By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Once again, Bristol had a couple teams make postseason season appearances as St. Paul Catholic made a surprise dash to the second round of the Class S bracket while Bristol Central just missed out making the round of 32 in an eventful state tournament, play-in game.
Several players made lasting impacts during the postseason and here’s our list of the Bristol Observer’s All-Tournament, First Team for the 2016 playoffs:
Jaekwon Spencer, Sophomore, Bristol Central – Was probably the most athletic player on the court in the Bethel game and ended the season with a 16 point, eight rebound and two steal effort…Hit the go-ahead shot with 7.5 seconds left in regulation, a floater in the lane, before the clock was mysteriously reset to 9.0 seconds…Hit a three-pointer early in the contest and drilled three-of-four free throws in a solid all-around effort…Blocked Central’s only shot of the evening…Remember, he’s only a sophomore and head coach Tim Barrette hopes to return to the state tournament picture with Spencer in the pivot.
Mike Palmieri, Sophomore, St. Paul Catholic – A youngster who hardly played like one in the postseason…Averaged a city best 17.5 points and against East Windsor, he soared in a team best 21 points on eight-of-15 shooting that also included three big three-pointers…Also dished out two assists against a very aggressive Panthers’ squad and for the tournament, Palmieri averaged 3.5 rebounds – aided by a six rebound effort in the upset of Sport and Medical Science Academy…And against the second rated squad in all of Class S, he slipped in 14 points and proved he belonged on the big stage…Canned five three-pointers over state tournament play.
Mike Ranagan Senior, St. Paul Catholic – Perhaps, he was the MVP for the Falcons during St. Paul’s playoff run – even of the 2015-16 campaign in general bluntly…He, in fact, was the floor general in two grueling state tournament games and zipped in 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists which included 2.5 steals-per-game…Committed just three turnovers in the two games, playing major minutes during both frays…In the upset against the Tigers, Ranagan battled foul trouble but still contributed 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists…And in the loss at East Windsor, the senior added 14 points and three rebounds…Canned three 3-pointers in the state tournament – all against the Panthers.
Tamir Hornesby, Senior, Bristol Central – Perhaps, he saved his best game for last as the senior looked like former rebounding great Dennis Rodman (except for the lime colored hair) on the floor…He snared 16 rebounds and if he could have cleanly snatched a few more balls, a 20 rebound night was not out of the cards…Also added 13 points off five-of-nine shooting from the field and three-of-four shooting from the free throw line in an amazing double-double…Gobbled up nine offensive rebounds, which was four more then Bethel’s entire team total on the evening…Central out rebounded the home squad 46-27 and Hornesby was a big part of that effort.
Ben Mazzone, Senior, St. Paul Catholic – The senior captain, along with Ranagan and Jackson Hines, made invaluable contributions throughout the state tournament run…Chipped in an important six points and six rebounds and while those numbers weren’t off the page totals, it was a huge contribution in the overall team effort against the competition…Hit two critical free throws in the overtime session against SMSA…Against the Tigers, he threw in seven points and four rebounds…And then two days later against No. 15 East Windsor, Mazzone went for five points, eight rebounds, and snared three steals…His senior leadership was evident from the get-go but in terms of turnovers, he only averaged one-per-game.
Here’s a quick look at the Bristol Observer All Tournament Second Team:
Jamil Hornesby (So.), Bristol Central – The guard had an off-shooting night against Bethel but still contributed an important 12 points, six rebounds, six assists in the near winning effort.
Austin Jones (Jr.), St. Paul Catholic – The St. Paul Catholic big man averaged 4.5 points and team-leading total of 9.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots-per-game over the two-game stint.
Isaiah Miller (So.), Bristol Central, Guard/Forward – Kicked in three points, two rebounds, three steals, and was an intimidating force on the floor in what turned into a very physical affair.
Jackson Hines (Sr.), Guard, St. Paul Catholic – Dropped in 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in two games, a bit below his averages, but canned two clutch free throws in overtime during the Falcons 50-46 upset of second rated Sports and Sciences Medical Academy.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE