Night of the Colonel
Windham - Dave Cornish's basketball education included many years at New London, where nobody keeps score until March. And part of Cornish's plan is to maintain the same standards running his own program at Ledyard High School.
But that didn't mean history wasn't gratifying Tuesday night.
The Colonels' 11th straight win Tuesday night was among their most meaningful in the last three decades. Their ultra impressive 95-50 demolition of Windham gave Ledyard the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division title, the first league championship of any kind for the program since 1986.
"I told the guys we won a lot of games last year, 21, but we didn't win the ECC Medium, the ECC tournament or the Class M title," Cornish said. "We wanted to win this game and make a little statement that we should be one of the Class M contenders."
Cornish and the boys were only half of the school's historic night. The Ledyard girls won their first division title since 1992 with a victory over Windham at home. Athletic director Jim Buonocore watched the girls' game and received text message updates from the boys' game.
"It's a great night to be a Colonel," he said later by phone.
Thomas Whipple scored a game-high 22 points, four on some rather thunderous dunks, to lead Ledyard (14-1, 9-0). Ledyard blitzed Windham from the opening tip, suffocating the Whips (12-4, 7-2) into early submission.
Ledyard led 7-0, 14-1, 23-5 and 44-21.
"The plan was to put pressure on them keep the ball out of (Julian) Sanchez's and (Kendall) Marquez's hands," Whipple said. "We wanted to see what the other kids could do."
It would be a slight exaggeration to suggest this game was over in the first minute. But only slight.
"I never envisioned 95-50 but I did think we could win by 20," Cornish said. "We could wear them down. We have a lot of depth and the guys play hard. I know they had two scorers. If we held them to 30 or below, we could win by 20-30 points.
"We came out with a lot of energy. We wanted to set the tone," he said. "They like to run, we like to run. That's why I told the refs 'I hope you have your track shoes on.'"
Darnay Gray scored 15 points, Chris Gill had 12 and Khary Childs had 11 for the Colonels. Marquez had 14 points and Sanchez scored 11 for Windham.
Ledyard plays five games to end the regular season, including a date with 13-2 Hartford Public next Saturday night at Standish Gym.
When asked if Ledyard's run bore some resemblance to the long winning streaks Cornish helped coach at New London, he grinned.
"It does," he said. "But I don't want to jinx the guys."
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