St. Thomas More feels right at home in winning own Founder's tourney

Montville — The gymnasium at St. Thomas More has always been iconic, mostly because its modesty normally belies the talent inside.

Jere Quinn, the 1,000-game winner and multiple-time New England champion, has sent players to the highest levels of basketball, all with a dimly-lit home office with four rows of bleachers.

Ah, but now it is 2019 and there's a new look for the old barn. Recently added new lights and scoreboards brightened the place just in time for the 29th Founder's Tournament, culminating with Saturday's championship game.

The Chancellors didn't disappoint, pounding the Knox School of Long Island, 90-70, winning the title for the 10th straight year.

Times are a-changin on Gardner Lake, from the emergence of new headmaster Matt Quinn to fundraising campaigns to a basketball team with an uncharacteristic eight losses to this point in the season, but still with a 16-8 record overall.

"Our alumni and parents have been great at this total fundraising effort that initiated this whole thing," Quinn said after the game from his office, whose walls are adorned with photos that tell a chunk of basketball history. "It's really just putting lipstick on good looking lips. We just needed to revitalize things. It's still a basketball court, but we want to raise more money for bleachers, more bleachers where the stage is now and a workout area."

Then Quinn paused, grinned and said, "Then we're going to get these things that I think are called basketball chairs for the bench so I'm not so sore at the end of games. Through a lot of staff, alumni, faculty and friends, it's happening."

T-More lost a 10-point lead in the first half Saturday, leading to Quinn replacing his entire five at once. Success. The lead regenerated quickly and didn't shrink under 10 in the second half.

Nicholas McDonald led the Chancellors with 21 points, while Ryo Kobyoshi (here from Kanagawa, Japan) had 12 points on four 3-pointers late in the first half. Wayne Bristol Jr. had 11 for T-More and Jared Garcia added 10.

St. Thomas More may play its third game in three days Sunday in Springfield (Mass.) at the Hoophall Classic, weather permitting.

"The team is starting to play better," Quinn said. "Our schedule is challenging. This year at one time we had 14 games against the top 10 (prep school) teams. We play everyone in our league twice, plus Putnam Science and Woodstock. It's not easy."


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