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Canton keeps NCCC title hopes alive with win over Crusaders

Brandon Powell had a game-high 20 points in Canton’s win over East Granby on Wednesday.

Brandon Powell and Matthew Benedetti each had 20 points as the Canton High boys basketball team beat visiting East Granby, 67-40 on Wednesday to keep alive their league championship hopes.

Canton can win a share of the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC) championship if they beat Bolton on Friday night and Windsor Locks loses one of their four remaining league games. If Windsor Locks loses two of their four remaining NCCC games and the Warriors top Bolton, Canton would win the title.

With the victory, Canton improves to 10-7 overall and 9-2 in the league. Windsor Locks is 12-2 and 7-1 in the NCCC.

“Nothing good ever comes easy. We have to focus in on our game and play,” Canton High coach Craig Archambault said.

On Wednesday, Canton honored their eight seniors and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process. “They just played good from start to finish,” Archambault said of the Warriors. “Everyone contributed big time.”

The Warriors were challenged in their previous three games with losses to Cromwell (15-1), Northwestern Regional (13-3) and Ellington (13-3).

“The big message was to get back to playing Warrior defense,” Archambault said. “We challenged them to back to that (defensive and toughness) identity. We were pretty locked in on defense (against East Granby) which was a key.”

Canton is looking for a piece for their first league championship since 2018 when they shared the title with SMSA. Windsor Locks is looking for their first league championship since 2001. Canton travels to Bolton (9-9) for a 6:45 p.m. on Friday night.

Windsor Locks beat East Windsor, 54-31, on Wednesday night. The Raiders face Coventry on Friday. Next week, the Raiders will face Rockville on Monday, Somers on Tuesday and Suffield on Friday, Feb. 17.

Canton 67, East Granby 40
At Canton
East Granby (40)
Kenzie Vick 5-2-12 Jackson Pisati 4-0-11, Ben Nardi 4-2-11, Brady Gill 1-0-2, Kiernan Rudzik 2-0-4, Peyton Varbeek 0-0-0, Nate Kraiza 0-0-0, James Fagnant 0-0-0, Emmett Gallagher 0-0-0, Cole Malinowski 0-0-0. Totals 16-4
Canton (67) Taylor Kim 0-0-0, Khalil Thomas 4-1-9, Ben Cuniowski 2-0-4, Brandon Powell 7-2-20, Jake Dean 0-0-0, Matthew Benedetti 8-4-20, Ryan Benedetti 2-0-5, Chase Ahlgren 0-0-0, Ryan Cuniowski 1-0-3, Jayson Young 2-0-5, Michael Valenti 0-1-1, Totals 26-8
East Granby (3-12)            5    7  16  12   — 40
Canton (10-7)                   15  11  24  17  — 67
Three-point goals: Powell (Ca) 4, Ryan Benedetti (Ca), Ryan Cuniowski (Ca), Young (Ca), Pisati (EG) 3, Nardi (EG)


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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