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Classical wins first outright NCCC title, earns top seed in NCCC tournament

Grant Lange was Canton’s leading scorer, averaging 15.0 points a game. He has also hit a team-leading 53 three-point shots. (Photo courtesy Paul Amrose)

CANTON, February 19 – With their first-ever undefeated season in the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC), the Hartford Classical boys basketball won their second league championship in the last four years along with their first outright championship. Classical (18-1, 16-0 NCCC) shared the league championship with SMSA in 2016.

Classical also claimed the No. 1 seed in 46th annual NCCC Tournament that begins Thursday. No. 2 seed Granby (17-3, 15-1 NCCC) finished second with their best record in the league since they won the NCCC championship in 2013 with a 15-1 record.

Canton, which had won the past two NCCC titles, finished with a 13-7 record and 11-5 in the league. It was good enough to earn the No. 5 seed in the 12-team league tournament. The top four seeds (Classical, Granby, Somers and Ellington) earned first round byes.

Canton will host No. 12 East Granby (7-12, 5-11 NCCC) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Classical is the defending NCCC Tournament champion. The Gladiators beat Granby, 50-47 in last year’s championship game.

The Warriors finished 13-7 this season with four wins in their last five games. Grant Lange led the team in scoring with a 15.0 points per game average and a team-high 53 three-point goals. Josh Burke (7.4 ppg) drained 33 three-point goals while Jack Rose (8.7) and Matt Rose (6.5) provided consistent support.

2019 NCCC boys basketball tournament
Games at higher seeds

Thursday’s first round
Rockville 54, Coventry 39
Suffield 54, SMSA 49
HMTCA 81, Bolton 64

Friday’s quarterfinals
Hartford Classical 68, Rockville 61
Granby 48, Suffield 42
HMTCA 69, Somers 61

Saturday, February 23
First round
(12) East Granby at (5) Canton, 5 p.m.

Monday, February 25
Quarterfinal
Canton/East Granby winner at (4) Ellington, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 27
Semifinals
Canton/EG/Ellington winner at Classical, 7 p.m.
HMTCA at Granby, 7 p.m.

Friday, March 1
Championship

At higher seed

NCCC boys basketball standings
As of February 20

Team NCCC Overall
x-Hartford Classical 16-0 18-1
Granby 15-1 17-3
Somers 13-3 16-4
Ellington 12-4 16-4
Canton 11-5 13-7
HMTCA 10-6 13-7
Suffield 9-7 11-9
Rockville 7-9 7-13
Coventry 6-10 9-11
Bolton 6-10 8-10
SMSA 6-10 8-12
East Granby 5-11 7-12
Windsor Locks 3-13 3-17
East Windsor 2-14 2-18
Stafford 0-16 1-18

x-won league championship

Recent NCCC Tournament championship games
2018: Classical 50, Granby 47
2017: SMSA 66, Classical 50
2016: East Windsor 57, Canton 54
2015: Avon 48, SMSA 44
2014: East Windsor 41, Granby 36, OT
2013: Avon 71, Granby 36
2012: Enfield 67, Coventry 35
2011: Enfield 71, Avon 52
2010: Enfield 43, Ellington 39
2009: Avon 71, Canton 55

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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