Crosby boys basketball coach Nick Augelli honestly cannot recall which team he recorded victory No. 500 against. Chances are, if he gets to 600 this season, he will be able to remember it vividly.
Augelli currently has 595 victories with one game remaining during the regular season. So if it happens this season, it will be during the Class LL state tournament.
“I don’t think I will make it to 80 like (former St. Joseph coach) Vito (Montelli) did,” said Augelli, 67. “I still look forward to the practices and games. We have a good nucleus of young kids on the varsity, so our future looks good. (Former Notre Dame-West Haven coach) Gary Palladino told me I would know when it’s time to give it up. Right now, I see myself still at Crosby as long as I’m healthy.”
Augelli is in his 34th season at Crosby. He’s won three state championships (1998, 2005 and 2008) and been to the finals three other times. He could add to his totals this season.
Senior Tyshon Rogers (pictured right) is not only Crosby’s all-time leading scorer, but became the 20th player in CIAC history to surpass 2,000 points for his career against Torrington on Feb. 7.
Currently, Rogers is 12th on the all-time list with 2,135 points. He is 94 points away from surpassing former Torrington standout Jordan Williams as the Naugatuck Valley League’s all-time leading scorer.
“I’ve never coached a player who played or worked as hard as he does,” Augelli said. “In practice or games, he never takes a play off. He doesn’t even seem to sweat. That is contagious to the rest of the players.”
While Rogers gets to the basket at will, fellow senior Lex Perez keeps defenses honest from the perimeter. He is averaging approximately 18 ppg. for the Bulldogs.
Those two seniors have led the rest of the third-ranked Bulldogs to a familiar place — atop the NVL Copper Division standings. They are tied with fourth-ranked Sacred Heart and the two teams split during the regular season.
And since both teams have an identical NVL record to date, a coin toss was held last week to determine which team would be the top seed in the NVL tournament if both teams finished tied. Crosby won the toss.
So the Bulldogs, who have won nine of the first 10 NVL tournaments, will be the top seed beginning Saturday if they beat Naugatuck tonight. Then it’s on to the Class LL tournament.
Augelli believes Crosby’s 88-76 win over Bunnell Friday, last year’s South-West Conference champion and a contender this year, will help the team’s overall confidence after burying most of the NVL competition. In the 16 games not including either Sacred Heart or Bunnell, Crosby’s average margin of victory is almost 36 ppg.
Motivation should also play a big part of Crosby’s LL run this year. The Bulldogs lost in the opening round last season to Newtown.
“It still sticks in my craw,” Augelli said. “We remind the kids a lot about that game. (Newtown) played an excellent game and we made some careless mistakes down the stretch.”