With the new school year approaching and new memories waiting to be made, the GametimeCT staff took a look back at some of the most memorable moments of the 2017-18 season. Let us know your most memorable moments in the comment section below!
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) December 12, 2017
Two of Connecticut’s most storied football programs met in the Class S championship, with St. Joseph edging Ansonia 42-36. David Summers, who later commited to Maryland, threw five touchdown passes to help St. Joseph overcome a 21-point deficit in the third quarter. Markell Dobbs delivered an incredible performance in a losing effort, rushing for 243 yards and three touchdowns.
For the third-straight season the Darien Blue Wave captured the Class LL football title. This time Darien knocked off FCIAC foe Greenwich 31-22 in the snow.
Queen(s) of the pool
The seniors on Cheshire’s girls swimming team finished their four years unbeaten in dual meets with a 44-0 record, led by two-time New Haven Area Girls Swimming MVP Liz Boyer, who will swim at Harvard.
In October, Stratford’s Board of Education honored Red Devils senior Ryan Duffy for stopping during a cross country race at Bethel to help an athlete he found downed on the course, off to the side of the path. “The kid does the right thing all the time. He did a great thing. We’ve got a lot of great kids around here,” Stratford AD Bob Baird said.
— Joe Morelli (@nhrJoeMorelli) November 18, 2017
10 round knockout
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) November 4, 2017
Behind a strong performance by goaltender Jackson Stalowir, Barlow’s boys soccer team beat Masuk in PKs (9-8) to win the SWC title.
Third time’s the charm
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) November 18, 2017
After losing in the Class LL final the past two seasons, Ridgefield’s girls soccer team would not be denied on its third-straight trip. The Tigers beat FCIAC rival Staples 2-1 to claim the school’s first girls soccer state title.
Catch me if you can
Wilton senior Morgan McCormick won both the Class L and the State Open girl’s titles last fall, with Pomperaug freshman Katherine Wiser finishing second both times. This spring in outdoor track, Wiser won the girls 3,200-meter race at both the Class L and State Open championships, with McCormick finishing second both times.
Turning the tables
Mason Santa Maria rushed for two touchdowns in the second quarter, and added a pivotal interception in the final seconds of the third quarter as O’Brien Tech opened its season with a 34-12 upset of Abbott Tech/Immaculate. It was the Condors’ first victory over the ATI co-op, which had out-scored O’Brien 126-26 the three previous years. The win set the tone for the most successful season on the books for the Condors, who qualified for the Class S state tournament for the first time.
Instant Classic in Middletown
Trailing 27-0, Xavier’s Will Levis engineered maybe the best comeback of the football season. The Penn State signee brought the Falcons all the way back to take the lead in the third quarter to give Xavier a 28-27 lead early in the fourth quarter. But North Haven’s Mark Montano was brilliant, as well. The senior matched every Xavier counterstrike in an insane fourth quarter that went to OT. He just squeaked over the goal line on a 2-point conversion to give North Haven a 50-49 victory in an instant classic.
Was there a better ice hockey team this season in Connecticut than Fairfield Prep? The answer, of course, is no. The Jesuits went 22-2 and 17-0 against state competition. They won the Division I championship along with the SCC/SWC Division I title and they finished as the No. 1 team in the GameTimeCT.com media poll.
The best in the country
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) June 1, 2018
The best high school long jumper resides right here in Connecicut. And boy is he good. Career’s Dyshon Vaughn won the long jump at the National meet, New England meet, Class S meet with a meet record 23-4.75 and at the SCC meet with a meet record 23-4.75.
Back where it belongs
— Doug Bonjour (@DougBonjour) March 2, 2018
After years of clamoring from fans, coaches and even media members the FCIAC decided to bring the boys basketball final four back to the Zeoli Field House at Wilton High. The crowds filled up the field house and the fans were rewarded with some great games. Danbury beat Trinity Catholic 43-40 in one semifinal, while Trumbull beat Fairfield Warde 65-58. Danbury knocked off Trumbull 75-57 to win the FCIAC title.
29 years in the making
There was a raucous crowd at Stratford in October. About 650 fans packed the gym and forced the staff to pull out another set of bleachers for a girls volleyball match between the town’s two schools. Stratford beat Bunnell in four games. It was, Stratford AD Bob Baird said, the Red Devils’ first win over the Bulldogs in 29 years.
