Wheeler scores 1,000th as St. Bernard beats Windsor
Montville — It’s not just any team that beats the Windsor boys’ basketball team twice in a season. Programs with state championship pedigree such as Bloomfield and East Catholic would attest to that.
St. Bernard can add itself to that short list.
Senior Tyson Wheeler scored 23, including his 1,000th point, as the top-seeded Saints led Windsor for the entire second half and held off a late rally for a 76-71 win on Monday night in a CIAC Division II quarterfinal.
“(Windsor head coach) Kenny Smith I know very closely,” Wheeler said. “They have a good history; won (four) state championships.
“It’s just a big one to get past them to reach our goal to win the state championship.”
St. Bernard (23-3) ended the regular season with a 56-47 home win over Windsor (Feb. 20).
“It says a lot about our kids and they played their butts off,” Saints head coach Mark Jones said about his team’s accomplishment. “(Windsor is) a well-coached team which has a lot of tradition with them and we’re trying to build that here.
“Beating them twice is a big deal.”
St. Bernard advances to play No. 5 Xavier in an all-Diocese of Norwich semifinal. The game will be played Wednesday at a site and time to be announced. Xavier beat Kennedy 54-50.
The Saints had three other players score in double figures — sophomore Amyre Gray (18 points, eight assists) and seniors Cedrick Similien (16 points, five rebounds) and Ryan Outlow (14 points, nine rebounds).
Junior Quintin Floyd scored 28 for the Warriors (17-8) and Rashawn Tibby added 16 points and seven rebounds.
The 3-point shot was a big reason the Saints won as they made 11, including seven in the first half.
“We hadn’t been shooting well in the past couple of games,” Wheeler said. “When you’ve got all of us hitting, it’s really hard to beat us. And when we have a reason to work hard for the state championship, it’s really hard to beat us.”
Wheeler made a game-high four 3s, including one with a second left in the half to give St. Bernard a 32-31 lead it never relinquished. It had trailed by as much as 25-15 less than a minute into the second quarter.
That three to end the half was also Wheeler’s 1,000th point.
“My first three was here at St. Bernard,” Wheeler said. “(It was the) last game at St. Bernard so to get 1,000 felt good.”
Similien scored his 1,000th point earlier in the season.
“It’s quite an accomplishment ... to have two kids score in the same year score 1,000 points,” Jones said. “That’s quite a feat.”