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    Friday, April 19, 2024

    No. 1 Bloomfield ousts No. 4 New London in Div. III semis

    New London’s Richard Taylor (33) attempts to steal a ball from Bloomfield’s Howard Simpson (2) during the Whalers’ 78-59 loss on Wednesday night in the CIAC Division III boys’ basketball semifinals at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    New London’s Devan Williams (2) is defended by Bloomfield’s Cayden Smith (5) in the CIAC Divisoin III boys’ basketball semifinals at Floyd Little Athletic Center Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    New London’s Julius Washington (23) pulls down a rebound over Bloomfield’s Jaysean Williams (1) in the CIAC Division III boys basketball semifinals at Floyd Little Athletic Center Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    New Haven — All the work — the practices, bus rides, training tables, doubts, hopes and wonders, all the work that makes winning sweeter and losing wretched — created the true charm of Connecticut high school basketball, nights like this, when 32 minutes determines whether dreams end or rise in size.

    And this is what faced the Whalers on Wednesday night, a formidable assignment in the CIAC Division III boys’ basketball semifinals at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. Yes, New London played some name brands during the regular season, including Hillhouse and St. Bernard (three times), all contributing to its preparation for top-seeded Bloomfield.

    Except Bloomfield, the defending state Division IV champion, sent notice it is ready to win again, throttling the No. 4 Whalers, 78-59.

    Bloomfield will play for the state title this weekend against No. 2 Waterbury Career at Mohegan Sun Arena. WCA defeated No. 6 Platt 84-71 in the other semifinal.

    “They outworked us, basically,” New London coach Craig Parker said. “More aggressive from the opening tip. We have a great group of kids. We just faced a team that was a little hungrier.”

    Devan Williams led the Whalers, who finish 20-6, with 21 points. Cayden Smith had 18 for Bloomfield.

    The Warhawks led 8-0, 18-4 and 25-6 in the first period, starting a pair of 6-foot-5 forwards in senior Howard Simpson and sophomore Braeden Harris. The Whalers had difficulty matching Bloomfield’s size — and athleticism. Sophomore Jaysean Williams made two free throws with 4.6 seconds left in the first quarter to give Bloomfield a 27-6 lead.

    New London’s offense awakened in the second quarter when Williams made a 3-pointer and a three-point play in consecutive possessions, cutting Bloomfield’s lead to 27-15. But the Warkawks had little trouble offensively, pushing the lead to 42-24 on Davion Kerr’s three-point play with 2:14 left in the half.

    Bloomfield led 45-26 at halftime.

    New London senior Richard Taylor did his best to keep the Whalers close in the third period with blocked shots on two straight possessions. But Jaysean Williams’ 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the quarter gave the Warhawks their first lead in excess of 20 points, 51-30.

    Bloomfield led 62-42 after three.

    New London returns several players next season, including juniors-to-be Da’Shaun Phillips, Williams and SaVahn Warren and 2024 sophomores Xavier Goode and Julius Washington.

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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