NEW BRITAIN>>Weaver hit shots when it needed to.
Down the stretch, the Beavers made six of eight free throws, propelling them to their first CCC tournament title since 2000. Weaver beat Maloney 59-57 in Detrick Gymnasium on the campus of Central Connecticut State University.
Maloney’s Ethan Haxhaj, who was a force down low for the Spartans all night, dropped in his tenth points of the night with 34.4 seconds left to cut the Weaver lead to one.
Josh Jones of Weaver was fouled to stop the clock at 23.1 and made both of his free throws.
Down three, Maloney’s Michael Guliino fired up a three from the top of the key and missed. Weaver’s KeAndre Fair was fouled and only made one of two. Maloney still had a chance.
Tracy Rumley drove the length of the floor, got to the rim, missed, but got his own rebound, went back up with it and was fouled as the ball fell through the net.
Down two, Rumley missed the free throw, Weaver came down with it.
“It means a lot to the community, the community got behind our team,” Weaver coach Reggie Hatchett said.
Weaver has been one of the hottest teams in the state, especially since the CCC tournament started. Getting in as the No. 9 seed, it didn’t have a home game in the first round and then had to play defending champion Windsor and city rival Hartford Public.
Maloney had been just as hot.
The Spartans were the No. 11 seed and used scrappy play and a tough press to work their way to the finals.
“They made some gutsy moves and I think they played with a lot of heart,” Hatchett said of Maloney.
There were two distinct runs that defined this game.
The first one came from Weaver. Early in the first half the Beavers went on a 14-0 tear, including two 3-pointers from Medlin and Kane.
Then brothers Chaylynn Martin, who led the team with 13 points, and Jaecee Martin, who added 11, got to the line on back-to-back possessions and made all four free throws. Weaver led 21-10 in just under 10 minutes of play and with 3:42 left in the first half, Weaver had its largest lead of the game.
But this is where the Spartans made their run.
Jamel Hamans got to the line for a traditional 3-point play and converted. Maloney finished the second quarter on a 10-0 run and went into the half down just five.
Maloney continued the hot streak on the other side of the break, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter to grab a 31-29 lead, its only lead of the game.
Medlin, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard dropped in a triple midway through the third, sparking another 9-0 Weaver run. He finished with 11 points.
“There was no panicking from my freshman and sophomores,” Hatchett said.
Jordan Martin of Maloney hit a three of his own with a quick release from the corner about three minutes later, but Medlin answered.
“We missed a ton of shots,” Maloney coach Howard Hewitt said. “We missed a lot of close ones that we usually make.”
Guliino, the unsung hero for Maloney, made a nice pass and got it right back, finishing at the rim one minute into the fourth.
Weaver made their free throws (17-21) down the stretch where Maloney made just 14 of 26.
“This championship is the fuel that we need to keep our dream going which is to get to the casino and win the state championship,” Hatchett said.
Weaver is the 12th seed in the Class M state tournament and will host Wolcott in the first round. Maloney is the 16 seed in the Class L tournament and will host Rockville.
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