Old Lyme boys beat Morgan to clinch Shoreline Conference regular-season title
Clinton — Winning a regular-season title means different things to different people. To some, it’s a big deal.
Not for the Old Lyme boys' basketball team.
“It means nothing,” Old Lyme senior Ray Doll smiled after he and the Wildcats led Morgan from start-to-finish Wednesday and won 67-50 to clinch the Shoreline Conference regular-season title.
The Wildcats are ‘meh’ about winning the Shoreline because they have bigger goals that are even bigger because of last season.
Old Lyme lost in overtime to Cromwell in the conference tournament. It went all the way to the its first CIAC state final at Mohegan Sun Arena, but lost to Innovation in the Division V championship game.
“The real season starts Saturday,” Wildcats head coach Kirk Kaczor said, referencing the conference tournament. “That’s the more important stuff. No one is going to care about the regular season. We care about the next season.”
Old Lyme (19-1, 16-0) will be the top seed in both the Shoreline and Division V tourneys.
“Losing in both the Shoreline (final) and the state final has kind of toughened us up for this year to make a big run, we hope at least,” Doll said.
Senior Aedan Using had a game-high 22 points with 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks for the Wildcats. Doll scored 20 with four rebounds and classmate Jared Ritchie added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Brady Sheffield scored just four but played a huge role in the Old Lyme's 39-22 halftime lead. He had six of the team’s 10 steals in the first half. He finished with seven.
“We’ve got some really good defenders, and Brady is right up there with any of them,” Kaczor said. “He was fabulous tonight. What he brings us defensively and with his leadership is a lot.”
Morgan (13-7, 11-5) had two advantages over the Wildcats and was finally able use them in the second half — its size and 3-point shooting.
Zach Johnson and Jason Cohen made successive 3-pointers to cut Old Lyme’s lead to 49-39 with 2:17 left in the third quarter. Four of the Huskies’ seven field goals that quarter were threes.
“We don’t beat them in a 3-point shooting competition,” Kaczor grinned. “They had a couple of guys there who were just draining from everywhere.”
Ten of Morgan’s 19 field goals were threes. Cohen had six of them for 18 points. Johnson added three 3-pointers and scored 11.
Rob Zurlis, a 6-foot-5 post, scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Reserve Connor Duffy (6-6) helped him keep Old Lyme off the boards.
“It’s funny — we were talking about it at the half that they had 22 points,” Doll said. “‘We go, ‘well, they’ve got 15 points on threes and seven inside with three 6-foot-4 kids.”
Cohen made his last 3-pointer to finally cut Old Lyme’s deficit to single digits, 53-44, to open the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats answered with an 8-0 run. Using scored twice on coast-to-coast drives as Old Lyme went ahead, 61-44, with over 3 minutes left.
“We weathered the storm and were able to stay on top,” Kaczor said.
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