CANTON, March 9 – Close games haven’t bothered the Canton High boys basketball team this season.
The Warriors erased a 12-point deficit and beat Sport Medicine Science Academy by three points in January. Canton trailed Hartford Classical erased a 12-point deficit against Hartford Classical and limited the Gladiators to 18 points in the second in a 13-point victory. The Warriors beat Somers in overtime in the quarterfinals of the NCCC Tournament.
No. 2 Canton won another close one on Thursday night. Senior Ethan Burke scored with 2.8 seconds remaining to lift the Warriors to a 40-38 victory over No. 15 Achievement First Amistad out of New Haven.
Canton (20-4) advances to the Class S quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and will host Waterbury Career Academy on Monday night at 7 p.m. in Canton. No. 23 WCA (12-10) beat No. 7 Classical, 85-74 on Thursday night.
Jack Mansur hit a big three-point shot in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to keep the Warriors in the game.
Ryan Enns scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half including eight in the fourth quarter. Burke and Mansur each had nine points for Canton.
It was the 13th time in 24 games that the Warriors have held their opponents under 40 points or less this season.
“Sometimes, we struggle to score so our staple is defense,” Canton High coach Craig Archambault said earlier this season. “And defense keeps you in games.”
“The biggest difference (between this year and last year) is our toughness and chemistry which you don’t see in the stats,” Burke said earlier this season. “We’re a better defensive team than we were last year and our chemistry is awesome when adversity strikes. We can overcome because people help each other.”
Canton will be seeking their first semifinal berth since 2007.
Canton 40, Amistad 38
Amistad (38) Justin White 0-0-0, A.J. Edwards 4-2-13, Will Davis 0-2-2, Detrei Murphy 2-1-6, Brandon Petteway 7-1-15, Tim Sullivan 0-0-0, Jayden Ratliff 0-0-0. Totals 14-6-38
Canton (40) Luke Brown 1-1-4, Jack Mansur 3-0-9, Ryan Enns 7-0-14, Ethan Burke 3-2-9, Tim Keating 1-0-2, Matt Rose 0-0-0, Mitchell Cormier 0-0-0, Jack Rose 1-0-2. Totals 16-3-40
Amistad 6 9 8 15 — 38
Canton (20-4) 5 8 11 16 – 40
Three-point goals: Brown (C), Mansur (C) 3, Burke (C), Edwards (A) 3, Murphy (A)