The pressure was on Sacred Heart from the day the season started. Five starters returned from last season’s Class S state championship team.
The Hearts handled the pressure, and their competition, just fine. Sacred Heart finished 28-0, won the Naugatuck Valley League championship, defended its Class S title and finished No. 1 in the final Register Top 10 poll.
“There is no question who the best team in Connecticut is,” Sacred Heart junior guard Mustapha Heron said. “There was pressure in a couple of games. Crosby gave us some great runs (during the season and in the NVL tournament final). But at the end of the day, we stuck together. We are a family and we got the job done.”
Sacred Heart was the unanimous choice among the 18 media members voting in the poll. The Hearts have been the No. 1 team all season long and a unanimous No. 1 since mid-January.
“The guys have done absolutely everything we have asked underneath the scrutiny,” Sacred Heart coach Jon Carroll said. “The kids have done a great job of kind of sealing themselves (off from the scrutiny) and focusing on the floor and playing basketball. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
Said Valley Regional coach Kevin Woods: “They don’t have weaknesses. They are a good team, well coached, athletic and rightfully deserve the No. 1 ranking in the state.”
Fairfield Prep finished second for the second straight season in the final poll. The Jesuits (25-2) won the Class LL state championship after losing in the title game the previous two seasons.
Prep finished with 492 points followed by Class M champion Weaver (466), Class LL runner-up Westhill (432) and Class L champion Bunnell (400). Both Westhill and Bunnell played in a state final for the first time.