Waterford boys play with a sense of urgency in Senior Night victory

Waterford — It is unclear, intriguing, too, how a bunch of high school seniors choose to deal with finality. Maybe that’s why Senior Nights are occasionally unpredictable. How to react when you suddenly see the finish line roaring at you like a linebacker on a blitz?

This was the night at the “X,” otherwise known as the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse, that Waterford didn’t merely honor seven seniors, but played a game to hang a banner. If ever there were cause to cave to anxiousness, this was it.

“The next few weeks,” Waterford senior Mikey Buscetto would say later, “and this is it.”

Say this much for Buscetto: He played with the urgency of the circumstances. He finished with 30 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds, leading Waterford to a 76-64 win over Stonington and to no worse than a share of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II title.

The outright title is all but a formality for the Lancers (14-2, 6-0), who need one win in their final three division games.

The division title would be Waterford’s third straight and fourth in the past seven years. Consider that before winning the division in 2012, the Lancers’ last ECC title of any kind came in 1976.

“It’s definitely special,” Buscetto said. “It’s definitely one of our goals to be able to hang a banner. But we have bigger goals as a team.”

Omar Rahman had 17 points for the Lancers, Liam Spellman had 10 rebounds and Walker Sutman finished with eight points, including a late-game dunk that delighted Lancer Nation.

Stonington (8-9, 5-3) held Buscetto to a season-low seven points during the last Stonington/Waterford game in Stonington Jan. 20.

“We just weren’t where we needed to be on defense,” Stonington coach John Luzzi said. “To have a kid like Mikey is just worth its weight in gold.”

Waterford led by 10 at the half, but couldn’t shake the stubborn Bears, who entered the fourth period trailing by seven. Waterford pushed the lead to as many as 14 midway through the fourth quarter, however.

“Winning the division is always one of our goals,” Waterford coach Bill Bassett said. “I thought Mikey was really something. Best player on the floor. I think I’m more proud of the 15 assists than the 30 points.”

Zach Scott led the Bears with 22 points. RJ Parrilla had 16 and Lennox Deer scored 12.

“We’re battling,” Luzzi said. “Last year, we were losing to Waterford and NFA by big numbers. This year, we are right with them.”

Waterford also honored seniors Eric Pinch, Tyler Peretz, Trevor Yeomans and Max Mazzella.





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