Witkowski leads unbeaten Coast Guard past Conn College
New London — If Packy Witkowski, the junior shooter at Coast Guard Academy, were any hotter Thursday night, he’d have been commanded to stop, drop and roll.
The kid barely missed, setting school records for most 3-point field goals (10) and points (40) in one game, leading the resurgent Bears to a 101-72 stroll over Connecticut College, earning Coast Guard the 2018 Route 32 championship.
Coast Guard (7-0) goes for the unofficial city college basketball title Saturday at Mitchell, which would conclude a most successful rivalry week for the program. The Bears dusted rival Merchant Marine last Sunday before inhaling Conn (2-5).
Witkowski’s 40 points were impressive enough on their face, perhaps more so considering he didn’t score in the Bears’ last home game.
“I got a good night’s sleep this time,” Witkowski said, illustrating something perhaps only his fellow Cadets can appreciate, given their time demands. Perhaps Coast Guard coach Kevin Jaskiewicz can order Witkowski to begin napping forthwith in preparation for the Mitchell game.
“I was fortunate enough to coach a 2,000-point scorer,” Jaskiewicz said, alluding to Earl Hunt, who he coached at Brown with Glen Miller. “I can say that Packy is the best shooter I’ve ever coached.”
Witkowski’s 40th point, which earned him the school record, came with 6:50 remaining. He scored 40 points in 30 minutes.
“My teammates did a great job getting me the ball,” Witkowski said. “It started to feel like I couldn’t miss.”
He was 14-22 from the field, 10-15 from 3-point range and had a season-high eight rebounds.
Tyler Perez had 18 points and J.T. Cox scored 12 for the Bears who begin play in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference next month.
Jaskiewicz, noting the competition in the NEWMAC, said Coast Guard’s 7-0 nonleague record accomplishes now is to allow the Bears to “keep pace.”
Still, this is a welcome change in a program that’s struggled to win in recent years. Ah, but the erstwhile young players aren’t so young anymore. The Bears are a-comin.’
“We just trust and believe in each other,” Witkowski said. “The last two years have been tough at times. But it’s all paying off now.”
Jaskiewicz, who also coached a Final Four team at Conn with Miller, said, “the most impressive thing to me about our team this year is the guys’ commitment to winning. Not just playing. But winning. They have a mental approach to winning now.”
David Labossiere led Conn with 17 points and Jack Zimmerman had 12. The Camels played for interim coach Dan Lee, who replaced Tom Satran, the longtime coach who resigned last week.
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