Class LL boys basketball: No. 1 Prep beats Hillhouse for fourth time, rolls into semis

Fairfield Prep's Paschal Chukwu battles for a rebound with Hillhouse's Shane Christie during the fourth quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals.  (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

Fairfield Prep’s Paschal Chukwu battles for a rebound with Hillhouse’s Shane Christie during the fourth quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals. (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

Fairfield Preps' Paschal Chukwu gets over Hillhouse's Raiquan Clark during the 4th quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals.  (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

Fairfield Preps’ Paschal Chukwu gets over Hillhouse’s Raiquan Clark during the 4th quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals. (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

FAIRFIELD >> Forget about the difficulty of beating a team three times in a single season. How about four times?

Throw in the facts that Hilhouse was the defending Class LL state champion and the state record-holder with 22 state championships. But none of that mattered on Monday night.

Fairfield Prep is moving on – to the Class LL semifinals – after thrashing Hillhouse 71-47 before a sellout crowd of 2,500 at Alumni Hall in this LL quarterfinal-round matchup.


“We still have the tears from last year,” Prep center Paschal Chukwu said. “To beat them four times has to come down to making the big plays.”

Said Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton: “As hard as it is to coach a talented team, I think Leo (Redgate, at Prep) does a great job with it. I know it may seem easy to people to coach a lot of talent, but, trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks.

“I hope they go on and win the championship and Larry Kelley and the Career Panthers will have to carry the torch for New Haven (in Class L).”


A 16-7 run that lasted the entire third quarter put Fairfield Prep (26-0) ahead 45-31. Chukwu had eight of his game-high 20 rebounds in the third quarter.

It only got worse from there for the Academics (20-6). Sutton tried several different combinations, but none of them had any effect on the Jesuits.

Hillhouse's Corey Barrett puts up a three pointer over Fairfield Prep's Kieth Pettway during the 2nd quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals.  3/17/14 (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

Hillhouse’s Corey Barrett puts up a three pointer over Fairfield Prep’s Kieth Pettway during the 2nd quarter during the Class LL boys basketball quarterfinals. 3/17/14 (Peter Casolino-New Haven Register)

Hillhouse’s comeback on March 5 almost ended up forcing overtime in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament final. Prep make sure Hillhouse stayed down double digits on Monday.

“It’s tough to score the ball on them,” Sutton said. “Offensively, we couldn’t buy a bucket, free throws that we missed and a couple of shots that I thought were goaltends. Add all that up and it took the air out of our guys.”

Fairfield Prep will face No. 4 Greenwich on Wednesday in the semifinals at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. It’s a chance for Chukwu to match up with someone similar in size – Greenwich center Alex Wolf is 6-foot-10, 4 inches smaller than Chukwu.

“When I’m playing someone I’m really a lot taller than, it’s hard to adjust,” Chukwu said. “(Wolf) is a really tall guy, so it is definitely good. The cheap fouls you get (guarding someone much shorter), you won’t get them against (someone of similar height).”

Chukwu added 15 points and four blocked shots, but it was Prep’s guards who carved up the Academics. Keith Pettway had a game-high 26 points while Tommy Nolan added 19, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

“Hillhouse is a great defensive team. Coach wanted us to face guard their best players (Shane Christie and Raiquan Clark) and just play defense the rest of the way,” Pettway said.

Hillhouse made just two baskets in the third quarter – one apiece from Clark and Christie. Clark finished his career with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Christie ended his with 13 points.

(at Fairfield Prep)
Hillhouse 8 16 7 16 – 47
Fairfield Prep 11 18 16 26 -71

Wayne Whyth 0 0-0 0, Joe Kasperzyk 0 0-0 0, Dion Boyd 0 2-2 2, Corey Barrett 2 0-0 5, Troy Walters 0 2-3 2, Isaiah Lewis 3 0-0 6, Shane Christie 4 2-5 13, Raiquan Clark 6 2-3 14, Aaron White 2 1-2 5. Totals: 17 9-15 47
Ryan Murphy 0 0-0 0, Keith Pettway 7 12-19 26, Thomas Nolan 6 5-5 19, Ray Featherston 2 2-2 8, Dave Zielinski 0 0-0 0, Ryan Foley 1 0-0 3, Paschal Chukwu 7 1-2 15. Totals: 23 20-28 71
3-point goals: Hillhouse 4 (Barrett 1, Christie 3); Fairfield Prep 5 (Nolan 2, Featherston 2, Foley 1); Records: Hillhouse 20-6; Fairfield Prep 26-0

Below: Fairfield Prep’s Tom Nolan with a sweet crossover move for a basket late in the third quarter.


