Published March 12. 2014 4:00AM
New London — Josh Maynard had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead a balanced scoring attack as seventh-seeded New London held off No. 26 Conard 69-65 to win its first-round game in the CIAC Class LL boys' basketball tournament on Tuesday night at Conway Gym.
The Whalers (19-4) are back home on Thursday night at 7 to face No. 10 Ridgefield, a 53-39 winner over No. 23 West Haven.
"I thought we played well in spurts," New London coach Craig Parker said. "I liked out approach to the game. I thought we brought a lot of energy to the floor ... I like the way we played."
Nabate Metts added 17 points for New London while Collin Sawyer finished with 15 and Nick Barner had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Whalers and Chieftains were tied at the half (31-31) before New London built an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Conard cut it to three at one point, but the Whalers made some clutch free throws in the final minutes.
"It's state tournament time and you know teams are going to play with a lot of intensity," Parker said. "I thought both teams made a lot of plays down the stretch, but we were able to pull it out."
In other state tournament games:
• Norwich Free Academy's Ramel Williams scored the game-winning basket with two seconds left on a baseline inbounds play to edge No. 18 Cheshire 38-37 in the Class LL first round.
"We put that play in last week that I got from Wichita State - no lie," NFA coach Chris Guisti said. "I thought that one of the screeners might bounce open because of how heavily they defended Marcus (Outlow), and sure enough, the first screener came off it wide open. Ramel Williams was on the opposing block. Ibo (Rivera) waited about 4½ seconds for the play to develop (before inbounding). I'm right next to the ref ready to call timeout. And Ramel put it in off the backboard."
The 15th-seeded Wildcats will play at No. 2 Bridgeport Central in Thursday's second round. Central, the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference champion, won No. 105-78 over No. 31 Trumbull.
Outlow scored a team-high 15 points for the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament champions (19-6) and Williams added nine. NFA won despite starter Desmond D'elia-Miller missing the game to injury.
"Yeah, it was the kind of injury that definitely could've taken the wind out of our sails, but our guys, they never flinched," Guisti said. "They're spirited and that empowered the coaching staff."
Cheshire had the ball and a 37-36 lead with less than 30 seconds left when the Wildcats' John Morrison stole the ball. Morrison missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, and teammate Mike Ryan tied up a Cheshire rebounder to force a jump ball. The possession arrow favored NFA.
Andrew Yamin scored 23 for the Rams (13-9).
• Sixth-seeded Ledyard advanced in Class LL with a 73-60 victory over No. 27 Norwalk in the first round. Phyllip Thomas led the Colonels (19-4) with 19 points while DeAnte Bruton added 17 and Dominique Benson added 11. Ledyard will host No. 11 Kennedy, a 65-40 winner over No. 22 Newtown, in the second round on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. The game will follow a Class L girls' quarterfinal game between No. 4 Ledyard and No. 5 Avon at 6 p.m.
• New London's Class M semifinal game against top-seeded Holy Cross will be held at Branford on Friday at 7 p.m. No. 5 New London (22-4) is trying to reach its first state final in program history. The Crusaders (24-1) are the Naugatuck Valley League champion.
• Groton's Aaron Hill went 3-for-4 with a run and a steal as UConn downed Sacred Heart, 4-0, in Yaphank, N.Y. Andrew Zapata allowed just one hit over seven innings with five strikeouts for UConn (5-8) and Vinny Siena hit a three-run homer .
• Erin Reynolds and Kaitlin Ward had two hits each, including a double, with two RBI and a run as Coast Guard Academy scored 11 runs in the first inning in a 12-4 rout over Anna Maria at Clermont, Fla. Jessie Richardson hit a two-run triple and scored twice for Coast Guard (3-1) and Pawcatuck's Kelly Grills singled and scored. Grills went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI as Coast Guard lost the second game, 5-4, to Richard Stockton (N.J.).
• Derek Betolini and Tyler Hegarty each had three goals to lead Connecticut College to a 15-6 win over Wheaton. Chad Sawyer had a goal and four assists for the Camels (3-1) and Briggs Barton added two goals and an assist.
• Ally Runyon had three goals and two assist as Ithaca beat Conn College 15-5 in Clermont, Fla. Haley Dumke, Caroline Moore, Taylor Thomas, Hannah Donegan and Tina Balzotti scored for Conn (1-2).
• Joshua Suneby, Jonathan Deeter, Jonathan Kraiger and Jonathan Sokolsky all won in straight sets as Conn College swept Averett (Va.), 9-0, in its first match of the season.
• Charlotte Marcoux, Adrieene Sieverding, Susanna Studwell and Monica Rohrbach all won their respective matches as Conn College opened its season with a 9-0 win over Averett.