Green Dragons atop the SCC
— Joe Morelli (@nhrJoeMorelli) March 1, 2018
After losing to Hillhouse twice during the regular season the Hamden Green Dragons boys basketball team finally beat the Academics and it was on one of the biggest stages – the SCC title game. It was the first SCC title for the Green Dragons.
Cardinal Triple Crown
Not only did the Greenwich girls indoor track and field team win its first State Open and Class LL titles, the Cardinals also won the FCIAC title, completing the triple crown of championships during the winter.
Eagles fly to the top
The co-op hockey program at Fitch, which identifies as the Eastern Connecticut Eagles, had won 37 games in its first 14 seasons and had never won a CIAC playoff game. This year, the Eagles won 19 games and swept their way to the Division III championship.
Oh, what a night!
— Carson (@CarsonCoon) March 13, 2018
In the year where fans got the new Division I boys basketball tournament filled with the best teams in the state, every game felt like a state final, even in the quarterfinals.
In one night alone we saw three memorable tournament classics.
The Bassick boys basketball team posted a thrilling 75-74 victory over Hamden in the quarterfinals. That same night, Notre Dame-Fairfield overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Danbury, 76-70 in overtime, and Windsor stunned top-ranked East Catholic at the buzzer 82-81 in double overtime.
Second best no longer
Were the Lancers the favorites at all during the season? It didn’t matter as the Lancers went coast to coast, winning all 27 games they played this season, including winning the hardest tournament ever put together. Notre Dame had been runner-up in three straight state tournaments.
Welcome to immortality, Miss Ragaini
It’s every single athletes’ dream to hit the winning shot, score the winning run, or make the game-changing play. East Haven’s Bella Ragaini got to live that dream on the greatest of stages. As time was running down in the Class M title game, East Haven had one last chance to win in regulation. A shot was set up for MaKenzie Helms, but she missed her driving layup. Fortunately for East Haven, the rebound was tipped back to Ragaini, who immediately released the ball as she faded away. Swish. Buzzer. Immortality. East Haven won its first state title in girls basketball 49-47.
New England Champs
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) February 24, 2018
At the New England wrestling championships in Providence in March, four-time medalist Ryan Luth of Foran won his second title and Ryan Jack of Danbury and Mel Ortiz of New Milford each won their first. Luth, a senior, won the 152-pound final by decision in overtime, 3-2. Ortiz, also a senior, won a high-octane clash, 12-10, against New Canaan’s freshman phenom Justin Mastroianni in the 126-pound final. Jack, a sophomore, won the 126-pound final in dramatic fashion, scoring a two-point takedown with four seconds remaining to win, 3-1. Danbury, the reining New England team champion, nearly repeated its feat despite only qualifying four wrestlers. However, the Hatters had to settle for a third-place finish, just eight points out of first.
The Iron Five
Seeded second in the Division II state tournament, the Immaculate High School boys basketball team defeated seventh-seeded New Britain 56-41 in the quarterfinals in front of a packed house at the Bobby Plumb Gymnasium. And the Mustangs did it with all five starters — seniors Jake Payton and Ronan Doherty, juniors Mike Basile and Jack Woods and sophomore Quinn Guth — gutting out the entire 32 minutes without a substitution. The Mustangs went on to win the Division II state title and add a championship banner to the ones they won in 2016, 2012 and 1976.
Worst to First
The Kolbe Cathedral boys basketball program failed to win a game in 2015. Three years later, the Cougars were state champions, beating Rocky Hill 55-40 in the Division-IV final. Orchestrating the return was coach John Pfohl, who was in his first year back after leading the team to nine conference titles and two state championships during his first stint (1993-2008).
Diagnosed with Leukemia after his junior season, Torrington’s Brian Bassler not only beat Leukemia, but he was able to return to the field this Spring for the Red Raiders.
Sophie Spencer of Branford dominates the last five minutes of the Class M final, scoring the game’s last three goals to lead the Hornets to an 11-8 win over SCC rival Hand for their second straight championship.
