MIDDLETOWN >> Wilcox Tech boys basketball coach and Middletown native Randy Farkas spent nine years as an assistant with the Indians before taking the reign this season. And although the Indians have played just three games, it appears Farkas has something special brewing in Meriden.
Senior guard Roosevelt Shider continued his assault on the Wilcox Tech record book with a game high 31 points and junior center Jack Berryman had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Indians captured the inaugural Home Team Supply Tip-Off Tournament championship with a 69-55 victory Saturday against host Vinal Tech.
“We’re turning out a little better than I anticipated,” said Farkas. “We have a lot of athletes, we’re quick and we have an absolute scorer in Roosevelt Shider.”
Shider, who earned tournament MVP honors, made some spectacular plays in the fourth quarter to keep a Hawks rally from a 17-point deficit to a minimum. After Deion Albrincoles and Anthony Gage-Smith drained consecutive 3-point baskets to pull Vinal within 51-43, Shider exploded to the basket for a conventional three-point play. Gage-Smith answered with his own nifty drive to the basket for a layup while getting fouled and his free throw cut Wilcox’s lead to 54-46 with five minutes remaining.
But Shider sliced through the lane again for another 3-point play, then added another driving layup to give the Indians a 59-46 lead with 4:18 left.
“That really took the wind right out of our sails,” said Vinal Tech coach Matt Collins.
Shider, who started as a freshman, is closing in on the school’s all-time scoring record of 1,600 plus points, and could finish as the leading scorer in Meriden basketball history.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Collins added. “You just tip your cap to a player like that. Hopefully, we can make the right adjustments and we can have a different result in a week or so. We’ve got to get better.”
The teams meet again on Jan. 3 (7 p.m.) in Meriden.
Junior guard Alan McComb came off the bench and scored 12 points, while senior forward Dan Goudace scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds as the Indians (3-0) built a 37-24 halftime advantage and a 49-37 lead after three quarters.
The Hawks (1-2) made 10 treys, including four from Albrincoles, who finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Gage-Smith had 15 points and senior guard Quinn Mitchell scored 11 points with seven rebounds.
“We payed a great team even in the second half,” said Collins. “We got ourselves in a pretty big hole today.”
“Vinal played wonderful,” added Farkas. “Their defense was outstanding and they’ve got kids that can knock down shots. I was very impressed with them.”
In the consolation game, Joe O’Toole and Devin Bacchhiocchi each had 20 points to lead O’Brien Tech past Windham Tech, 66-57.
Joining Shider on the all-tournament team were Berryman, Albrincoles, Mitchell, O’Toole and Luis Quintana (Windham Tech).