— CRHS Devil’s Ad (@crhsdevilsadv) March 16, 2016
NEW BRITAIN >> The glass slipper belongs to Coginchaug.
The Blue Devils improbable run in the CIAC Class S state boys basketball tournament will end where all Cinderella stories are told: The Mohegan Sun Arena.
In another gut-wrenching, thrilling performance, Coginchaug edged No. 15 East Windsor, 46-43, in the semifinals Tuesday night at New Britain High School.
The No. 11 Blue Devils (17-8) will meet top-seeded Immaculate-Danbury (24-3) in the state championship game this weekend at Uncasville.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Coginchaug senior Cam Powers said. “I can’t wait.”
Powers, the Blue Devils speedy 5-8 guard, led all scorers with 17 points. Senior forward Kyle Wyskiel scored 13 points, including three 3-point daggers in the third quarter when the Blue Devils took the lead for good.
Coginchaug trailed 13-12 after one quarter and 21-19 at halftime in a nip-and tuck first half. But with Wyskiel raining in threes and the Blue Devils executing their offense behind the terrific guard tandem of senior Jake Sapia and Powers, Coginchaug built a 36-28 advantage late in the third quarter.
“These guys have been there before and they don’t push panic buttons,” Coginchaug coach Todd Salva said. “It was an army of one.”
Powers added a pair of free throws to make it 42-35 with 5:09 left in the fourth quarter.
East Windsor, however, stormed back with a 6-1 spurt behind six points from senior A.J. Ouimet, whose two free throws closed the gap to 43-41.
After Blue Devils senior Jack Murphy (seven points) made 1 of 2 free throws, Ouimet rolled in another shot in the lane to make it 44-43 with just 59 seconds to play.
Both teams then made crucial turnovers in the final seconds before East Windsor regained possession. Panthers senior Johan Gil-Guerro missed a three-pointer from the corner and Blue Devils guard Kyle Judson scooped up the rebound and was fouled with 13.1 seconds left.
Judson calmly swished both free throws for a 46-43 lead.
“I was in a similar scenario last game,” Judson said. “We practice free throws all the time. I knew I could sink them. I was composed.”
East Windsor’s Tristan Givens missed a game-tying trey from the top of the key. Jack Murphy grabbed the rebound and passed the all to Powers who dribbled out the final seconds.
“It just didn’t fall our way,” East Windsor coach Mike Barile. “Give Coginchaug credit. They played a fantastic game and made it tough for us tonight.”
Ouimet finished with 14 points, Givens added eight points, while Marcus Goss and Tyrell Hudson each had six points for East Windsor (20-8), which had won nine straight, including a Victory in the NCCC championship game.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Barile said. “No one expected us to be here.”
The legendary Wally Camp guided Coginchaug to the school’s only state title in 1974. The Blue Devils lost in the Class S finals in 1980 and 1982.
“The four seniors tonight, who have been playing together forever, really came up big tonight,” Salva said.
COGINCHAUG 46, EAST WINDSOR 43
(at New Britain)
East Windsor 4 18 15 12 – 43
Coginchaug 17 24 17 23 – 46
EAST WINDSOR (43)
Marcus Goss 2 1-2 6, Tristan Givens 3 0-0 8, Dejoir Farley 1 2-2 4, Johan Gil-Guerro 2 0-1 5, Tyrell Hudson 2 2-3 6, AJ Ouimet 4 4-4 14 . Totals: 14 9-12 43
Kyle Judson 1 2-2 4, Cam Powers 6 5-6 17, Jake Sapia 2 1-3 5, Kyle Wyskiel 4 2-2 13, Jack Murphy 2 3-6 7. Totals: 15 13-19 46
3-point goals: East Windsor 6 (Goss 1, Givens 2, Gil-Guerro 1, Ouimet 2); Coginchaug 3 (Wyskiel 3); Records: East Windsor 20-8; Coginchaug 17-8.