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    Thursday, June 08, 2023

    A renewal of rivalries for both ECC championship games

    St. Bernard’s Tyson Wheeler (12) is double-teamed by New London’s Xavier Goode (5) and Marvel Fleurijeune (10) during their Feb. 3 game at St. Bernard. The two rivals will play for the ECC Division I boys’ basketball championship on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Griswold head coach Rob Mileski talks to Jeff Souvenance (22) after he comes off the court during a Jan. 27 game at Griswold. The Wolverines play Killingly in the ECC Division II boys’ basketball final on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Sometimes, quotes appearing in the newspaper do not reflect the true feelings of the orators.

    Take, for example, the best behavior at Saturday’s Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament semifinals. All parties affiliated with the boys’ basketball teams at Griswold, Killingly, New London and St. Bernard all but salivated at the thought of the renewal of rivalries and seasonal rematches in the upcoming league championship games. But for bulletin board material?

    Airballs all around.

    A sampling:

    “I’m excited. It’s going to be a great game,” New London sophomore Devan Williams said.

    “We’re all looking forward to it,” Griswold coach Rob Mileski said.

    And so onlookers must wait for the games to begin to see the fangs accompanying their excitement. Top-seeded Griswold meets No. 3 Killingly at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Division II championship game before No. 2 New London plays No. 1 St. Bernard in the Division I title game at 8.

    GameDay will stream both games live on theday.com.

    Griswold, the regular season Division III champion, earned the banner by sweeping Killingly. The Wolverines (19-3) won by a point at home early in the season before winning more convincingly at Killingly (52-41) in early February. Griswold is senior heavy and balanced, while Killingly (17-5) has among the league’s best players in senior Yianni Baribeau.

    St. Bernard (19-3), the regular season Division I champion, swept New London, 69-51 at Conway Gym and 70-62 a month later. The Whalers (18-4) were without starting guard Da’Shaun Phillips (illness) for the second game and have benefited lately from emerging senior center Richard Taylor, who had 10 rebounds and six blocks in Saturday’s win over Fitch.

    “They’re well coached and Richard played really well (against Fitch),” St. Bernard forward Ryan Outlow said after Saturday’s win over Windham in the semifinals. “I’ve got my hands full on (Wednesday).”

    But then, so do the Whalers, who must contend with guards Tyson Wheeler, Cedrick Similien and Amyre Gray as well as Outlow and Amare Marshall in the post.

    “We’ve got to play hard and take care of the ball (Wednesday),” St. Bernard coach Mark Jones said. “Their kids do an amazing job on the glass.”

    The Whalers will play in Division III of the state tournament while the Saints will play in Division II.




    Wednesday’s Games

    Division II Final

    No. 1 Griswold (19-3) vs. No. 3 Killingly (17-5), 6 p.m.

    Division I Final

    No. 1 St. Bernard (19-3) vs. No. 2 New London (18-4), 8 p.m.

    Note: Both games will be streamed lived via GameDay on theday.com

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