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Canton shuts down Phoenix in second half and moves into NCCC semifinals

Canton’s Ryan Enns scored 11 points as the Warriors advanced to the semifinals of the NCCC Tournament for the fourth straight season with a win over HMTCA on Friday night.

CANTON, February 23 – The two-time NCCC champion Canton High boys basketball team limited Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) to just 15 points in the second half and beat the Phoenix, 55-43 in the quarterfinals of the North Central Connecticut Conference tournament Friday night in Canton.

The Phoenix had a 28-26 lead at halftime. The victory avenges a 17-point loss to the Phoenix on February 9. Luke Brown led the Warriors (18-3) with 19 points while Ryan Enns added 11.

The victory moves Canton into the NCCC Tournament semifinals on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at home when the top-seeded Warriors will host No. 5 Hartford Classical. Canton will be looking to return to the NCCC Tournament championship game for the first time since 2016 when they lost on a buzzer-beating shot to East Windsor.

A year ago, Classical held off a late Canton rally to beat the Warriors in a thrilling semifinal victory. The Warriors trailed by 11 with 2:43 remaining and nearly came back to win in a 48-47 defeat. But the game is most remembered for a few Canton students taunting Classical by chanting President Trump’s name.

The No. 5 Gladiators prevailed in overtime to beat No. 5 Rockville, 68-64 in their NCCC quarterfinal on Friday night. Robert Simmons scored six of his game-high 28 points in OT to lead Classical. Tyreice Woods added 14 points. The Rams (13-8) were led by Zach Woods with 24 points and Justin Collins with 19.

In the other tournament semifinal, No. 2 SMSA will host No. 3 Granby.

Granby (14-7) had a balanced attack and survived in a 36-33 win over Bolton. Jon Bystrowski led the Bears with nine points while Daniel Pierce had seven. The Bears led 16-13 at halftime.

Scoring wasn’t a problem for SMSA (16-5) which outlasted Ellington, 75-73. Nasir Williams had 21 points while Tre Bailey added 18 for the winners. Ellington (10-11) was led by Kevin Redler with 25 points.

Canton 55, HMTCA 43
At Canton
HMTCA (43) Roosevelt Orbe 4 0 9, Mathieu Augustin 5 3 14, Alexis Quinones 4 0 9, Caron Henderson 0 2 2, Victor Smith 4 1 9. Totals 17 6 43
Canton (55) Luke Brown 6 5 19, Jack Mansur 3 0 8, Ryan Enns 5 1 11, Grant Lange 1 1 3, Tim Keating 2 2 6, Mitchell Cormier 2 2 6, Jack Rose 1 0 2. Totals 20 11 55
HMTCA (10-12)        10  18    6    9  — 43
Canton (18-3)            12  14  15  14  — 55
Three-point shots: Orbe (H), Augustin (H), Quinones (H), Brown (Ca) 2, Mansur (Ca) 2

2018 NCCC boys basketball tournament
First round
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Game 1: (9) HMTCA 73, (8) East Windsor 69
Game 2: (7) Ellington 53, (10) Somers 45
Game 3: (11) Bolton 58, (6) Windsor Locks 53

Quarterfinals
Friday, Feb. 23
(1) Canton 55, HMTCA 43
(5) Hartford Classical 68, (4) Rockville 64, OT
(3) Granby 36, Bolton 33
(2) SMSA 75, (7) Ellington 73

Semifinals
Wednesday, February 28
Hartford Classical at Canton, 7 p.m.
Granby at SMSA

Championship
Thursday, March 1
At highest remaining seed

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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