ELLINGTON, March 6 – The deficit and slow start was too much to overcome. No. 6 Ellington beat No. 11 Canton for the second time in their last four games to advance in the CIAC Division IV tournament Wednesday night, 50-38.
The Purple Knights (20-5) limited Canton to just three points in the first quarter and nine in the first half. Ellington, which blocked six shots in the first half, led by 12 after one period and extended the lead to 14 at halftime.
The Warriors (15-9) played better in the second half and cut the lead to seven points in the fourth quarter but the early deficit was too much to overcome.
Jack Rose missed a three-point shot but Grant Lange grabbed the rebound and scored on a scoop layup with his left hand with 1:31 remaining to cut the lead to seven, 43-36. That is as close as Canton would get. Lange led the Warriors with 19 points while Jack Rose added nine.
Ellington, which beat Canton in the NCCC semifinals 56-41 on February 25, was led by Anthony Beasley with 20 points and Ryan Zahner with 11 points.
Canton forced two turnovers to begin the third quarter. Chris Tenczar stole the ball and drove in for a layup and that was followed by a layup from Lange to cut the lead to 10 points, 23-13.
The Ellington offense didn’t look as sharp as it did in the first half but it was ok thanks to the play of their defense that limited Canton’s offensive opportunities.
Canton cut the lead to 10 with a pair of free throws from Lange but Ellington quickly extended the lead again. Beasley hit one of two free throws and when he missed the second, the Purple Knights controlled the rebound leading to a Beasley bucket a few seconds later and a 30-17 lead.
Ellington had a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter following a Canton turnover but Lange scored seven straight points for Canton, including his only three-point shot of the game to cut the Ellington lead to eight points, 35-28 with 5:56 remaining.
Jack Rose hit a jumper with 2:40 remaining to cut the lead to seven, 39-32, but Beasley dribbled the length of the court before getting fouled. He sank one of two free throws, 40-32.
Lange missed a tough turnaround jumper and Beasley was fouled. He sank the first of two free throws to swell the lead to nine points, 41-32 with 2:12 remaining.
Again, Canton cut the lead to seven, 41-34, when Dugan Lloyd scored on a layup off a sweep bounce pass from inside the lane from Tenczar. But Ellington quickly sank a pair of free throws to increase the lead to nine, 43-34 with 1:50 remaining.
The Purple Knights have a rematch with No. 2 Granby in the Class S quarterfinals on Friday at the Bear’s Den in Granby. The Bears dominated Ellington last Friday night to win the NCCC Tournament title for the first time since 2006.
Ellington 50, Canton 38
Canton (38) Chris Tenczar 1-0-2, Matthew Rose 2-0-4, Jack Rose 3-3-9, Grant Lange 6-6-19, Dugan Lloyd 1-2-4, Josh Burke 0-0-0. Totals 13-11-38
Ellington (50) Anthony Beasley 7-5-20, Ryan Zahner 5-1-11, Brandon Zahner 2-0-5, Thomas Garrow 1-0-2, Logan Macaluso 0-1-1, Gavin Laughlan 1-5-7, Colin Garrow 1-2-4. Totals 15-14-50
Canton (15-9) 3 6 12 17 – 38
Ellington (20-5) 15 8 10 17 – 50
Three-point goals: Lange (Ca), Beasley (Ell), B. Zahner (Ell)
Paul Amrose contributed to this story.