HARTFORD >> Middletown’s dreams of winning the Central Connecticut Conference boys basketball championship came to an end on Wednesday night.
But a run in the upcoming Class L tournament should ease the Blue Dragons pain.
Middletown fell short in overtime, 84-78, against Windsor in a thrilling semifinal matchup at Bulkeley’s Babe Allen Fieldhouse.
The game was a fast-paced, crowd pleaser from the opening tip with the second-seeded Blue Dragons, who trailed by seven points late in the fourth quarter, sending it into overtime when Caylen Williams converted a layup with 36 seconds left and Makai Hunter drained two free throws with 11 seconds to tie it at 72.
“It was a great game for the kids,” Middletown coach Rick Privott said. “Like I said before, it’s tournament basketball and it doesn’t get any better than this. We got defeated by a very good team that runs the floor.”
Sophomore forward Tyshaun James led the Blue Dragons with 17 points. Caylen Williams added 15 points, Hunter chipped in 13 points and Savon Williams had nine points.
Windsor (13-10), seeded No. 14, advanced to Thursday’s final against Weaver, who topped Maloney, 77-75, in the other semifinal.
“It was a hard fought battle,” Windsor coach Ken Smith said. “I thought we did a lot of things to give the game away and we didn’t play as well as I would like. But I’m glad they fought back and finished it out.”
After Windsor’s Mike Mahon and Caylen Williams exchanged free throws, senior guard Tommy Ortique, who led all scorers with 20 points, made a pull-up jumper to give the Warriors the lead for good at 75-73 with 1:16 left in overtime.
Jordan’s Powell’s layup made it 77-74 and after a Middletown turnover, the Blue Dragons were forced to foul.
Windsor made just 14 of 35 free throws – and missed eight foul shots in overtime – but after Ortique made of 1-of-2 from the line reserve forward Deonte Vinson grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Vinson sank both free throws for an 80-74 cushion with 29 seconds left.
“That was a big steal by Deonte,” Smith added.
Caylen Williams gave Middletown some hope by burying a 3-pointer to make it 81-78 with just 10 seconds left.
But a Mahon free throw and a steal and layup from Ortique sealed it.
Powell was terrific inside for Windsor as the 6-6 sophomore forward finished with 19 points and six blocked shots.
“He works hard for us and he’s our stopper back there,” Smith added.
Middletown (20-3) got seven points from James and a trey from sophomore Ahmod Privott (eight points) and led, 14-13, after one quarter.
The game see-sawed in the second quarter. Late in the second, Blue Dragons senior Anthony Mellilo converted a low post hoop for a 31-30 advantage before Windsor answered on a free throw from Tyler Coyle and a long 3-pointer by George Gamble right before the buzzer to lead 35-31 at intermission.
Middletown, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, trailed 56-50 after three quarters.
“It’s all about heart and the kids gave us everything they had or us,” Privott said. “This (tournament) is great but the big prize is at the Mohegan Sun.”
Weaver 77, Maloney 75 – Overtime
Chaylyn Martin’s layup at the buzzer lifted top-seeded Weaver over No. 5-seeded Maloney in the nightcap.
Chaylyn Martin grabbed a long rebound on a missed 3 by Maloney’s Jordan Martin, ran the length of the floor with five seconds remaining and got the bucket as the horn sounded.
KeAndre Fair scored 24 points to lead Weaver. Chaylyn Martin finished with 18.
Tracy Rumley scored 26 to lead Maloney and Jordan Martin had 23.
Weaver will be making its fourth CCC finals appearance and second straight when it plays 14th-seeded Windsor on Thursday at Bulkeley High School. The Warriors are making their 10th finals trip and have won seven, the most in the conference’s tournament history.
Weaver buzzer-beater video via @Drii_24 on Twitter.
Updates every minute – View full tournament