Guiheen's big game leads Northwestern past Ellington
Northwestern senior Connor Guiheen and his Highlanders may have been eliminated from the Class S state tournament with their 81-65 loss to Bloomfield but this will still go down as one of the best seasons by a local team at 24-1.
WINSTED - It was Connor Guiheen's turn to have a big game but the rest of the Northwestern Higlanders were there to
offer plenty of support.
Guiheen scored 30 points and the top-seeded Highlanders remained unbeaten with a 71-57 victory over No. 16 Ellington
in a Class M Tournament second round matchup Wednesday evening in Winsted.
Northwestern improves to 24-0 with the win and moves into the quarterfinals where it will meet No. 9 Bloomfield,
which defeated No. 8 Notre Dame-Fairfield in overtime Wednesday.
Guiheen had 18 of his points at the half and the Knights never had an answer for him. Guiheen hit jumpers, threes and
scored inside, handling whatever defense Ellington threw at him.
"I felt good in warmups, I saw a lot of shots go in and it carried over," Guiheen said. "I got in a good rhythm and
my shots were falling. We have a lot of guys capable of scoring and tonight was my night."
They were falling for Ellington too, at least early on. The Knights made three 3-pointers in the first quarter and
held a 17-16 lead. The success didn't last for the visitors as the Highlanders cranked things up in the second.
Guiheen stayed hot, his teammates started to chip in and the defense picked up.
John Stevens hit a 3-pointer to cap a 16-4 run and give the Highlanders a 32-21 lead. A three by Guiheen with two minutes left in the second made it 37-23 and it appeared the rout was on. It wasn't as Brian Fitzsimons hit a pair of threes in the final minute for the Knights to make it 41-30 at the half.
In the second half the Highlanders just had too many different weapons for the Knights to make a serious run. Guiheen kept scoring, Stevens (12 points) and Arthur Lefevre (13 points) continued to chip in and Jimi Phillips was a force on the boards and finished with nine points and helped put the game away down the stretch.
"The thing with us is we don't care who scores the points," Stevens said. "We have confidence in each other to make open shots. So we
did a great job of moving the ball and playing as a team."
Ellington coach Donald Flint agreed.
"What you saw was a perfect example of a successful team that is unselfish," Flint said. "They are about distributing the ball. They moved the ball, found the open man, passed up a shot for a better shot. They played unselfish basketball."
It's the type of basketball that has become Northwestern's calling card this season. Guiheen did the heavy lifting in this one and while Stevens didn't have his best shooting night, his fingerprints were still all over this win with seven steals, seven rebounds and five assists. But the Highlanders are far from a two-man shot.
Ted Bremer came off the bench and had a couple big hoops inside in the second quarter and Lefevre made three 3-pointers and is a perfect compliment to the slashing style of Stevens and Guiheen. Phillips scored eight points in the fourth to make sure the Knights never made a push and Mike Jeffko provided toughness on the boards.
"It's the way it has been all season with this team, we are a hard team to guard because we have a lot of different guys who can score points," Northwestern coach Doug Sebach said. "The balance opens things up. Team play, ball movement and not being able to key in on one guy helps us get things going."
Class M Second round
Northwestern 16 - 25 - 16 - 14 - 71
Ellington 17 - 13 - 14 - 13 - 57
Northwestern (71) - John Stevens 5 1-5 12; Arthur Lefevre 5 0-0 13; Connor Guiheen 11 6-7 30; Jimi Phillips 4 1-2 9;
Mike Jeffko 1 1-4 3; Ted Bremer 2 0-0 4; Totals: 28 9-18 71.
3-pointers: Lefevre (3); Guiheen (2), Stevens.
Ellington (57) - Kyle Gresh 1 0-0 3; Brian Fitzsimons 2 0-0 6; Coby Harned 3 1-2 9; Justin Dionne 3 2-2 9; Jon
Bassett 1 4-5 6; Jack Connelly 4 2-2 10; Austin Tautkus 1 0-0 2; Matt Anderson 4 4-6 12; Totals: 19 13-17 57.
3-pointers: Fitzsimons (2); Harned (2), Gresh, Dionne.