CANTON, Dec. 19 – The Canton High basketball forced numerous turnovers to help the Warriors easily roll to their first victory of the season with a 69-35 win over Stafford. Canton (1-1, 1-1 NCCC) hit nine three-point shots in the game, including four from Kevin Gurry, who finished with a game-high 12 points.
Junior Rieley Hoffman, playing in first game of the season, had several steals and 12 points for Canton while junior teammate Cameron Lange added 11 points. Hoffman missed the opening game 63-54 loss to Somers with a sore back.
Canton coach Craig Archambault was much happier with the defensive effort on Friday night from the Warriors. “If we can get stops and hold teams to the 30s and 40s, we’ll be able to do what we did tonight – get out and run,” he said.
Defensive pressure will be one of the keys to a successful season this winter for Canton. “Defensively, we have to buy in and play great team defense,” Archambault said. “If we can do that and everyone is healthy, we can be a contender this year.”
It’s taking time to put together the Warriors this year. Hoffman missed two weeks with a sore back before making his debut on Friday night. Starters Ethan Burke and Cam Daley missed two weeks of practice because they were still playing with Canton’s football team that advanced to the Class S Small Division semifinals. And Burke hurt his hand in warmups Friday night against Stafford and missed the game.
“We haven’t been fully healthy yet,” Archambault said. “Credit the guys tonight for picking it up and playing great team defense.”
Canton wants to build on the success they achieved last year – their first winning season since 2010. The Warriors went 13-9 and 10-6 in the NCCC. They played well enough to earn a first round home game in the Class S tournament.
Canton graduated three seniors including All-NCCC forward Andrew Zukowski. Daley averaged 12.0 points a game last winter and scored in double digits in 13 of Canton’s last 14 games. Lange averaged 8.3 points a game and had a team-leading 21 three-point goals. Hoffman averaged 6.4 points a game from the point guard position.
The Warriors have three upcoming home games during the holiday stretch. They host Windsor Locks on Tuesday, host East Lyme two days after Christmas on Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m. and host Lewis Mills-Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.
The East Lyme game will be the first game of a boys and girls doubleheader in Canton. At 7 p.m., the Canton girls will host Granby.
Canton 69, Stafford 35
Stafford (35): Devin Gilbert 4-1-9, Zach Kuhlman 2-0-4, Alex Hoss 3-2-9, Justin Grant 0-0-0, Kyle Ramsay 1-0-2, Jake Rollins 1-0-2, Jovan Tedford 3-0-7. Totals 14-3-35
Canton (69): Rieley Hoffman 5-1-12, Azon Click 0-0-0, Ben Sullivan 3-1-7, James Treacy 1-0-2, Jake Schartzel 3-0-6, Kevin Gurry 4-0-12, Alex Olker 2-0-6, Cam Daley 4-0-8, Luke Brown 1-0-3, Cameron Lange 4-2-11, Cam Neeley 0-0-0, Jack Mansur 0-0-0. Totals 28-4-69
Stafford (0-2) 13 7 4 11 – 35
Canton (1-1) 22 10 17 20 – 69
Three-point goals: Hoss (S), Hoffman (C), Gurry (C) 4, Olker (C) 2, Brown (C), Lange (C)
Canton 56, Stafford 18
STAFFORD, Dec. 19 – The Warriors remained undefeated on the young season with a solid victory over Stafford, 56-18. Gabby Rose led the way with 11 points while Maggie Treacy, Emily Briggs and Jacquie Grabowski had eight points each. Plenty of players got a chance to contribute in the victory. Canton (3-0, 3-0 NCCC) faces undefeated Windsor Locks (3-0) Tuesday on the road.
Canton 56, Stafford 18
Canton (56): Katie Walker 3-0-6, Emily Briggs 3 1-2 8, Jacquie Grabowski 3 2-2 8, Maggie Treacy 1 6-8 8, Gabby Rose 2 7-10 11, Emma Charron 1 1-3 4, Abby Skinner 2-0-4, Leah Eschembrenner 0-0-0, Carly Atkinson 2 1-2 5, Belle Magna 1-0-2. Totals: 18 18-27 56
Stafford (18): H. Buchanon 4 2-2 11, A. Blythe 1-0-2, C. Hoss 1-0-2, N. Ikehara 1-0-2, D. Colby 0 1-2-1. Totals: 7 3-6 18
Canton (3-0) 17 17 9 13 – 56
Stafford (0-3) 6 3 5 4 — 18
Three-point goals: Briggs (C), Charron (C), Buchanon (S)