Old Lyme boys clinch a share of Shoreline title with win over rival Cromwell

Old Lyme — The first email Old Lyme coach Kirk Kaczor got from one of his players regarding Senior Night was from senior Ray Doll, a starter since his sophomore season.

Old Lyme has six healthy seniors. Doll offered to give up his starting spot in favor of fellow senior Jackson Warren. Then, not long after, Brady Sheffield made the same offer to Kaczor.

"I said, 'Too late. You got to be faster on this team,'" Kaczor said. "Those are the kinds of kids we have."

The Old Lyme High School boys' basketball team, ranked 10th in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, celebrated Senior Night on Monday with a 70-46 victory over Shoreline Conference rival Cromwell which gave Old Lyme at least a share of the league's regular-season championship.

The Wildcats (18-1, 15-0) can wrap up the title outright with a victory Wednesday at the Morgan School.

It was Old Lyme's 11th straight victory, precipitated by 24 points and six rebounds from senior Jared Ritchie, but it was the Wildcats' first meeting with 2019 Shoreline champ Cromwell since the Panthers beat Old Lyme in overtime, 52-46, to win last year's league tournament championship.

Old Lyme scored the game's first 16 points, including eight by Ritchie and a 3-pointer by Doll, coming off the bench, to close the run.

"We've always liked playing against Cromwell," Ritchie said. "Last year was a tough loss against them. We definitely ... I think this year is a lot different to us, but everyone remembers what it felt like to lose to Cromwell last year."

"These kids tend to have a lot of energy anyway," Kaczor said of the 16-0 start. "We're trying just really to win every game, trying every day to get a little bit better than you were yesterday."

Doll finished with 15 points and senior Aedan Using had 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Using, a Division V all-state selection last year at forward who led the 21-6 Wildcats to the first state championship appearance in program history, leads the team in assists, Kaczor said, because of his ability to draw a double-team and then find his open teammates.

"Aedan's a great teammate," said Ritchie, who was the beneficiary of a number of Using's deft passes against Cromwell. "He's such a great player ... he's never afraid to give the ball to his teammates."

Sheffield started the Old Lyme scoring following the Senior Night ceremony on a drive, followed by three straight baskets by Ritchie, the first off a Cromwell turnover, the second on an assist by Using and the third on the front end of a fast break. Sheffield then added a 3-pointer before Ritchie scored once more assisted by Using.

Doll's 3-pointer from the right wing ended the run, which encompassed two Cromwell timeouts.

Ritchie had 10 in the first half and Doll nine, with Old Lyme building a 16-8 lead after one quarter and a 32-17 advantage at halftime.

Ritchie and Using had back-to-back three-point plays for Old Lyme late in the third quarter and the Wildcats scored the last six points of the third to lead 51-32. Using assisted Ritchie to make it 47-32, then scored twice himself, the final time on a length-of-the-court drive.

The seniors checked out of the game to a large ovation with 1:56 to play.

The seniors on this Old Lyme team are Warren, Ty Dean, Sheffield, Doll, Using, Ritchie and Connor Hogan, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

The Wildcats begin play in the Shoreline tournament with a quarterfinal game Saturday.

"We're just getting ready for the playoffs," Ritchie said. "We've had a good season, but we haven't won anything yet."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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