A far pg 9 2-8-18

A far cry
from first
It was a far cry from the first meeting between the Centaurs and Waterford.
The Lancers won that game by almost 60 points on their home floor in January.
Feb. 2 Waterford found itself tied with the Centaurs going into the final quarter at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
“We decided to take more pride in the defense and controlled the tempo of the game. We did that successfully for two or three quarters, but their pressure became enormous (in the 4th quarter),” said Woodstock Academy coach Marty Hart.
That pressure worked and the Lancers (13-2) eventually prevailed, but the Centaurs were happy with their effort in a 63-54 loss Feb. 2.
“We executed a game plan that we worked on together to control the tempo, run some clock and then score off back-door cuts and keeping the floor spread. The guys really bought into it,” Hart said.
Waterford could not pull away early thanks to the efforts of Cole Hackett.
Hackett scored 10 of his 18 points in the first half to keep the Centaurs close to the Lancers. Waterford held the 11-8 advantage in the first quarter and that three-point difference carried into the locker room as the Lancers led, 26-23, at the break.
“Cole Hackett was tremendous inside, he was a warrior,” Hart said.
Chase Anderson took over in the second half when he scored 18 of his 22 points to put the Centaurs into the lead by the fourth quarter.
But Waterford’s Mike Buscetto scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and the Lancers made 8-of-11 from the free throw line to end the Centaurs’ upset hopes.
“We continue to see progression especially in the pride we’re taking on the defensive end of the court. We held Stafford scoreless in the first quarter and moved on from there. Holding Waterford down to that level of scoring was key for us and the guys are starting to see that if we play that style of defense, night in and night out, we can play with anyone,” Hart said.
The Centaurs jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead Feb. 1 and never looked back, rolling to a 60-25 win over Stafford Feb. 1.
Anderson scored nine of his 11 points in the game in the first quarter, all on 3-pointers. Hackett and Nathan John added four points each.
Ethan Adams picked up where Anderson left off in the second quarter when he scored all eight of his points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Sam Plummer added five more to The Academy effort to give the Centaurs a 36-10 halftime lead.
“The focus was to get touches inside and only take outside shots in rhythm. Crisp ball movement and sharing the ball led to balanced scoring and contributions from all players,” Hart said.
The Centaurs got the play they wanted Jan. 30 against Killingly.
It just came a little too late.
Trailing the Redmen by four with seven seconds left, Aidan Morin took the inbounds pass and raced up the floor.
He passed the ball to  Adams who sank the 3-pointer.
Hart immediately called time out.
There were two problems with that.
The Centaurs didn’t have a time out left and there were only three-tenths of a second left in the game which the Redmen went on to win, 42-40.
“I thought I had a time out and I was upset because there were only three-tenths of a second left,” Hart said. “The play was slow to develop. We got what we wanted, we hit our first three (pointer) of the night. It was just too little, too late.”
The Centaurs led 30-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Then, the Academy went cold.
The physicality of the Redmen taking the Centaurs out of the game.
“Was it a basketball game or just a wrestling match with a basketball?” Hart questioned. “I really couldn’t tell. I thought our guys did a good job of maintaining their composure in that environment. It’s just very difficult to execute in a physical game.”
Anderson (12 points) sandwiched a basket and a free throw around a Luke Desaulnier bucket for the Redmen early in the final quarter to give the Centaurs a 33-30 lead.
But Killingly answered with a pair of 3-pointers from Desaulnier (15 points) and Sean Johndrow to retake the lead by three.
After a pair of free throws by Hackett, Shayne Bigelow added another trey for Killingly to give the Redmen the 39-35 advantage.
“The difference between good and great is this much,” Hart said while holding his fingers close together. “They executed in a very thin sliver of the game and we lost track of shooters for a few moments. Those points count against you.”
Hackett, who led the Centaurs with 16, scored for the Centaurs with 4:25 to play. It would be the last basket prior to Adams’ 3-pointer for the Centaurs.
The activity this past week left the Centaurs with a 5-10 record.
It means The Academy needs to win three of its last five to qualify for the state tournament.
“We just hope to play our brand of basketball and do it in a way that puts us in position to win. Fortunately two of the final five we play, we have beaten already this season, but we’re playing at their place so we’re not taking them lightly. The goal is still to get eight (wins), but we have to get the next one first,” Hart said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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