Crosby Wins it All
By Sam and Tyler / March 16, 2008, 3:27 pmSTORRS- After watching the Maloney Spartans defeat the Lyman Hall Trojans, our sights turned to the LL championship game. The matchup was a highly anticipated one, with the Crosby Bulldogs of Waterbury taking on the Trinity Catholic Crusaders of Stamford. Trinity had defeated #1 seed Windsor 56-52 to get to this point, while Crosby had knocked #15 seed Harding 84-75. As both teams began warm ups, players from both sides eyed each other, sizing up their competition for a game that would likely crown the overall #1 team in the state.
To be victorious, Trinity would have to receive the bulk of its scoring from junior standouts Tevin Baskin and Eric Jean-Guillauime. The play of role players would also be key as the Crusaders would need strong performances from Dejan Korac, John O’Leary, and Ryan Adkins. Crosby too would need a complete team effort from both its stars and role players to gain the championship. Players including Duquesne bound senior BJ Monteiro, junior Anthony Ireland, and senior Lavar Moore, would all have to be at the top of their game for the Bulldogs. Having met in the 2004 and 2005 state championships, with Trinity winning in ’04 and Crosby in ’05 the stakes were high for this rubber match title game. In attendance was Crosby graduate James “Bootsy” Moore, and Trinity graduate Craig Austrie, along with countless Bird’sEye Sports forum contributors.
Attendance was noted as 5200, but you had to think there could have been more people. Long drives should not be a factor for a state championship game.
The first quarter appeared to be dominated by Crosby, as Trinity shot poorly. The quarter was played at Trinity’s pace, however, and Crosby led 11-10 after one.
The pace picked up in the second quarter and Tevin Baskin didn’t miss a thing. He had 3 big dunks, beginning his highlight performance. Eric Jean-Guillauime was quiet, but Baskin scored on jumpers, dunks, and put backs to keep his team in it. Crosby’s half court trap continued to force Crusader turnovers and the Bulldogs led 35-28 at the half.
Dejan Korac scored 2 of his 6 points to open the half, but Crosby stretched its lead to 9 later in the quarter. The quarter included a questionable goaltending call on Baskin, a play which had occurred in the first half against trinity, but no call was made. At times, the referees struggled to keep up with the pace of the game, often looking for help when they could not see a play occur. Lavar Moore took a deep 3 and hit it as the quarter ended, giving Crosby a 58-50 lead entering the fourth. Every time Trinity cut into the lead, Crosby would hit a 3 and stretch their lead. Turnovers continued to plague Trinity, costing them important opportunities.
With Monteiro in foul trouble, Trinity Catholic attacked the Crosby leader. Down 10 at one point in the quarter, the Crusaders battled back. Tevin Baskin took a pass on the baseline and dunked on Monteiro, forcing him to the bench with his fifth foul. Although he had played well (19 points), Monteiro’s final high school play will likely appear on a poster sometime soon. Trinity fed off Crosby’s star exiting. After Tevin Baskin hit 1 of 2 free throws, the score was 68-66 Crosby with 2:30 to go. Crosby fans had to be asking themselves, are we going to collapse after having led throughout? Lavar Moore and Anthony Ireland then decided to step up. Moore scored a couple clutch baskets and Ireland had ice in his veins at the line. Crosby fan’s chant of “it’s all over” with 20 seconds on the clock proved to be premature. Trinity emptied its bench, down 82-75, but reserve Michael Scaturchio converted a 4 point-play with 1.8 to go. Trinity quickly subbed in its starters and on the ensuing in bounds, Crosby threw it away. O’Leary quickly grabbed the ball, stepped behind the 3 point line, but his potential tying shot fell short and Crosby began to celebrate. By a final if 82-79, Crosby had won its third state championship.
In the end, this game came down to turnovers. Although the (voyce) stat sheet says Trinity had only 9 more turnovers than Crosby, the Crusader’s came at crucial times. Eric Jean-Guillauime had a steal and an open lay-up to tie the game in the fourth, but he lost the ball out of bounds. Credit to Crosby for their half court pressure and their ability to finish off Trinity, despite no Monteiro. Without a doubt, these two teams should rank #1 and #2, respectively, in the final state polls.
This Class LL final match-up was epic. Crosby has appeared in 3 of the last 5 state championships, winning 2. Meanwhile, Trinity Catholic has appeared in 10 of the last 14 state finals, winning 5. Tevin Baskin proved to the state why he is one of the most highly recruited players in state history, while Crosby showed they have many weapons, as they had 3 players in double figures. Depth, which figured to give Crosby an advantage, was a non-factor. Trinity’s bench outscored Crosby’s and the Crusaders did not appear tired at the end of this one. Both teams came out and played, with little trash talking, and an excellent display of talent. The future is bright for both teams and next year should prove to be just as exciting.
Until next year, Sam and Tyler are finished after another great basketball season. Thanks to all who helped and Championship Saturday was awesome!
Sam and Tyler