Mike Burrows was one out away from his third no-hitter of the year, but still makes history after recording his 300th career strikeout. @Michael2Burrows leads @LancerAthletic1 to a 1-0 victory over @StoningtonSport in the @GoECCAthletics tournament. #ctbase pic.twitter.com/7XHT7Oj0Ny
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) May 24, 2018
On April 30 Waterford’s Mike Burrows struck out 16 batters and didn’t allow a hit as the Lancers beat NFA 6-0. Eight days later he struck out 14 batters and didn’t allow a hit again as Waterford beat Stonington 8-0. Later in the season on May 23 Burrows was one out away from his third no-hitter of the season only to come up short. He also recorded the 300th career strikeout of his career. Originally a UConn commit, Burrows instead signed a contract to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, which drafted him in the 11th round of the MLB draft.
You would be hard pressed to find a better championship performance. Jimmy Sullivan, a Wethersfield senior and University of Virginia signee, went off in the Class L finals. The lefty slugger hit two home runs, two triples, scored four runs and knocked in six runs leading the Eagles to a 16-4 win over Windsor and the Class L state title.
Wave streaks crash
In the Class L girls lacrosse semifinals the New Canaan Rams beat rival Darien 12-11 snapping a 107-game in-state win-streak.
Eight days later in the Class L boys lacrosse final, Ridgefield beat Darien 9-8 to snap the Blue Wave’s 76-game winning streak.
It took a couple of tries and was delayed by a couple of rain outs, but North Haven coach Bob DeMayo won his 900th career game. DeMayo has coached at North Haven for 60 seasons. North Haven beat Amity 7-6 in the SCC quarterfinals to reach the milestone.
North Haven needed one more victory to earn coach Bob DeMayo his 900th of his career. But their SCC quarterfinal game vs. Amity was postponed due to rain. Anxious to get the decision in, North Haven players challenged the Amity players to Rock-Paper-Scissors at home plate.
North Haven won 5-4 in a fun-filled encounter with just as many highs and lows as a regular baseball game. We even got a call to the bullpen late to decide it. Our video of the epic match quickly got picked up by national media outlets. It was featured on television shows across America and then reached as far as an Australian morning news show.
Waterford’s Walker honored nationally
Waterford softball player Marissa Walker was honored as the 2018 “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the NFHS. Walker was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma when she was 9-years-old. Read the great story by the New London Day to learn more about Walker and check out the video they did from a couple of years ago above.
One last throw
At the State Open, East Windsor’s Tristan Garrick led the boys javelin from the start with a throw of 176 feet, 6 inches. On the third-to-last throw of the day, defending champion Brian Jalowiec of Derby threw four feet further for a distance of 180-6. Garrick had one more chance, however. Both athletes initially thought his final throw was a winner. The two competitors stood on opposite sides of the foul line as officials stretched the tape. When it read 172-11, Jalowiec was champ again.
Extra Large and Extra Time
The Class LL baseball bracket hosts not only the biggest schools in the state, but many of the best teams and in the semifinals it proved why.
Both semifinal games at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury went to extra innings.
Cheshire beat Fairfield Prep 5-4 in 10 innings in the first game. In the nightcap, Ridgefield beat Amity 2-1 in 10 innings.
The Masuk Panthers were the perfect team. They pitched, they played defense, they hit and they won every game, culminated when Masuk knocked off SWC opponent Brookfield 10-0 to win the Class L state title.
Put the team on his back
Notre Dame-Fairfield beat Coventry to win the Class S title. And the Lancers could thank senior pitcher Dillon Higgins for, not just getting them there, but helping them win it all. The righty won four of the five games for the Lancers. He threw three complete games and won the other title game in relief.
Three in one day for Rams
Having one player commit to a Division-I program is a big deal for any program. How about three in one day? That’s what happened at New Canaan in April when Drew Pyne (Notre Dame), Jack Stewart (Michigan) and Jack Conley (Boston College) all announced their commitments to big time Division-I football programs.
It was a big day for New Canaan and it has set high expectations for the Rams this upcoming season.
Oh and then in June, Garrett Braden committed to Rice, raising the number to four Rams committed to play Division-I football.
Saving their season
Trailing by four runs with just three outs left the Amity Spartans rallied to score five times in the top of the seventh inning and beat Southington, 6-5, in the Class LL semifinals. Amity would go on to win the Class LL state title.