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Balanced effort lifts undefeated Canton past Windsor Locks

CANTON, Jan. 27 – The Windsor Locks boys basketball tried to take Canton senior Chris Robitaille out of the game by double teaming him near the basket. No problem. Robitaille simply passed the ball.

Chris Robitaille goes up to the basket for two of his game-high 17 points Tuesday.

Robitaille had six assists including a pair during a key 14-3 surge over a five-minute stretch of the first and second quarter as Canton remained undefeated with a solid 68-48 victory over previously unbeaten Windsor Locks Tuesday night.

Canton improves to 10-0 for just the second time in school history and remains just one of two undefeated teams in the NCCC with a 5-0 record. Avon (7-4, 5-0 NCCC) is also undefeated in the league. Windsor Locks dropped to 10-1 overall and 5-1 in the league.

With Robitaille dishing off the ball, ripping down a game-high 19 rebounds and making seven blocks, teammate Andrew Crowley was draining three-point shots. Crowley hit two of his four 3-point shots in the deciding second period. He finished with 16 points.

The Warriors led 8-6 before Crowley hit a three-pointer with a minute left in the first quarter. In the first six minutes of the second quarter, he added another two 3-point shots and drove the baseline for another two points.
Robitaille fed Connor Smyth inside for two points and a 22-9 lead with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter. Windsor Locks never got closer than 11 for the remainder of the contest.

“You saw a more composed team in Canton,” Windsor Locks coach Mike Mascaro said. “They played like they belonged in the big game and we didn’t.”

Robitaille led the Warriors with 17 points but he received plenty of help from Crowley and James Rosshirt with 16 points each. Smyth added eight. “Offensively, they have five guys who get involved and share the basketball very well,” Mascaro said.

“They put two guys on him (Robitaille) so our other guys had to beat them and they did,” Canton coach Eric Deegan said.

Canton’s defense and ability to rebound the basketball enabled them to control the game. The Warriors had three blocked shots in the final three minutes of the first half.

In the third quarter, it took Windsor Locks five minutes to score a field goal. On their first five possessions, Locks missed four shots, had no rebounds and a turnover as Canton extended its lead to 21 points.

Windsor Locks did cut the lead to 13 with 5:20 left in the game, 55-42 after Tanner Kless and Donovin Ford-Hayes hit back-to-back three point shots. But Canton outscored Locks 11-2 over the next four minutes to cement the contest.

“I was most proud of how we responded,” Deegan said, recalling Canton coughing up a 22-point lead to Tolland earlier this year before prevailing in overtime.

Canton’s 10-0 start is the second-best in school history. The Warriors started off 12-0 in the 1962-63 season, winning the Northwest Conference title and finishing the regular season 16-4.

IN BRIEF: Crowley ripped down a career-high 13 rebounds. … The win was Canton’s seventh win over Windsor Locks in the last eight games between the two schools. … Two of the next three games are on the road. On Friday, the Warriors travel to Granby before hosting Suffield next Tuesday, Feb. 3. Then Canton faces Avon on Feb. 6 on the road.


Canton 68, Windsor Locks 48
At Canton
Windsor Locks (10-1): Tim Putnam 2-1-5, Dave Balboni 0-0-0, Alex Chenernak 0-4-4, Peter James 2-0-4, Tanner Kless 5-2-15, Donovin Ford-Hayes 3-3-11, Dennis Claffey 0-0-0, Cory Colone 2-0-5, Damien Hayes 1-0-2, Jamele Hayes 0-0-0, Andrew Toce 1-0-2. Totals 14-10
Canton (10-0): Andrew Crowley 6-0-16, Albert Gray 1-0-3, James Rosshirt 5-5-16, Nick Quattro 1-1-3, Chris Robitaille 5-7-17, Connor Smyth 4-0-8, Mike Setzler 2-1-5. Totals 24-14
Halftime: Canton 30-16
Three-point goals: Crowley 4, Gray 1, Rosshirt 1, Kless 3, Ford-Hayes 2, Colone 1

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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