New London boys rain 14 3-pointers onto Stonington in 104-58 rout
New London — John Luzzi, the Stonington High School boys' basketball coach, looked to the scorer's table late in Thursday night's game and asked how many 3-pointers New London had made.
The Whalers had 14.
"I thought that it was more," Luzzi quipped.
New London first engulfed the Bears with a full court press to start their Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I quarterfinal, then later unleashed a hail of 3-pointers down on them.
The Whalers finished with 14 3-pointers for the second straight game in a 104-58 decimation of Stonington at Conway Gymnasium.
"We give up 57 a game ... 104, it's mind-blowing," Luzzi said.
Third-seeded New London (15-6) will play at No. 2 Waterford in Saturday's semifinals (6:30 p.m.) The Lancers shredded No. 7 Bacon Academy 85-46 in their quarterfinal.
The Whalers beat Waterford 76-67 in their only regular-season matchup (Jan. 23).
Edwardo Gonzalez (23 points, five assists) led New London with four 3-pointers. The Whalers' 3-pointers accounted for over half their 27 field goals.
The Steph Curry-zation of basketball has made the 3-point field goal the "it" thing in the game, a change folks like San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and many others detest.
Craig Parker, now in his 24th season as head coach of New London, was asked if he liked the 3-pointer.
"How many did we make?" Parker asked.
Told they made 14, Parker said with a grin: "To answer your question, I like it as long as it's benefitting my team. I like it. Other than that, I don't like it."
Jalen Benson made two 3-pointers and scored 19.
"We're improving because at the beginning of the season, we were shooting (OK), but not like we did tonight," Benson said.
DeVonte Wrighten added 12 points and 15 rebounds for New London, which had 13 of its 14 players score.
"Even at Ledyard (Saturday), we played terrible (offensively), but we lost 55-33," Luzzi said. "We gave up 55 points, defensively we were playing well. That's the part that's really frustrating.
"These guys (New London) are good, but (the) NFAs, Waterfords, East Lymes, we've been right there with all of them. It should've been no different tonight, but unfortunately we didn't get there."
Marquis Jackson had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Stonington (10-11) and Zach Scott scored 19.
New London's full-court press ruined the Bears from the opening tip as it turned steal after steal into points. It led 15-2 with 4 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter. It led 33-9 at the quarter's end.
The Whalers had eight steals in the first quarter alone. Benson had five of them and finished with eight. He and Gonzalez each scored 10 that quarter.
"Some nights it works, some nights it doesn't," Parker said of his team's defensive pressure. "Tonight, it happened to work. From a coaching standpoint, I was just pleased with our effort from the start. We came out ready to play. That's the important thing, regardless of the defense. We came out ready to play."
Elijah Martinez made a three-point play, followed by a 3-pointer, to push New London ahead 42-18 with over five minutes left in the first half.
Benson continued the onslaught with a layup. He had a steal moments later and fed Gio Lopez for a layup and a 46-18 New London lead.
"It's just a shame that we came out here and caved into their pressure when, again, we've faced pressure and done a fine job with it all year," Luzzi said. "I can't really explain what (happened)."
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