Cromwell Clicks At Both Ends In 38-Point Rout Of Old Lyme

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Pictured: Cromwell senior forward James Grodzicki scores from the paint in the third quarter for two of his game-high 19 points.

By Paul Augeri
middlesexcountysports@gmail.com

CROMWELL – The game between these six-win Shoreline boys basketball teams, both fighting to gain a first-round in the upcoming conference tournament, did not deliver.

“I’ll be the first to say it, I did not see this coming,” Cromwell coach John Pinone said after his Panthers dismantled Old Lyme 74-36 at Jake Salafia Gymnasium on Thursday night.

The combination of Cromwell’s defense forcing turnovers and the Panthers finishing in transition and in its half-court sets, and Old Lyme playing a step slow and looking out of sorts, was a recipe for disaster for the Wildcats. They fell behind14-3 in the first four minutes and 25-7 after one quarter.

“They took it to us and we were not prepared,” Old Lyme coach Kirk Kaczor said. “It’s on me. We have to be better than that. We were not prepared at all in any way, shape or form.”

Old Lyme was down 14 at the half, and Pinone feared a post-halftime lapse that cost his team in its loss to Portland a week ago, but Cromwell secured its sixth win in its last seven games with an 18-2 run, capped by Zykarie Wilborn’s 3-point basket, in the first 4:32 of the third quarter to open up a 30-point lead (54-24).

“I told them at halftime, ‘We’ve seen this movie before. Up 14, great energy in the first half, probably should have been up more,'” Pinone said. “Second half we played well. The third quarter was excellent.”

James Grodzicki owned the low post, scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for the Panthers. Wilborn finished with 16 points and Michael Morgan contributed 14. When the three seniors play well together, Cromwell is difficult to contain.

Grodzicki scored 12 of the team’s first 14 points, all from six feet in.

“James had a really good, solid game inside,” Pinone said. “He still missed one or two (layups) for me. But he was good early. He got put-backs, he ran the court, he was following shots that we missed. When he plays well, we’re a good team. When James struggles, we struggle too.”

Jacob Ritchie led Old Lyme with 12 points. The Wildcats, who won last year’s Shoreline championship with an all-seniors starting five, brought a three-game winning streak into Thursday’s game.

“We have not been consistent,” Kaczor said. “We have not done anything well. We’ve dug ourselves a hole in a bunch of games but we’ve come back. Our last game against Valley (67-57 win) we were down early, and before that against Coginchaug (50-47 win) we were down early.

“But we struggled out of the gate today and never got it going at all. You tip your cap to (Cromwell). They played great and took it to us.”

The fight to get away from No. 1 Morgan (10-0) in the tournament bracket as the No. 2 seed comes down to Cromwell and Portland. Both are 7-3 ahead of Monday’s games, the final day that games count toward the final seedings (all 12 Shoreline teams are involved in this year’s tournament). Portland visits Morgan, while Cromwell hosts Hale-Ray.

“I liked our energy and I liked our effort today,” Pinone said. “I think the kids realized that winning today puts us in the driver’s seat to get second place.”

OLD LYME (6-4)
Colbe Andrews 1 6-6 8, Nick Cox 1 0-0 2, Jacob Ritchie 3 5-7 12, Frank Sablone 1 2-2 4, Calvin Monte 3 0-1 6, Maverick Swaney 2 0-0 4. Totals: 11 13-16 36.

CROMWELL (7-3)
James Grodzicki 9 1-2 19, Zykarie Wilborn 7 1-1 16, Justin Valentin 1 0-0 3, Michael Morgan 7 0-0 14, Malcolm Mention 4 0-0 10, JJ Fehan 2 0-0 4, Victor Payne 2 0-0 4, Matt Pepe 1 0-0 2, Connor McMillan 1 0-0 2. Totals: 34 2-3 74.

Score By Quarters
OL 7 15 6 8–36
C 25 11 24 14–74

3-Pointers: OL–Ritchie 1; C–Mention 2, Wilborn 1, Valentin 1.

Elsewhere in the Shoreline on Thursday:

Portland 54, Haddam-Killingworth 50

HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH (5-5)
Alec Erskine 3 0-0 7, Tate Callender 4 0-0 9, Mason Gorham 3 3-3 10, Tony Giambanis 3 0-0 6, Callen Powers 1 0-1 3, Jimmy McGoey 5 4-5 15. Totals: 19 7-9 50.

PORTLAND (7-3)
Cody Daggett 4 1-2 10, Mason Piersall 4 1-1 9, Cam Latronica 6 0-0 12, Eli Evison 9 1-2 21, Chris Vargas 1 0-0 2, Noah Charpentier 0 0-0 0, Luke Francesco 0 0-0 0, Evan Johnson 0 0-0 0, Harrison Collins 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 3-5 54.

