CANTON >> The Canton High boys basketball learned a valuable lesson last week against Windsor Locks. Effort and energy make a difference.
Canton trailed by as many as 17 points against the host Raiders. The Warriors battled back and twice cut the lead to one point in the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t make the leap forward and grab the lead and Windsor Locks held on for a 52-47 decision.
“The difference was energy and effort,” Canton’s second-year coach Craig Archambault said. “We were flat. We were tentative and we were back on our heels. We had 12 turnovers in the first quarter.”
Earlier this week, the effort and energy were there. It wasn’t enough for the Warriors to hand East Windsor its first loss of the season but Archambault was pleased with the effort.
“It’s the best effort I’ve seen on this basketball court in the two years that I have been here,” he said. “They played their hearts out. We defended the best we have all year. (East Windsor) just has some excellent players.”
East Windsor’s 6-foot-2 Kevin Mocadlo had nine of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Panthers improved to 8-0 with its 49-40 victory. Canton led by eight at halftime, 21-13 and by three, 30-27, after three quarters.
“We were right there,” Archambault said. “When you play that hard, good things happen.”
Andrew Zukowski led the Warriors (3-3, 2-2 NCCC) with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Shane Toland pulled down 10 rebounds and scored our points. Cameron Lange had 10 points, including two 3-point shots.
Canton will need to improve their foul shooting. The Warriors sank just 10 of 17 free throws and missed on the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities four times.
The Warriors are in the midst of a challenging stretch. Canton hosts Avon (4-3) on Friday night at 7 p.m. Next week, they host Ellington on Tuesday night before traveling to Stafford next Friday night, Jan. 24.
The game against Windsor Locks showed that Canton won’t be able to afford stretches of the game where they disappear. “We’re going to have to be more consistent with our physical and mental efforts,” Archambault said after the loss to the Raiders.
Windsor Locks forced plenty of turnovers to close out the first quarter with a 10-4 run. In the second quarter, they hit several three-point goals on an 11-0 run to pushed the lead to 17 points with 5:02 left in the second quarter.
Fortunately for the Warriors, Windsor Locks couldn’t sustain the pace. Canton closed out the second quarter with a 6-1 run to trim the haltime lead to 12 points. Zukowski had a steal and a coast-to-coast run for a layup and Cam Daley scored in the lane to help fuel the run.
In the third quarter, Daley ripped down an rebound on Windsor Locks’ first possession. At the other end of the floor, he scored on a reverse layup. When the Raiders took over the ball, he quickly stole it away and fed Lange for a bucket that cut the lead to eight. And then point guard Hoffman picked up a steal.
“It was heart,” Archambault said. “We had the energy and effort and we got back to playing Warrior baseball. We preach playing hard and playing physical.”
By the end of three quarters, the Windsor Locks lead was down to eight points.
“They’re a well-disciplined team,” Windsor Locks coach Michael Masaro said. “They forced us into making turnovers. They took away our point guard in the second half.”
Windsor Locks took a seven-point lead, 44-37 with 4:54 remaining but Canton’s Lange drained a pair of three-point goals on its next two possessions to cut the lead to one, 44-43 with 3:53 left in the game.
Locks extended the lead to three but Hoffman drained two free throws with 3:07 left to cut the lead to one again, 46-45. Canton’s defense forced a turnover but Windsor Locks’ Zach Weigart had a big block of Toland in the low post with 2:50 remaining.
Locks drained a pair of foul shots with 1:11 left to push the lead back to three 48-45. Canton turned the ball over on a pass with a minute left but Daley stole the ball and fed Hoffman for a layup with 45 seconds left, cutting the lead to one, 48-47.
Nate Pierce had a key steal with 20 seconds remaining for Windsor Locks, who sank four foul shots in the final 22 seconds to secure the victory.
Lange led the Warriors with 13 points and three 3-point shots. Cam Daley added 11 points while Zukowski, Hoffman and Wood had five points each for Canton.
Pierce led Windsor Locks with 16 points while Jon Oliveria added 13 and three 3-point goals.
The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for the Warriors, who had beaten East Granby, 63-49 in their home opener and a six-point victory over Coventry, 57-51. Hoffman and Lange, a pair of sophomores, had 17 points each in the win over East Granby – a season-high for both players.
Against Coventry, it was Zukowski who led with 15 points while Hoffman added 10.
NOTES: Avon has a 10-game winning streak against Canton, which last beat the Falcons in 2007. … Ellington has won four straight against Canton with the Warriors last win in 2009. … Canton had won 13 of 14 games against East Windsor. Now, the Panthers have won three straight.
Windsor Locks 52, Canton 47
At Windsor Locks
Canton (47): Rieley Hoffman 1 3-5 5, Alex Daley 1-0-3, Ben Sullivan 1 1-3 3, Andrew Zukowski 2 1-2 5, Jake Wood 2 0-2 5, Cam Daley 5 1-2 11, Cam Lange 4 2-2 13, Shane Toland 1-0-2. Totals 17 8-16 47
Windsor Locks (52): Alphenzo Zapenta 2 5-7 9, Reed Lynch 1-0-2, Nate Pierce 7 0-1 16, Hector Martinez 0 2-6 2, Tyler Labbe 1-0-2, Jon Oliveira 5-0-13, J.R. Huntington 1-0-2, Zach Weigert 2 2-2 6. Totals 17 9-16 52
Canton (3-2) 11 9 10 17 — 47
Windsor Locks (6-1) 18 14 6 14 – 52
Three-point goals: A. Daley (C), Wood (C), Lange (C) 3, Pierce (WL) 2, Oliveria (WL) 3
East Windsor 49, Canton 40
East Windsor (49): Frank Wadsworth 1-7-9, Dajon Farley 4-2-10, Kevin Mocadlo 3-8-15, Chris DeSousa 1-0-2, Giovanni Wickham 2-4-8, Adam Fisher 2-1-5. Totals 13-22-49
Canton (40): Rieley Hoffman 2-4-9, Andrew Zukowski 3-3-10, Cam Daley 3-1-7, Cameron Lange 3-2-10, Shane Toland 2-0-4. Totals 13-10-40.
East Windsor (8-0) 6 7 14 22 – 49
Canton (3-3) 12 9 9 10 – 40
Three-point goals: Mocadlo (E), Hoffman (C), Zukowski (C), Lange (C) 2