  1. Rex Kingman says

    Awfully quiet in the New Haven corner. Regardless what happens the rest of the way…Hillhouse got hosed!!

  2. Rex Kingman says

    Hillhouse was a fair team. On their best night I don’t think they would beat Prep. If Prep can finish with state crown they deserve to be recognized. They will have played the best teams in the state and beaten them all. CIAC should let the kids play at least one in season tourny and a couple of out of state games…and I don’t mean Vermont!

  3. Ct bball historian says

    You the same guy talking about Texas basketball in a previous post? Who gives a damn about Texas bball around here? Connecticut is about 1/10 (I’m guessing) the size of Texas.
    New Haven and Bridgeport have a rich basketball history. I’m just a guy from the suburbs who really enjoyed following the great New Haven teams and the great Bridgeport teams. I took a lot of pride in seeing them playing big time college basketball and then following them into the NBA. It looks like they are getting back on track. We need Cross to match Hillhouse.

    • MPT says

      Also, can the haters stop dumping on Prep’s coach?

      Redgate is 86-12 in his 4-year career. During the same time Hillhouse, arguably the best program in the state, is just slightly better at 90-10.

      Sure, Redgate has had some great players (Tarpey and Chukwu)…but what successful team doesn’t have star players? It’s not like Coach Sutton from Hillhouse has done it with slackers.

  4. gobballfan says

    Please, no commets about the refs. They were shaky at best. HH was shooting 1 and 1 before Prep in 2nd halh. HH was mauling the big guy, and hands all over the guards. HH guy literally pulled FP player to the floor and he lost the ball, and ref blew whistle. Everyone expected foul on HH and he called FP out of bounds. (this was right in front of Joe M).
    Pasqual is just too big. If you aren’t hitting 3s and foul shots, you ain’t winning. Most interesting part of game was the fact that Murphy only had a couple minutes of playing time in first half. Kudos the the Prep cheering section. Very entertaining.

  5. Bob of West Haven says

    Just like in Boys Hockey the team that recruits gets the win. The system is broken, Prep gets to go all over the world to get their players while the public schools have to stay within town boundries. It’s time to put catholic schools in their own division.

  6. Rex Kingman says

    I will say it again. Connecticut BBall was at one time known throughout the country and yes…down in Texas we heard of you. We thought it was really cool for a tiny state to not just stand up to the so called big boys but to knock them down and step over them on the way to the very top. We respected that big time! But that was then and now is a different story. The 2006 and 2007 Hillhouse teams were great as was the Bpt Central team a few years ago. Stop living in the past. I think the CIAC is holding the schools back by nearly eliminating the intra-city rivalries like New Haven vs Hartford schools ,etc.I would love to see the schools here play a more representative schedule against some of the other east coast basketball powers like in the old days. New Haven is special in high school hoops! There is just one city in the country with more combined boys and girls basketball state championships…Detroit, Michigan. And guess what high school has the most boys and girls titles combined? Give up? HILLHOUSE! I probably know more about high school hoops than 99.9% of anybody! I love the game. What I don’t like is hearing people talking down on a team that is trying to get where you have been. It’s called competition in case you don’t know. Respecting your opponents is not a sign of weakness. The quality of your opponents is what give value to your accomplishment. It would be hard to argue your being great if all you played were chump teams. So don’t misunderstand me…this Texan loves what this city has done on the basketball court. One of the best darned traditions anywhere.

  7. Rex Kingman says

    Oh…you are close. Texas is about 9 times the population of Connecticut and 55 times the area. Would love to have TX vs CT high school tournament. It would be great for the kids. No disrespect. Okay.
    School I went to has great basketball tradition but not as big as Hillhouse. Jack Yates HS in Houston. You should check out your entire history. It is a super great story.

  8. Rex Kingman says

    @FF fan …when I say hosed, I mean like sprayed with a fire hose! Prep whipped them good and proper.

    • FP Fan says

      Thanks for the clarification. I though you meant that some outside source (ie. refs) cost them the game.

