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No. 11 Canton finds shooting touch in tournament win over Lewis Mills

Canton’s Grant Lange (30) drives to the basket for two of his team-high 27 points as the Warriors beat Lewis Mills in their CIAC Division IV opener Monday night. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

CANTON, March 4 – The Canton High boys basketball team found their long-range shooting touch again on Monday night and it helped the Warriors beat Lewis Mills, 65-51 in a first round game in the CIAC’s Division IV tournament.

A little over a week after sinking a season-high 13 three-point shots in a NCCC Tournament win over East Granby, the No. 11 seeded Warriors drained nine three-point shots against Lewis Mills, led by senior Grant Lange, who scored 27 points and hit a season-high seven three-point shots.

Lange was one point shy of his career high of 28 points that he had in an overtime loss to Coventry in January.

Jack Rose had 18 points and pair of three-point shots for the Warriors, who led by eight points, 34-26 at halftime.

No. 22 Lewis Mills (9-12) was led by senior Josh Schibi, who had a game-high 27 points, including five three-point field goals. He was the only Spartan player in double figures.

Lewis Mills’ Aidan Sullivan defends against Canton’s Matt Rose in Monday night’s Division IV tournament game in Canton. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

It was a close game in the early going. Canton led by six, 20-14, Lange scored on a layup with 1:38 left in the first quarter. Mills cut the lead to two but Matt Rose made a sweet bounce pass assist to Chris Tenczar cutting to the basket for a 22-18 lead after one quarter.

Canton raced away early in the second quarter with a 9-3 surge to take a 31-22 lead. Matt Rose sank a reverse layup, Jack Rose sank a three-point shot and Lange hit a jumper. Matt Rose ended the run with a layup.

Layups from Aidan Sullivan and Schibi cut the Canton lead to five points, 31-26 with 2:08 left in the quarter, but the Lange drained a three-point shot with 1:37 remaining to give Canton a 34-26 halftime lead.

Mills never got any closer than seven points in the second half. Schibi hit a three-point shot to cut the lead to 40-33 but Lange answered again with a three-pointer of his own to push the lead back to 10 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

Canton (15-8) advances to the second round of the Division IV tournament on Wednesday night where they will face either No. 6 Ellington or No. 27 Woodland Regional.

Ellington bounced Canton from the NCCC Tournament last week, limiting Canton to just three baskets from three-point range in a 56-41 decision. The Purple Knights also beat Canton, 43-41, in mid-January scoring the game-winning basket in the final 10 seconds of the contest.

Jack Rose (50) fights his way to the basket past Lewis Mills’ Nate DiChiara (33) in Monday’s tournament win over Lewis Mills. Rose had 12 of his 18 points in the first half. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

NOTES: It was just the second CIAC tournament game between the two old rivals, who first met on the hardwood in 1962. Mills won the first CIAC tournament meeting in 2005 with a 40-38 victory in the Division IV tournament. … The Warriors won their opening round tournament game for the fourth straight season. The program record is opening round victories in five consecutive seasons in 2006-10. … Canton has won six straight games over Lewis Mills dating back to 2015 and owns a 33-24 edge in the series. … The two teams played just once from 1986 through 2013 when the yearly series resumed again. … It was Lewis Mills’ final basketball game as a Berkshire League school. The Spartans are joining the Central Connecticut Conference in September.

Canton 65, Lewis Mills 51
At Canton
Lewis Mills (51) James Nestor 1-2-4, Matt Geisler 2-0-5, Nate DiChiara 2-0-4, Aidan Sullivan 3-2-8, Josh Schibi 10-2-27, Colby Norton 1-0-2, Matt Fitzsimmons 0-1-1. Totals 19-7
Canton (65) Josh Burke 0-2-2, Chris Tenczar 2-0-4, Dugan Lloyd 0-0-0, Grant Lange 10-0-27, Matt Rose 6-0-12, Jack Rose 4-8-18, Ryan McGoldrick 0-2-2. Totals 22-12-65
Lewis Mills (9-13)          18    8  14  11 – 51
Canton (15-8)                 22  12  18  13  — 65
Three-point goals: Lange (Ca) 4, Jack Rose (Ca) 2, Geisler (LM), Schibi (LM) 5

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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