New London loses ugly game at Woodstock

Keith Porter of New London, right, is defended by Woodstock Academy's, from left, Trent Peters, Sullivan Gardner and John McGinn during Friday night's ECC Large Division game at Woodstock.
Buy Photo Peter Huoppi/The Day Keith Porter of New London, right, is defended by Woodstock Academy's, from left, Trent Peters, Sullivan Gardner and John McGinn during Friday night's ECC Large Division game at Woodstock.

Woodstock - The words in the Woodstock Academy-produced program previewing the game: "It will be a difficult task for the Centaurs to beat New London again without these two players in the lineup."

Oh, they of little faith.

The Centaurs did indeed sweep the season series from New London, even without injured starters Will Bourgeois and Chris Lowry. Woodstock tractor-pulled its way to a 32-28 victory Friday night, assuming a two-game lead over New London in the Large Division of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.

Woodstock coach Greg Smith called this "the best win" during his five years as head coach.

"To have (New London) coach (Craig) Parker come up here with a New London team and to have us come out with a W," he said, "it feels awesome."

Woodstock (12-1, 5-0) survived New London sophomore Collin Sawyer's 3-point attempt with 4.2 seconds remaining with the Whalers trailing by two.

"He's a good shooter and he got the shot we needed," Parker said. "It almost went down for him."

And so ended any bouquets coming from Parker about the rest of the game.

New London turned it over 17 times, shot 24 percent (11-for-45) and scored the fewest points in a game since at least 1980. The Whalers (8-6, 4-2) also failed to capitalize much on Woodstock's scoring drought that spanned from the 4:27 mark of the second period until 3:15 remained in the third.

New London didn't lead by more than two the entire game.

"I don't think either team was doing too much," Parker said. "An awful display of basketball. But you know what? At the end of the day, they won the game."

Sawyer led New London with 12 points and Keith Porter scored eight.

Ian Converse led the Centaurs with 17 points, including two free throws in the final seconds to seal it. Senior guard Tristan Welch had 11 points, including a 3-pointer with 4:14 remaining that gave Woodstock a 28-25 lead.

Smith, who was surprised New London played as much zone as it did, was perfectly happy with the game's tempo, or lack thereof.

"I told the kids that I've never lied to them and I'm not going to start tonight. This one's going to be tough," Smith said. "We had to hold the score low and coach Parker kind of let me. We were fine with a score in the 40s, but even better in the 30s and 20s."

Woodstock plays five of its last seven on the road. New London, meanwhile, all but lost its chance to win the ECC Large Division.

"We never discussed that with the kids. (The division title) is immaterial to our program," Parker said. "We told the kids after losing the other night (to Career of New Haven) that we wanted to finish by winning out last seven games. As far as the ECC goes, I won't even comment any more on that."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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