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Canton has to rally to catch quick Ellington squad

CANTON, Jan. 19, 2009 – With a pair of victories last week, the Canton High boys basketball team remained undefeated but it wasn’t easy.

Canton had to rally from a 12-point deficit to beat Ellington, 67-64. The Warriors finished the week with a 67-43 win over Enfield, building a 19-point halftime lead and coasting to the finish.

Canton improves to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the league. “I don’t think we’ve put together a four quarter effort yet and the boys know that,” Canton coach Eric Deegan said. “We get some nice runs together but we haven’t played a consistent game yet. And it won’t be that easy against the better teams.”

Ellington led by as many as 12 points. Point guard Brian Francolini, an All-American soccer player, had a game and career-high 26 points, including 18 points in the fourth quarter on six three-point goals. “They gave us a lot of trouble with their quickness,” Deegan said. “They were the first team that was quicker than we were.”

The Warriors had to abandon its man-to-man defense and play zone. Chris Robitaille had 20 points and 20 rebounds but he played stronger in the second half. Andrew Crowley led the Warriors with 24 points. Mike Setzler added 11.

Canton took advantage of a huge advantage at the foul line, sinking 18 of 23 shots. Because Canton was called for just two fouls in the entire game, Ellington didn’t attempt a single foul shot.

Against Enfield on Friday, the Warriors raced out to a 21-8 lead after one quarter and cruised from there. Robitaille had 27 points while Crowley added 22. Connor Smyth scored 10.

This week, Canton (6-0, 4-0 NCCC) had a full week with three non-conference games at East Granby on Tuesday (Jan. 20), against East Windsor on Friday (Jan. 23) and at Bolton on Saturday night (Jan. 24).

The six-game winning streak to begin the season is the fourth best start in school history. Canton won 12 straight to open the 1963 season and seven in a row to open the 2007 and 1982 campaigns.

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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