  9. Rex Kingman says

    Anybody watch ESPN 30/30 Sunday night? It was good story about rise and fall of Big East Conference…except it would have you believe Big East was all Georgetown and Syracuse with a splash of St John’s and Syracuse. Don’t think they mentioned Connecticut once.For all intent and purpose they could have called it the Patrick Ewing story. Made a point of talking about how his HS team was so dominant. Do you know Ewing had just one loss in his entire HS career? That one loss was to New Haven’s own Wilbur Cross HS. ESPN showed a lot Georgetown and Syracuse bias. UConn came on late but ended up the most dominant of all Big East teams. Connecticut gave the conference many of its biggest names. Just saying. In the early years Connecticut high school players were all over the conference. Guys like John Bagley, John Pinone, Jay Murphy, Corny Thompson, Earl Kelley, Harold Pressley, Harold Jensen, Charles Smith, Mike McKay, Michael Adams.

  10. gobballfan says

    Bob in WH… Do you really think that the kids at HH, Cross or Career come from the school district each of those schools are in? They have kids from surrounding towns, boys and girls. Don’t be so gullible. Especially in WH, where kids end up at HH or Cross all the time.

  11. brownie says

    Simply put Prep was the better team and Pasqual changes and intimidates each and every shot. He is the game changer in ct. This years Hillhouse team in not a vintage team. Fair at best. Prep should beat Greenwich but will run into some trouble because Greenwich can defend. Bridgeport Central will beat Prep if they prevent Petteway from getting the ball. Pure and simple that is the way to beat Prep. Case closed.

    • says

      Here’s my perspective: the best two teams in the state just played in the quarterfinals. It was not as close as previous games because HH did not bring its best game (just as Prep didn’t bring its best game in the LL finals last year). These two teams have played 100+ games over the past two seasons and have combined for a total of 9 losses. Seven of those losses were to each other. Prep lost 3 games last year, all to HH, one in overtime. HH lost 6 games this year–4 to Prep and the others to Career and Cross, which are both top five programs. Hats off to both of them. Its been a great two years. I’m not quite sure I understand the Texas thing, but these two teams could play with any team in the country. As could Bridgeport Central. One great thing that could be in the offing is a match between Central and Prep, bringing back the great MBIAC rivalry of the lates 60s, when Prep, Central and Harding battled year after year Remember that of the first five NBA underclassman draft players, three had played in the Bridgeport.

  12. gobballfan says

    Unless teams hit 3s against Prep, good luck. They turned blocked shots into transition points. And they will work the ball until Pascal opens up down low. If you drop down on him, they have more than a couple options to hit the 3. Not a prep fan, but they do seem unbeatable.

  13. Fat Mike says

    Rex, I am glad you have taken an interest locally. I would consider you at the intermediate level in regards to knowledge of our states illustrious basketball history. I followed it thru stories and the New Haven Register. Unfortunately, I didn’t live it. There are people that comment on gametime that experienced it first hand.

  14. says

    Prep played a smart game, Paschal is a game changer – 20 rebounds and countless blocks and alterations – and say what you want about Prep guards but they know how to work the ball! Pettway, Nolan and Featherstone combined for 53 points – more than our entire team. 5 three’s and looking to get the ball inside to Paschal, along with steady ball pressure on D, Say what you want about their coach Redgate but he went with his quick team and they seem to have great chemistry and they beat us going away. HH is rebuilding from our own great chemistry team of last year. Give credit to where credit is due, now Prep is representing the SCC. Go get the ring, beat Greenwich and the Fciac, their fans were chanting “we want Prep” well baby they have no idea what they are in for! SCC is the best conference and now Prep represents us all in the LL and Career in the L. Boys bring home the crowns! Go Prep and go Career!

    • Raff says

      Outstanding! One of the most accurate and best comments I have seen on this blog in a long time. You are right when you say Prep needs to go get the ring! Now is Prep’s time to cash in with Chuku- Nolan and the role players on there team. 26-0 and they have two battles left. It looks like Prep will need to quiet the FCIAC and take it home.

      Let’s remember Hillhouse lost 9 seniors form last years 26-1 team and beating Prep 3 out of 4 and in the SCC final and Class LL final wasn’t easy. Hillhouse to lose the State Player of the Year in
      Andre Anderson, Bobby Bynum and Chase Daniels who will be at Quinnipiac this coming season and to still be 20-6 and battling Prep in the SCC finals and LL quarterfinals this year speaks volumes. Hillhouse is 93-11 in the last 4 seasons and 5 of the 11 losses were to Prep and 4 losses to Career.

