MOODUS >> The Hale-Ray boys basketball team sure picked a good time to get its first win of the season.
Jason Traceski poured in a game-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Craig Botteon drained five 3-pointers to lead the Noises to a victory against Vinal Tech Friday night in the opening round of the Courtney Marineau Memorial Tournament.
The Noises (1-2) will play Stafford tonight (7 p.m.) for the championship. Vinal Tech (1-3) will meet Sports Sciences in the consolation game at 5 p.m. Stafford defeated SMSA, 47-40, in the first game of the doubleheader.
This is the second year Hale-Ray has hosted a Christmas tournament in memory of Courtney Marineau, the daughter of Noises basketball coach Gary Marineau. Courtney had spina bifida and passed away in 1997. She was 14.
“This tournament is right in my heart,” said Marineau.
Marineau also coaches baseball at Cheney Tech, where a scholarship is given in Courtney’s memory every year. Gary, his wife, Lisa, and sons Tristan and Toby, also host a golf tournament in Courtney’s name that has raised money for the Spina Bifida Association and The Connecticut Children’s Hospital.
“Last year I said to our AD (Marty Ryczek) we should try to have a Christmas tourney,” Marineau said. “And Marty came back and said, ‘Let’s name it after your daughter.’ Marty’s the former basketball coach here and that really meant a lot to our family.”
Last year’s tournament raised a little over $1000 and two scholarships were awarded to a male and female student-athlete at Hale-Ray. Marineau is hoping to give out two more scholarships this year.
With only 10 players in the entire program this winter, the Noises have a Hoosiers-like quality about them.
They rely on each other on offense by making the extra pass and they’re learning to play a hard-nosed, team defensive style.
“We learned a lesson from the Valley Regional game,” said Marineau, whose club lost to the defending Class M champs in its opener. “Valley plays really great team defense and we’ve been working hard on ours and it payed off tonight.”
Against Vinal Tech, the Noises also made their shots, building a 34-19 halftime advantage on the strength of three treys from Botteon (15 points) and 10 points from Traceski.
“They shot lights out,” said Vinal Tech coach Matt Collins. “They’re a well-coached team and well organized. The first half we got into a big hole. We didn’t get back in transition defense and we turned it over a little bit.”
Quinn Mitchell had 18 points, Curtis Anderson had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, and Anthony Gage-Smith had 10 points for the Hawks (1-3).
Vinal Tech, which trailed by as many as 21 points early in the third quarter, closed the gap to 61-50 with 3:12 left to play.
“They played right to the end,” said Marineau. “There was no let up with them.”
But the Noises finished with a 12-5 run, highlighted by a conventional three-point play by Andy Lochoski (eight points) off a great feed from Traceski.
“Jason Traceski always plays hard,” said Marineau. “He looks for his teammates and he finishes around the rim. He could fit on anybody’s team in the whole state.”