Boys Basketball: Central, ranked 23rd, heads to states

By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL – The CIAC Division III boys basketball bracket is set and the squad from Bristol Central went to battle this past week as the tournament’s No. 23 team.

The Rams, at 8-12, were the second to last seed in the fray and that meant a long road trip for the school on the hill.

On Tuesday, March 5, Central traveled to New Milford to battle the Blue Wave in first round action.

New Milford earned the No. 10 ranking via a 14-6 campaign – one of five teams to end the year with that record in Division III play.

Both Central and New Milford battled Hall of West Hartford this season with quite different results.

On Dec. 19, the Blue Wave defeated Hall 78-75 while the Rams fell to the Warriors by a 59-44 final late in the year.

On Feb. 2, New Milford fell to Farmington 74-45 as the team was 1-1 against the squads of the Central Connecticut Conference.

The Rams started the year at 0-4 but a 8-6 burst – including a 49-38 win over Plainville on Feb. 13 to qualify for tournament play – allowed Central’s season to include at least one game over the month of March.

Central freshmen Donovan Clingan played in all 20 games for the Rams, averaging 21.5 points-per-game that included double-figures in rebounds and several blocked shots along the way. He had a monster year to lead the Bristol program.

Senior Ryan Rodriguez scooped in 6.8 points-per-game while shooting guard Austin Brown averaged 6.7 ppg.

Shane Ouellette (4.3 ppg), Sean Wininger (4.1), Victor Rosa, Damion Glasper, and Nate Rosa will help lead the Rams against the Blue Wave – looking for an upset bid.

The winner of the Central/New Milford game earned a trip to No. 7 East Lyme (14-6) for a second round tilt.

That game took place on Thursday, March 7 with the quarterfinals commencing on March 11 from site of the highest remaining seed.

The amazing Wamogo program, at 20-0 over regular season play, earned the top seed while Prince Tech of Hartford was the number two.

Other programs in the Division III tournament that Central tangled with this season included Berlin (No. 8), Hall (No. 14), Maloney (No. 17), Tolland (No. 18), and Capital Prep (No. 22).

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Michael Letendre, email him at MLetendre@BristolObserver.com.