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    Tuesday, April 23, 2024

    A banner night for the Griswold boys

    Griswold’s Kaiden Kazlauskas (11) goes up for a shot against Stonington’s Alex Nowak (10) during Friday’s boys’ basketball game at Stonington High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Griswold’s Aaden Cutter (4) looks to pass the ball against Stonington’s Aaron LoPresto (1) and Alex DePerry (14) during Friday’s boys’ basketball game at Stonington High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Stonington’s Alex DePerry (14) goes up for a long shot against Griswold’s Sean Garvin (3) during Friday’s boys’ basketball game at Stonington High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Stonington’s Aaron LoPresto (1) goes up for a shot against Griswold’s Kaiden Kazlauskas (11) during Friday’s boys’ basketball game at Stonington High School. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Stonington — They accomplished the very same thing last season, the Griswold Wolverines did. And their reaction to winning a division title within the Eastern Connecticut Conference was barely a shrug, perhaps because the Wolverines of 2023 had the potential of making the state semifinals. Which they did.

    But then came Friday night, the Wolverines of 2024 a band of mostly sophomores who weren’t supposed to contend for a thing. There they were at the end, taking the team picture of the 2024 ECC Division III champs.

    Griswold 80, Stonington 71. Griswold (12-8, 6-2) won the division by sweeping Stonington (14-6, 6-2) in the regular season.

    “This is sweet,” Griswold coach Rob Mileski said. “Not expected. Not at all. Stonington is a team full of seniors that’s very good.”

    KinKade Rubino, one of two Griswold seniors, scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth period as the Wolverines gradually separated themselves. Kaiden Kazlauskas and Sean Garvin made consecutive threes with under two minutes remaining to ice it.

    “This is probably sport No. 3 for KinKade,” Mileski said. “He’s out here just to have some fun with the guys. He really made some shots.”

    “Coach has really made us put the work in all year,” Rubino said. “We lost a lot of guys and he made it clear that all of us had to step up.”

    Stonington led 27-10 in the second period, but watched Griswold use a 21-4 run to eventually tie it. Three-pointers in the third period from Aaron LoPresto and Alex DePerry gave the Bears a 49-40 lead with 2:55 left in the third period, but Griswold rallied again to lead by one heading to the fourth.

    “(Stonington) must have been saying ‘man, these guys won’t go away,” Mileski said.

    Kazlauskas led Griswold with 25 points. Kolby Mills had 17 and Garvin 16. Robbie Scavello had a game-high 31 for Stonington.

    Griswold joins the ECC’s other three division winners St. Bernard (I), Waterford (II) and Wheeler (IV) in advance of next week’s ECC Tournament.

    It’s possible that Griswold and Stonington could play two more times: somewhere in the ECC Division II Tournament and in the state Division III playoffs.

    “I started to think we were good when we beat North Haven and NFA,” Rubino said. “But this one was something.

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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