Shepaug boys make run to Class S tournament
Published 12:10 pm, Wednesday, March 1, 2017
WASHINGTON - With four games left in the regular season things seemed to be slipping away from the Shepaug boys basketball team. Instead of packing it in, the Spartans rallied and are gaining some valuable experience.
Winners of three of their final four regular season games, Shepaug earned both a spot in the Berkshire League Tournament and a berth in the CIAC Class S Tournament.
After a rough home loss to Nonnewaug on February 11, Shepaug was looking at a tough task if it wanted to extend its season.
“After that loss we were sitting at 5-11 and not playing very well,” Shepaug coach Matt Lefevre said. “They came to our place and we played poorly for us and they played well. But we bounced back very quickly and played well Monday.”
That Monday game was a much needed 75-56 victory over Housatonic Regional. It was the first of three games that week and the Spartans won all three. Shepaug followed up the win over Housy with a 70-62 win over O’Brien Tech to get within one victory of the postseason.
Shepaug clinched its postseason spots with a tough 49-37 win at Litchfield.
“To have three games in a week and bounce back and win them all, that was big for us,” Lefevre said. “Against O’Brien Tech the team and played well and then we went to Litchfield and pulled out a tough, physical game.”
The Spartans finished the regular season 8-12 and were seeded seventh in the BL Tournament. They lost to No. 2 Wamogo and are preparing for a Class S game at Portland on Friday.
With just two seniors on the roster and trying to build the program around some younger players, the tournament experience and extra time together as a team is extremely valuable.
“It is pretty huge for us to have qualified,” Lefevre said. “The experience is very important. With four of our five starters usually being sophomores and juniors and 11 of the 13 guys we dress for varsity are coming back next season so it’s important for them to get this tournament experience, play in these type of games.”
Shepaug will be the No. 33 seed and face No. 32 Portland. The winner gets tops seeded Westbrook (18-2).
“It’s a great opportunity for us to play in the postseason and for the guys to compete in a game we have an opportunity to win,” Lefevre said.
Lefevre said that the push to get to the postseason mainly revolved around a core group of seven players. Eamon Crossley and Sean Welsh are the only two seniors on the roster and have been steadying influences. Welsh had a big game in the tournament clincher aginst Litchfield with 13 points and 22 rebounds.
Kyle LaMay has provided hot shooting throughout the season and had 14 in the fourht quarter against O’Brien Tech to help put that game away. Mike Fiore had a big game against Housy with 15 points and six boards.
“When that group plays well together we are pretty good,” Lefevre said.