AVON, Jan. 23 — After a week off to take mid-term exams, the Avon High boys basketball picked up where it left off a week ago. The Falcons picked up their second straight win by at least 30 points and captured their sixth straight game with a 71-41 win over Somers in NCCC play Friday night.
Six-foot-six sophomore Nate Laszewski dominated the contest with a game-high 27 points. He made just six field goals but sank 15-of-16 foul shots to lead the Falcons, now 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the NCCC. Brian LaChance scored eight with a pair of three-point shots while Tim Patton scored seven with a pair of three-point goals.
Six of Avon’s wins this season have been double-digit victories including a 33-point win over East Granby a week ago (85-52), a 28-point win over Windsor Locks, 69-41, a 20-point win over Enfield, 71-51 and a 23-point win over Suffield, 57-34.
Avon beat Farmington for the second time since 2005 with a 66-48 victory in late December to retain possession of the Taft Cup trophy.
“We’re starting to come together as a team,” Avon’s sixth-year head coach Chris Vozzolo said. “We’ve got a good group and we’re getting better every day in practice.”
Laszewski had been a dominant player, averaging 20.8 points and sinking 10 three-point goals in the first 10 games of the season. In the first seven games, Laszewski averaged 24.2 points a game. “Nate is certainly an impact player,” Vozzolo said. “He has been great for us. Nate is definitely a large part of our offensive output but we have a good group of players around him.”
Senior captains Zach Sterling and Alex Zacchio have provided great leadership. Zacchio, a 6-foot-2 power forward, is the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points a game. “They’ve both been very solid for us,” Vozzolo said. Stirling is averaging 4.5 points a game.
Bryan St. Jean (3.8 ppg) starts at point guard with Tim Patton (4.7 ppg, 8 three-point goals) at the shooting guard position. Off the bench, Bryan Lachance is leading the team with 13 three-point goals and 6.2 points a game. Lachance had back-to-back games of 15 and 13 points, respectively, against Enfield and Windsor Locks.
“Bryan is giving us some energy and a little bit of scoring off the bench,” Vozzolo said.
Laszewski definitely draws everyone’s attention. At one point in Friday’s win over Somers, he scored in the middle of four Somers defenders. But each of teammates have shone in games throughout the first half of the season.
Zacchio had 23 points in the win over Farmington. Stirling had 11 in the opening day win over Suffield. St. Jean had 11 points against Enfield while Patton chipped with 11 against Farmington.
Avon had little trouble with Somers (5-6, 5-5 NCCC). The Falcons led 33-12 at halftime and led by over 30 points in the second half. This is Avon’s final year in the North Central Connecticut Conference. Next winter, Avon will playing in the Central Connecticut Conference.
Still, the Falcons have some challenges remaining ahead of them. Next Friday night, they travel to Hartford to face undefeated Sport Medicine Science Academy (9-0, 8-0 NCCC) and first place will probably be on the line.
Avon also has contests remaining with Hartford Classical (7-4, 5-4 NCCC) on February 6 on the road and Granby (5-3, 5-2 NCCC) on February 20, also on the road. The Falcons have a rematch with Ellington at home on February 10. Ellington (4-5) handed Avon a 61-59 defeat in December – the only loss thus far in the league for the Falcons.
Vozzolo is looking to build his team as the season progresses and hopefully, there will be opportunities for championships. “We’re hoping to play our best basketball at the end of February and March,” he said. “We’ll get to the postseason when we get there. Now, it’s the regular season and lets see where this takes us.”
Avon’s most recent NCCC championship came in 2010 when the Falcons shared the regular season title with Enfield. Both teams were 14-2. Avon last won the NCCC title outright in 2009 when they ran the table with a 13-0 record. The Falcons have finished second in the league the past three seasons with record of 14-2. A year ago, they were one game behind East Windsor, which won its first league championship since the early 1980s.
Avon 71, Somers 41
Somers (41): Jack Hostetler 1-2-4, Dave Hostetler 1-4-6, Kyle Trusch 2-0-4, Brian Hollister 4-3-11, Hunter Bonare 3-2-8, Steve Rotune 1-1-3, Cam Stanton 1-2-4, Tom Mancini 0-1-1. Totals 13 15-21 41.
Avon (71): Bryan St. Jean 1-0-2, Raiq Ahmed 0-0-0, Ian McDonald 3-0-6, Dan Reagan 1-0-3, Darby Comas 0-0-0, Bryan LaChance 3-0-8, Alex Zacchio 2-2-6, Cole Thompson 1-0-2, Justin Olson 0-3-3, Zach Stirling 2-0-4, Tim Patton 2-1-7, Jordan Williams 0-3-3, Nate Laszewski 6-15-27. Totals 21 29-32 27
Somers (5-6) 5 7 16 13 – 41
Avon (8-2) 17 16 20 18 – 71
Three-point goals: Reagan (A), LaChance (A) 2, Patton (A) 2