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    Saturday, June 10, 2023

    Fitch clinches tie for ECC Div. 2 basketball title

    Waterford — It would have been perfectly reasonable to assume that Charles Sylvan was a happy guy Friday night because his team had just clinched a tie for the Eastern Connecticut Conference’s Division II boys’ basketball title.

    But Sylvan, the coach at Fitch, was happy (and relieved) for another reason: His team finally won a game at the Francis X. Sweeney Fieldhouse.

    “This has been a house of horrors for us,” Sylvan said, alluding to how Fitch hadn’t won at The X since 2015. “And we just snuck out of here, too. Bill (Waterford coach Bill Bassett) made some great adjustments in the second half.”

    Fitch won 46-34, moving to 11-4 overall and 7-0 in Div. II. If the Falcons win their last division game at Windham on Feb. 14, they’ll earn the title outright.

    “We weren’t really thinking aboit the division,” Sylvan said. “Each game is another game and we want to keep getting better. It’s not who we play but how we play.”

    The “how” wasn’t necessarily consistent Friday, but a dominant second period overwhelmed the Lancers (5-12, 3-3). Fitch held Waterford scoreless for the first 6:44 of the quarter, turning a 10-9 deficit into an eventual 26-12 lead at halftime.

    “We went back to four fullcourt man,” Sylvan said. “We had to get out of it early because Bill had a nice wrinkle. But once we got back to where we needed to be, things got better for us.”

    Fitch led by as many as 17 in the second half before the Lancers rallied. Jordi Cassar’s three-pointer with 2:06 remaining got Waterford within five at 35-30. But freshman J.J. Robinson answered with a 3-pointer in Fitch’s next possession, giving the Falcons an eight-point lead.

    “A humongous shot,” Sylvan said. “That’s what he’s been doing all year for us, even as a freshman. He’s always stepping up when we need him.”

    Robinson led Fitch with 14 points.

    Logan Peabody led Waterford with 13 points. Waterford must win its last three games (Stonington, Windham, at Woodstock) to qualify for the state tournament.


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