Bears dispose of Old Lyme 65-45. Immaculate of Danbury on deck in Class S States quarters.
THOMASTON: A year ago, the Thomaston Golden Bears basketball team took a community on a ride to remember that included a trip to the Class L finals at Mohegan Sun.
It was simply a magical run that mesmerized this small towns in ways only a local sporting event seem to from time to time.
Sure, the dream ended one victory away from the ultimate goal when they ran into a WNBA, I mean Capital Prep team that had their way with anyone who got in their way in Class S.
Flash forward to this season and look what we find. Another Golden Bears basketball team that is looking to retrace their steps with hopes of winning four straight. Four straight equals a Class S State Championship and by the way, Capital Prep is now haunting teams in Class L.
What journey will this year’s version of Golden Bear take their fan base?
On Friday night in a gym that has seen its share of magic over the last 12-months, the Bears dispensed of second round opponent Old Lyme by a 65-45 margin and have earned themselves another home game next Thursday against Immaculate.
The home team jumped out to a fast 23-12 lead after one and had doubled up the visitors by a 36-18 margin at the break.
Defense wins championships and the Bears used an aggressive ball trap to force a young Wildcats team in numerous first quarter steals.
A freshman, 5’11” Casey Carangelo, played big underneath early, scoring eight points over the first five minutes of the game, all on inside shots, a pair coming off put backs after grabbing offensive boards.
“I am the tallest one out there.” Carangelo said. “I knew I had to step up and make some shots inside.”
The Wildcats, who play in the tough Shoreline Conference, have only one senior on their squad and while they dispensed of their opening round opponent by 48 points (62-14 over Parish Hill) would not fare as well against a Berkshire League team that has taken a liking to this time of the year.
Abby Hurlbert, someone who played a tremendous game a year ago against Capital Prep in that Mohegan Sun meeting, led the home team with 22 points, including four from downtown.
The senior know better than to look to far ahead this time of the year.
“Sure we know it’s there,” Hurlbert said. “But we have to take things one game at a time. We have real good teams in Class S this year that we have to get by.”
Hurlbert is right, there is still plenty of talent in the remaining teams fighting for that top spot in S.
On their side of the bracket sits Immaculate (No. 11), Sacred Heart (No. 2) and Canton (No. 10) with St Paul (No. 1) and Lyman Memorial (an upset specialist at the moment at No. 24).
Thomaston got balanced scoring on Friday night in front of a crowd that will grow bigger and louder in less than a week when the Bears get back on the court.
Carangelo finished with 13 points while sophomore Morgan Sanson added 19 as she attacked the rim at will throughout the game.
They are in the quarterfinals another year. Thomaston is getting quite used to being in this position and has been playing some of their best basketball of the season over the past six weeks.
It will take 32-minutes of complete focus basketball as the road ahead has speed bumps bigger than the frost heaves on every road you travel this March.
Can the Bears get their small Connecticut community back to the Sun?
Time will tell.