Score By Quarters
HK 18 12 10 10–50
P 12 13 17 12–54

3-Pointers: HK–Erskine 1, Callender 1, Gorham 1, Powers 1, McGoey 1; P–Evison 2, Daggett 1.

Morgan 69, Westbrook 47

MORGAN (10-0)
Zach Johnson 7 0 17, Drew Nye 1 0 3, Jason Cohen 5 0 14, Alex Fratamico 5 0 10, Rob Zirlis 8 1-4 17, Connor Duffy 2 2-2 6, Cooper Galdenzi 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 3-6 69.

WESTBROOK (1-9)
Brandon Naccarato 4 0 9, Joey Caslin 6 1-1 15, Brenden Engels 1 0 3, Jack Naccarato 5 3-3 15, Nick Palumbo 0 0-0 0, Ryan Engels 1 1-2 3, Sam Freeman 1 0 2. Totals: 18 5-6 47.

Score By Quarters
M 17 17 15 22–69
W 13 7 13 14–47

3-Pointers: M–Cohen 4, Johnson 3, Nye 1; W–Caslin 2, J. Naccarato 2, B. Naccarato 1, Engels 1.

Valley Regional 65, Hale-Ray 42

HALE-RAY (5-5)
Loudon Chupas 4 5-7 14, Mamush Ciccarello 2 4-4 9, Miles Gagne 3 5-5 13, Ross Kuluga 2 1-2 5, Braden Lankrage 0 1-2 1, Avery Gugliotti 0 0-2 0. Totals 11 16-22 42.

VALLEY REGIONAL (6-4)
Simon Partyka 3 5-5 13, Brayden Shea 1 0-0 2, James Marsden 6 0-0 17, Saagar Patel 2 1-2 5, Marcus SantaMaria 5 1-1 13, Keenan Pindar 1 0-0 2, Kyle Montecalvo 3 0-1 7, Tommy Burch 3 0-0 6. Totals 24 7-9 65.

Score By Quarters
HR 5 16 8 13–42
VR 19 15 14 17–65

3-Pointers: HR–Gagne 2, Chupas 1, Ciccarello 1; VR–Marsden 5, Partyka 2, SantaMaria 2, Montecalvo 1.
Of note: Marsden had 5 rebounds for Valley and Partyka finished with 7 assists and 3 steals.

East Hampton 62, Old Saybrook 52

OLD SAYBROOK (5-5)
Ben Yost 5 2 12, Riley Lawson 3 2 9, Ryan Stratton 7 0 15, Peter Waida 3 0 7, Owen Tolve 1 0 2, Auggie Albert 0 0 0, Aaron Tolve 3 0 7. Totals: 22 4 52.

EAST HAMPTON (6-4)
Ted Zhao 1 2 5, Dan Cascio 2 0 4, Grant Arcidiacono 6 2 18, Jack Blakey 1 0 2, Nate Ireland 8 0 16, Drew DiStefano 2 0 5, Max Karrenberg 3 1 8, Chris Progano 0 0 0, Ethan Palma 1 2 4. Totals 24 7 62.

Score By Quarters
OS 12 10 10 20–52
EH 10 20 20 12–62

3-Pointers: OS–Stratton 1, Waida 1, A. Tolve 1; EH–Arcidiacono 4, Zhao 1, Karrenberg 1, DiStefano 1.

Coginchaug 63, North Branford 40

NORTH BRANFORD (0-10)
John Onofrio 5 0-3 13, Blake Pearson 2 1-2 5, Ben Stegina 1 0-0 3, Jack Meehan 0 1-2 1, Zac Abbognaro 2 0-0 5, Jake Saldutti 1 2-2 4, Drew Girardi 1 0-0 3. Ryan Monde 1 0-0 2, Jordan DeJesus 2 0-1 4, Trevor Holtzer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 4-10 40.

COGINCHAUG (2-8)
Tyler Garretson 9 0-0 22, A.J. DeFilio 12 4-5 33, Terry Murphy 1 0-2 2, Jayson Penney 1 0-1 3, Adam Schaffer 1 0-0 2, Sam Whittle 0 1-2 1, Christian Mennone 0 0-2 0, Jake Dykas 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 5-12 63.

Score By Quarters
NB 16 4 9 11–40
C 9 14 23 17–63

3-Pointers: NB–Onofrio 3, Abbognaro 1, Stegina 1, Girardi 1; C–DeFilio 5, Garretson 4, Penney 1.

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