East Lyme boys beat New London again to take ECC Div. I lead

East Lyme — The narrative, at least outside the East Lyme High School locker room about the boys' basketball team of 2018, goes something like this: Dev, Dev, Dev, Dev, Dev.

Jeff Bernardi, the coach, has a different one: Dev, Luke, J.R., Jacob, T.J. ...

His message: This is not a one-man team, even if Dev Ostrowski is recognized as The Man.

The Vikings proved Bernardi correct Wednesday night, taking sole possession of first place in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference with a 70-62 win over New London.

This was East Lyme's second win of the season over New London (10-4, 3-2), moving the Vikings (12-1, 4-1) a step closer to its first ECC title of any kind since the days of coach Dan Spellman.

The Whalers held Ostrowski to 15 points. Luke Leonard, meanwhile, rained in 32.

"Fabulous," Bernardi said, alluding to Leonard. "Sometimes, Robin saves the day. You don't always have to rely on Batman."

Indeed. Leonard had 29 by the end of the third period.

"We've put no emphasis on the idea that Dev has to score 25 or 30 for us to win," Bernardi said. "We told him he needs to be more efficient. We're very comfortable playing when he's not the primary target."

Leonard, who hit threes and scored off balance near the basket, said, "Everyone steps up. Last time we played New London, T.J. (Horner) got 15. Everyone can do something if they take away Dev. We want to show you can't play box-and-one against us."

The Vikings, who recently checked in at No. 10 in the GameTimeCT state poll, managed to stay there, earning a quality win.

"I didn't bring it up, but I'm sure they checked," Bernardi said. "The attention didn't need to be on that."

The Whalers, meanwhile, led 56-55 early in the fourth period, following Edwardo Gonzalez's 3-pointer. New London trailed 53-46 at one point and rallied to take a lead. It didn't last long.

And neither did New London coach Craig Parker's postgame interview.

Parker said, "Our kids played as hard as they possibly could. There were two big calls that didn't go our way. That's all I know."

Gio Lopez led the Whalers with 17 points. Gonzalez had 15 and Isiah Benson scored 11. New London was but 11-21 from the free throw line while East Lyme made 16-21.

The Vikings play at Ledyard Friday and can avenge their only loss of the season.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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