While the Sacred Heart boys basketball team made the controversial choice to not play in the Class LL division, the Hearts were still the near-unanimous choice to remain No. 1.
For the second straight season, Sacred Heart finished No. 1 in the final Register/GameTimeCT boys basketball poll. The Hearts finished with 19 first-place votes from the state’s media and 598 points. Sacred Heart (26-2) defeated Notre Dame-Fairfield 101-49 in the Class M state championship game Saturday.
Sacred Heart has been in the top spot in the poll each and every week since the start of the 2014-15 season. The Hearts also won 40 straight games at one point and haven’t lost to a Connecticut opponent since to Crosby in the 2014 Naugatuck Valley League tournament final.
“We’re still the best team to come through here,” Sacred Heart guard Mustapha Heron said after Saturday’s win. “I wish there was a tournament of champions, next weekend at a closed gym. I would enjoy that.”
Hillhouse, the Class LL state champion, finished second with one first-place vote and 556 points. The Academics (25-3) finished sixth last season.
“For me, I’ve been here as an assistant twice, been here as head coach twice, pretty much what we expect,” Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton said following Sunday’s LL final. “But these kids weren’t supposed to win this championship, not supposed to be here. You don’t take a program and throw it together the way we did and ask those sophomores to carry the load the way they did. They earned it and they deserve it.”
East Catholic (26-3) won the Class L title and placed third in the final poll with 508 points. Weaver, which was the only team to petition to play in Class LL this season, lost to Hillhouse 94-83 in double overtime in the final and finished fourth. The Beavers were third last year after winning the Class M championship.
The only other team to finish in the top 10 in consecutive years was Fairfield Prep, a Class LL semifinalist, finishing fifth. The Jesuits were second last year after winning the LL championship.
|1. SACRED HEART
2015-16 final result: Def. Notre Dame-Fairfield 101-49 to win Class M state championship.
Bottom line: Mustapha Heron finished his career with 2,056 points – in just three seasons.
2015-16 final result: Def. Weaver 94-83 (2 OT) to win Class LL state championship.
Bottom line: The core group of Byron Breland, Joey Kasperzyk and Christian Adams return next season. Preseason No. 1 team for 2016-17?
|3. EAST CATHOLIC
2015-16 final result: Def. Middletown 62-51 to win Class L state championship.
Bottom line: Eagles claim second state title in the past three years.
2015-16 final result: Lost to Hillhouse 94-83 (2 OT) in Class LL state final.
Bottom line: Decision to move to Class LL should be admired, even if the ultimate goal came up just a little bit short.
|5. FAIRFIELD PREP
2015-16 final result: Lost to East Catholic 60-57 (OT) in Class L state semifinals.
Bottom line: Great season likely to be overshadowed by Mark Carbone’s four-point play in the final seconds of regulation of the Warriors’ Class L semifinal-round loss.
2015-16 final result: Lost to East Catholic 62-51 in Class L state final.
Bottom line: The Blue Dragons have a good nucleus returning next season and should be a preseason top 10 choice.
2015-16 final result: Lost to Middletown 73-68 (OT) in Class L state semifinals.
Bottom line: Guard Jared Simmons returns next season, making Newington a CCC contender as well.
2015-16 final result: Def. Coginchaug 53-43 to win Class S state championship.
Bottom line: Mustangs rebounded from loss in SWC tournament final to win S crown for first time since 2012.
|10. NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD
2015-16 final result: Lost to Sacred Heart 101-49 in Class M state final.
Bottom line: Lost to two of the state’s best in the last two M finals: Weaver and Sacred Heart.
Dropped out: Wilbur Cross (10).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.
Others receiving votes
Danbury (23-4), 212; Bloomfield (21-5), 202; Wilbur Cross (21-5), 186; Crosby (19-6), 116; Coginchaug (17-9), 63; Simsbury (19-8), 57; Holy Cross (18-8), 44; Cromwell (22-4), 36; Pomperaug (19-6), 16; East Hartford (16-9), 14; Ridgefield (13-11), 10; Northwest Catholic (18-7) and Notre Dame-West Haven (18-6), 9; Ledyard (19-5), 8; Bacon Academy (20-7) and Waterford (18-5), 7.
The following voted
Marc Allard, Norwich Bulletin; Bill Bloxsom, HAN Network; Doug Bonjour, Connecticut Post; Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press; Mike DiMauro, The Day of New London; Erik Dobratz, WTNH; Scott Ericson, Stamford Advocate; Francesco Graziano, CPTV Sports; John Holt, WFSB-3; Sean Krofssik, Record-Journal; Mike Madera, Elm City Newspapers; Joe Morelli, New Haven Register; Joe Palladino, Republican-American; Dave Phillips, Shore Line Newspapers; Dave Ruden, The Ruden Report; Ben Talbott, Bird’s Eye Sports; Derek Turner, GameTimeCT; Peter Wallace, Register Citizen; Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant; Richard Zalusky, The Chronicle.