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Of Hanson, Sanson and end of the year thoughts

POSTED December 24, 2018
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson


Merry Christmas to all. Relax a bit before 2019 rolls in and takes your breath away again.

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                During my sophomore year in high school our basketball team hoped our games or practices didn’t conflict with those of Holy Cross. On those rare occasions we would hop in our cars, head down to the house on Oronoke Road and stand in line hoping to get a seat in the always sold out `Pit’.  Tim MacDonald’s Crusaders were undefeated that regular season with the likes of Dennis McGuire, Jim Albon, Jim Abromaitis,  Mark Duquette and Anthony Hanson.

                It was Hanson we really wanted to see. A wiry 6-foot-4 with a mop of hair that moved in more directions than a bad politician, Hanson had a game that rarely had Waterbury ever seen with a pair of major league springs in his legs. He would go on to becomemaybe the greatest player ever in city with a rich history of hoop brilliance.

                During the summer we caught up with Hanson playing for Tower Grill in a high-powered league. One play still mesmerizes me. I saw him dunk a rebound in off a foul shot with an opposing player in front of him.

                Hanson went on to do great things at UConn and then over in England even receiving honors from Queen Elizabeth, named to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Tony Hanson died last week at the age of 63. Great, career, great life, great guy, great memory and mostly great loss.

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                Morgan Sanson hadn’t picked up a field hockey stick in two years. Her last shot came in November  of 2016 in the Class S championship game and it won a state title for the Thomaston Bears. This season as junior at Eastern Connecticut State University she decided to it was time again to don the skirt and attack the cage.

                All Sanson did was lead the team in scoring with six goals (four game-winners) and points (15). She earned Honorable Mention  (third team) All-Little East honors and All-LEC Rookie of the Week honors. 

 Don’t be surprised. Sanson, who also is a pitcher on the Warriors’ softball team, was a six-time All-State selection and a 10-time All-Berkshire League selection in three different sports as a Golden Bear while playing in seven state title games and winning four state titles in three different sports. There were a host of `Morgan moments.’

A brilliant athletic journey continues.

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I am not one to make political statements particularly in this age where social media has become a political sewer hole. But with the death of George H.W. Busch this recently I think we are all reminded what class is and how desparately it is missed on both sides these days. Unfortunately people will say, yeah, and then just keep on doing what they are doing.

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Good to see former Holy Cross coach Ed Generali in the crowd at the Crusaders game with Torrington recently.  The coach looks fit and tan and ready to roll. Genrali’s record speaks for itself, he had a Hall of Fame career. To this reporter it was always a pleasure to visit the `The Pit’ and be treated with respect during his tenure. He became a friend. He did blame me for every loss when I was in the gym but other than that it was always a lot of fun.

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Has any coach disappointed more opponents than Northwestern Regional’s Fred Williams. The defending BL champion Highlanders lost a trio of key players from a year ago and not on a lot of people’s minds when title talk surfaced this year. So what happens? Williams’ Highlanders knock of one of the favorites, Lewis Mills, in convincing fashion, 38-24, with a superb defensive effort. 

Gilbert and Lewis Mills were the preseason picks to be hoisting a banner this season. It may end up that way but early on guess who they are all chasing? Northwestern beats Mills and Mills rebounds and takes down Gilbert.

I don’t know if the Highlanders are there in late February but once again Williams shows why he has compiled more than 600 wins.  You look past Northwestern at your own demise and most people know that.

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Whatever happens in the Kevin Ollie – UConn battle and it’s getting uglier, let’s remember one thing. This is all about getting rid of Ollie and not having to pay $10 million. It has nothing to do with race. Let’s hope it doesn’t disintegrate into that. There was not talk of race when he was hired. It’s a money thing, folks.

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The NVL’s suburban schools look ready to flex a little muscle this season in league usually dominated by the city schools. While nobody is talking about supplanting perennial powers Sacred Heart and Crosby, Wolcott, Naugatuck and Torrington are going to make themselves heard.

Wolcott led by Elmin Redzepagic is 2-0 with victories over WCA and Wilby. Torrington showed its potentials with an impressive win over Holy Cross. Expect Naugatuck to raise some eyebrows.  Time for the suburbans to shine. 

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