      Hopefully Prep and Career can represent the SCC and bring home LL & L. Both teams have had great seasons. Prep obviously has answered the bell being 26-0 but they have to finish. Going 27-1 and losing the LL final would be a tough pill to swallow. Prep also deserves a bow if they go 28-0 and finish this off. Remember to go 28-0 and get everyone’s best game when they play you isn’t easy.

      Good luck Prep and Career!

  15. Eric Smith says

    Greenwich will have trouble playing in an arena for the 1st time. Depth perception on shots will play a factor. Bird is a very smooth player but needs more seasoning. Wolf is one of the strongest players in the state, a load inside when ghs gives him the ball, at times this year Bird is better when Wolf is on the bench and not clogging the middle, gives him more of a chance to create.
    FP is too much! They can play fast or, slow it down. GHS has to decide who will Palmer guard? Pettway? Nolan?
    Prep win this running away…15 plus

  16. hoopster says

    You tell ’em Rob! Too bad gametime ct couldn’t find any space to write about Ledyard going to Crosby last night and hammering them. Norwalk, Kennedy and now Crosby — not bad wins for a class M school! Shame on game time CT for not recognizing nor even acknowledging the Colonels. Weak.

  17. Paul says

    One area that Greenwich will definitely have the advantage is in their fan zone. All of the Prep kids are going to the hockey state semi finals tomorrow at Yale. They seem to think that the basketball game is a set W for prep, while the hockey game will be closer in competition.

  18. hoopster says

    Sean, there were 4 games on Monday. 4. Askign a site that calls itself “gametime ct” to cover all 4 isn’t exactly lofty standards in my book. You act as if this was round one of NCAAs — there were only 4 games in the whole state that day! It’s clear this site has their favorites; sorry for crashing your state tourney.

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says


      Think about this from our perspective: There were ELEVEN CT games on Monday, not just the 4 Class LL boys hoops.

      Class S girls basketball semifinals …The EIGHT boys quarterfinals, both LL and M. …And the two Division II hockey semifinals.

      And we staffed SEVEN of them, which isn’t half bad (It’s actually a third bad, but also two thirds good!)

      But we are required to cover our main properties first before we can splurge (NH Register area, Middletown Press region, Torrington Register-Citizen region, Fairfield Minuteman region).

      So… yes, covering the entire state well is a lofty standard compared to the other media organizations. And, yes, we aspire to it. But we’re not quite there yet. It’s coming, though. It’s coming…

  19. hoopster says

    As soon as I wrote “sorry for crashing your state tourney” I knew it was a gratuitous, cheap shot and I shouldn’t have sent it. I apologize. I appreciate this site and understand it is in its infancy — I look forward to seeing it grow. thanks.

  20. Rob (On Connecticut's East Coast -> OCEC) says

    Consolation match, that’s a good one. What will happen though if Ledyard continues to climb the GametimeCT / NH Register Ranking ladder? I’ll tell you that You (fat Mike) can expect a HEAVY dose of rhetoric served on a platter of Crow with a full 1/4 slice of Humble pie. If they don’t, well what have I got to lose, they’ve been playing with house money all year seeing as how they are from a conference no one talks about or talks poorly about. They’re a Class M school that dropped a long time LL school who is touted as the crown jewel of the NVL with 11 championship there recently. Crosby was #3 in the NH Register poll BTW and had been ranked in it all year long. Next up Number 2.

    As for coverage, I said it during football season just to be “snarkey” but gametime doesn’t look East past the Connecticut river too often. They take the Polecat’s and BCGenius’ word for what’s up W A Y over here. Although, Waterbury is just North of their AOR so . . .

    Continue to grow GameTime CT, I really enjoy the product so far and look forward to being a respected and expected pest in the future.

  21. Big John says

    Is’nt FP a private school?
    Do’nt students pay to attend?
    Does Chukwu pay? Is he on scholarship? Is he even American?
    Or does he live at the coaches house.
    Interesting, all this hoopla about FP, and they can recruit from all over world.
    Help me understand this whole prep school thing.

    • PrepFan says

      Fairfield Prep, with its insurmountable recruiting advantage, is the dominant basketball program in the state, having won two championships in the last 44 years.

      Hillhouse, on the other hand, has managed to win nine state titles in that time.

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