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Running up the score isn’t part of the game plan

CANTON, Jan. 25 – It’s not a problem that the Canton High boys basketball typically deals with – running up the score. In the wake of a Texas high school girls basketball team beating another team 100-0 earlier this week, questions have been raised on how stronger teams can manage the score.

Canton has a pair of 56-point victories this year. The Warriors (9-0, 4-0 NCCC) beat Portland by 56 points in December and added another 56-point victory with an 81-25 victory over winless East Windsor on Friday. Canton had a 43-6 lead at halftime against East Windsor.

“Once we get up by 20 and if I can tell (the opposition) isn’t that good, I’ll take off the full court press,” Canton coach Eric Deegan said. He said his response depends on the opposition. Canton had a 22-point lead on Tolland earlier this year and the Eagles rallied to force overtime before Canton eventually prevailed, 77-74.

With a big lead, Deegan substitutes freely and lets his athletes play. “We won’t full court press, run a trapping defense or any special plays,” Deegan said. In the waning minutes of Friday’s game, the Warriors were holding the ball against East Windsor but the Panther coaching staff asked Canton to put the ball back into play.

Deegan and the Warriors are looking forward to more competitive games. They face undefeated Windsor Locks (11-0, 5-0 NCCC) on Tuesday in Canton. “We’re going to have our hands full,” Deegan said. “But the kids are really looking forward to it.”

Canton beat Bolton in a competitive game on Saturday, 64-57, with 24 points from Andrew Crowley, including four 3-point shots. Chris Robitalle added 20 points and seven blocks.

“We got by eight or 10 early and we had a chance to extend the lead,” Deegan said. “But we let them back and it was a battle. We had some defensive breakdowns and they were a quick team.”  The Warriors got into foul trouble but were able to pull out the victory with James Rosshirt scoring a key 10 points.

Against East Windsor, Connor Smyth had 15 points while Crowley led the way with 16. Last Tuesday, Canton rolled to a 78-46 win over East Granby. Robitaille had 22 points and 14 rebounds while Smyth added 11 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.

Canton’s 9-0 start is the second 9-0 start in school history. The Warriors began the 1963 season with a 12-0 mark. And the 56-point win isn’t a school record. Canton beat Bacon Academy in 1955 by a 66-point margin, 91-25.

The Warriors have also been on the other side of lopsided contests. They lost by 80 points in a game in 1921 to Simsbury, lost by 74 points to Wolcott Tech in 1961 and were 66 points behind E.O. Smith in a 1990 loss.

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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