HARTFORD >> Defense isn’t always pretty, but it can be effective.
Maloney put that statement to the test Tuesday night in the CCC semifinals against Glastonbury.
The 11th-seeded Spartans fought off a second half push by the 15th-seeded Tomahawks to advance to their third conference title game since 2007 with a 44-40 victory at the Babe Allen Fieldhouse at Bulkeley High School.
After an anemic first half by Glastonbury in which they scored 12 points, the Tomahawks tied the game at 24-24 when Ian Halpin drove the baseline with 2:33 left in the third, but Maloney answered. Michael Gulino scored after the ball was saved from going out of bounds underneath the Spartans’ basket. The senior finished with six points and many more intangibles.
“Making a big play, making a big pass, the balls bouncing… he gets it,” Maloney coach Howard Hewitt said. “There are no real stats for those except the “W” at the end.”
Christian Porydzy gave Glastonbury a chance in the second half.
The junior scored the first five points of the third quarter to cut the lead down to three, including a triple from the top of the key. Ten of his 13 points came in the seconds half.
Jalen Ollie, who almost single-handily kept Glastonbury in the game in the first half with seven points (14 total), went coast-to-coast midway through the fourth, cutting the deficit to 36-34 and then hit two free throws a minute later to keep it that way. But the shots didn’t fall when they needed to, denying the Tomahawks a return trip to the title game.
“We got good shots that we missed and then after we missed, we stopped moving,” Glastonbury coach Jim Vaughan said. “We became very predictable on offense.”
Tracy Rumley, Maloney’s star guard had an off night with just three points, but the rest of the team stepped it up, especially Jordan Martin in the first quarter. He hit a 3-pointer for the first basket of the game and then another with 1:22 left in the first to give the Spartans a 9-2 lead at the time.
“I felt like I had to spark the team up,” said Martin, who finished the game with nine points on three 3-pointers.
Maloney will play Weaver in the CCC finals on Thursday at Central Connecticut State University.
“We’re a lower seed, but we can play with the best teams in the state,” Martin said.
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