the gym seated few and you would have expected better.
From the opening tip, Windsor was full of energy. At every opportunity, Coach Ken Smith had his team in a full court press. This gave fab frosh Ant Jernigan difficulty, as he often called for his teammates, with bigger, stronger defenders all over him. Naming starters for Windsor is irrelevant. They have eight guys who can start on any team in the state. Nearly every dead ball produces another substitution and another pair of fresh legs to run up and down the floor for Coach Smith.
Throughout the first quarter, neither team appeared to run much offense, but play never ceased to be up and down. Looking down to mark who scored could force you to miss points at the other end. Despite being quiet scoring, Ant Jernigan had several nice assists and East Hartford stayed in it during the 1st. With 3:03 left, two free throws for the Hornets put them down 3, at 14-11. Following the freebies, I leaned over to my Dad to say, “watch, East will go on a little run to take the lead or tie this as the quarter winds down.”
I could not have been more wrong. Windsor used its pressure to force turnovers, and capitalized on seemingly every East Hartford miscue. The lead was 25-11 when Ant Jernigan hit a baseline jumper at the first quarter buzzer to make the sore 25-13 after a quarter.
Whatever Coach Menard said to his guys during the break did not seem to sink in because the second quarter was all Windsor. A three-point play by Dudley of East Hartford got the Hornets to 29-18 with 5:46 to go. The game was then stopped several times due to water on the floor. Nobody could really determine where it was coming from, but it was dangerous to the players, who continued to slip. From the 5:46 mark on, Windsor went on a 15-4 run to all but put this game away at 44-22. East Hartford caught a break when the AD from Windsor came on the mic to announce this game had to be postponed due to the slippery floor.
Much to the fans dismay, the Windsor AD made the right call. You would hate to see a kid injure himself because the conditions are not right. It wasn’t clear whether or not this game will be picked up where it was stopped, with Windsor holding a 22-point advantage. If it is re-started, East Hartford catches a big break and would be smart to come out with a new gameplan.
Windsor is certainly beatable, but a team needs to slow the ball down and out-rebound the Warriors. They are led by guard Justin Wilson and big man Adrian Satchel, who cleans up the boards relentlessly. Windsor comes at you with no hesitation, putting in your face pressure on the opponent. This D creates the turnovers that lead to the fast break attack; and most other teams have no answer. East Hartford is a scrappy club, with Jernigan doing a fine job handling and dishing to open guys. He will one day be a premier player in the state, but on this night Windsor had him covered all over the floor. You felt bad for the freshmen because when he saw his defender got tired, it made things easier for him, but at the next opportunity, the Warriors inserted another capable defender to make things difficult.
I could see the Hornets pulling an upset in the LL tourny, but they won’t get too far with a loaded field. Windsor has struggled lately in the tournament, but is a legit contender in LL. With Coventry on the brink of completing its regular season undefeated, Windsor will undoubtedly do the same. Even if Smith wants to rest his starters, the guys off the bench are just as good. Windsor will look to complete this season and keep it going in the tournament. If they make it through the CCC tournament unscathed, upset minded teams will look to knock off a talented Warrior squad, ending their dreams of a state title.
Editors Note* Windsor went on to win the game 92-66.
View this blog now!