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Avon’s Nate Laszewski earns All-State honors

Avon sophomore Nate Laszewski was named to the CHSCA Class L first team.

Avon sophomore Nate Laszewski  (34) was named to the CHSCA Class L first team.

AVON – Six-foot-6 sophomore forward Nate Laszewski became the first Avon High boys basketball player to earn first team All-State honors in six years when he was named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s (CHSCA) Class L squad.

Several players have earned second team All-State honors in the last decade and a half, including Patrick McKearney, who was second team All-State a year ago. But Laszewski is the first Falcon basketball player to earn first team All-State honors since Joseph Ives in 2009.

“Nate was a constant threat all season for us on both ends of the court,” Avon coach Chris Vozzolo said. “Nate is such a dangerous opponent because of his versatility to be able to play on both the perimeter and in the post.  His skills are extremely polished and the sky is the limit on how far he can take his game.”

He averaged 20.4 points a game and got off to a red-hot start to begin the season, averaging 24.2 points in the first seven games of the campaign. Laszewski scored over 20 points in 14 of 24 games, including a career-high 42 point performance in an overtime victory over Suffield. He sank 21 three-pointers this season including 10 in the first seven games of the year.

“We put a lot of focus on Nate getting touches in places where he was a threat,” Vozzolo said. “He does a great job getting to the free throw line and creating for himself.  Establishing himself on the blocks allowed him to get to the stripe and also open up his perimeter game.”

Laszewski was limited to just two field goals in a 44-42 win over Granby in late February but he sank 16 free throws in the game. In his 42-point game against Suffield, he hit 15 free throws. He sank 15 against Somers in January.

Laszewski helped Avon (18-6, 16-2 NCCC) finish second in the North Central Connecticut Conference behind Hartford’s Sport Medicine Science Academy and win the league tournament in Avon’s final season in the league. The Falcons will be moving to the Central Connecticut Conference in September.

His 42-point effort is four points shy of the single game record of 46 points by Mike Taft in 2002 against Somers. Taft had eight 3-point shots in the game.

Other Avon players to earn first team All-State honors include Andy Roell (2008), Andy Milward (1998), Dushawne Simpson (1991), Chris Ritger (1988) and Don Freidberg (1980). Ritger and Freidberg were selected to the New Haven Register’s All-State team. Roell, Milward and Simpson were named to the CHSCA squads.

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.

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