Anderson named MOP of Rotary Senior game
Chase Anderson added another highlight to his senior year resume.
Anderson played in the Putnam Rotary Club's Senior All-Star Basketball Tournament on Tuesday at Putnam High.
He scored 17 points and earned Most Outstanding Player honors for his Green team in a 93-69 loss to the Blue.
"It was a lot of fun," Anderson said. "Not much defense played, a lot of scoring."
That's Anderson's cup of tea.
"It was better than a normal game and a nice way to top off the season," he added.
Anderson saved his best for the second half.
He scored 13 of his 17 points and tried to help his team get back into the contest although the focus was more on just having fun than winning.
He also hadn't played that much since the Centaurs lost to Abbott Tech in the first round of the Division IV state tournament the week before which meant he had to shake a little of the rust off.
"We tried our best. It was nice to get back on to the court one more time. It was a good four years," Anderson said.
Anderson hopes to continue playing basketball and he may not go far to do so.
He is considering playing for a Woodstock Academy prep team next year.
"That is in the picture right now," Anderson said. "It's possible. I just have to weigh out my options and see how things are."
Season ends for Centaurs
There were no world-beaters in Division IV of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys basketball state tournament.
It gave hope for teams like Woodstock Academy which played a tough regular season schedule.
“We liked our draw,” Centaurs coach Marty Hart said. “We thought we could compete and we did compete hard.”
It wasn’t enough.
The 23rd-seeded Centaurs lost to No. 10 Abbott Tech a long way from home in Danbury, 61-53, in a first-round game Tuesday.
The loss meant the Centaurs ended the season with a 10-13 overall mark.
“I’m proud of the wins we had. It was great to get Killingly twice. We had a really strong win over Fitch and competed hard against the upper echelon of the (Eastern Connecticut Conference)- the big win over second-seeded East Lyme to get us, a seventh-seed, into the ECC semifinals. We ran into a very competitive (Norwich Free Academy) team there was very close to knocking off Waterford in the championship,” Hart said. “We would have liked to have a few more wins but it was great to have the time with the team, they’re a great bunch of guys.”
Unfortunately, most will not return for the Centaurs.
“We have a lot of great seniors. We’re certainly going to miss them,” Hart said.
Eight to be exact and they contributed the majority of the points, rebounds, assists and steals generated by the team.
Chase Anderson, who became a 1,000-point scorer during the season, led the team with an 18.3 point per game average including 37 3-pointers, also pulled down 8.1 rebounds per game, with 58 assists and 54 steals.
Inside players Cole Hackett (9.7 ppg, 8.6 rebounds, 20 blocks), Luke Mathewson (6.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 34 assists) and John Rogers have also played their final games in a Woodstock Academy uniform.
The list continues with guards Aaron Johnson (9.5 ppg, a team-best 38 3-pointers and 45 assists); Ethan Adams (3.0 ppg), Jake Marsalisi (3.7 ppg) and team leader Eric Preston (2.2 ppg).
“In some ways, they’re irreplaceable, but in others, we’re just going to have to morph and other guys will have to step up,” Hart said. “It’s going to be difficult. They have been a strong group who has been together a long time and to graduate that many will leave it wide open for the underclassmen to step up and create a new identity for the team."
Only one starter, swing player Aidan Morin (5.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 33 assists, 19 steals), will return for the Centaurs.
“It’s going to be a whole new group. I’m hoping the guyswork hard on their development in the offseason, continue to play. We’re going to have to develop more physicality to compete and our basketball skills, too,” Hart said.
It was a long ride to Abbott Tech.
The school is located in Danbury, over two hours away by yellow bus.
“There was definitely some travel involved with it,” Hart said with a chuckle.
But the Centaurs got off the bus relatively well.
Hackett scored 10 of his 16 points in the first quarter and Anderson added eight of his 24.
“Cole gave us a really big lift. That was working well. We had a strong advantage inside,” Hart said.
The problem for the Centaurs, they couldn’t pull away.
Despite the production, Woodstock Academy was only up, 20-18, at the end of the opening stanza.
“They were scoring inside in the first half because we were guarding their 3-point shooters,” Hart said.
At halftime, the Centaurs clung to a 32-30 lead.
But the Wolverines adjusted in the second half and packed it in.
“The outside opened up a little. We just couldn’t get shots from the outside to fall,” Hart said.
Woodstock Academy made just 2-of-17 from beyond the arc.
“It’s a high-risk, high-return shot,” Hart said. “When the 3’s are falling, it can really stretch the defense. We established the inside which opened the outside, but we couldn’t get the 3’s to fall when we needed them to.”
On the other side, the 3-pointers were falling for the Wolverines in the second half.
Woodstock Academy built a little lead which forced Abbott Tech outside.
“They got a little desperate, started shooting 3’s and they started to go in. They were deep 3’s. Well-guarded 3’s. But they got them, developed a little confidence and put a couple of runs on us, which took the wind out of our sails,” Hart said.
The Wolverines made four 3’s in the third quarter.
Abbott Tech sealed the win from the free throw line.
The Wolverines made 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Woodstock Academy only had five attempts in the whole game from the line and made one of those.
“I have to hand it to Abbott Tech. They’re a strong and physical team, shot well, but it was tough to come home with a loss,” Hart said.
Regular season over for boys; 3 honored
The Woodstock Academy boys basketball team ran into a hungry E.O. Smith Panthers squad on Monday at the South Campus gym.
E.O. Smith needed a win to guarantee itself a spot in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division II state tournament and got it with a 51-44 victory.
The Centaurs (10-12 overall) finished the regular season with a 9-11 record.
“There are a lot of wins on our schedule against teams we didn’t play last year,” Hart said. “Given our tough schedule, the guys have fought really hard to earn what they have got. There were a couple of close ones that got away, but, by and large, I think the guys have worked very hard and over achieved. We got into an ECC semifinal against NFA and that would have had to be a near-perfect game for us to win. Given where we’re at in the league, I’m very pleased with our progress and hoping we can make a little run in the Division IV state tournament.”
Division IV is not full of powerhouses and it’s feasible to think that a team, like the Centaurs, who have played a tough schedule over the course of the year could advance in the tournament.
The Centaurs are ranked No. 23 and will have to make the long trek to Danbury to take on 10th-seeded Abbott Tech (14-6) at 6 p.m. on Monday.
"I think we know we could make a run. We’ve worked together a long time, know each other’s strengths and we’re just going to have string those together a little better. We are a resilient and fun group. We’ve met some stiff competition here at the end of the season that has humbled us. We have to stay the course and grind out those possessions a little better,” Hart said.
Three Centaurs were honored on Tuesday at halftime of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I boys basketball tournament championship game at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Chase Anderson was given his award for being named All-ECC first team in Division II. Cole Hackett received honorable mention and was also the Woodstock Academy Scholar-Athlete selection. Aidan Morin received the team's ECC Sportsmanship Award.
It was not an easy finish to the season.
The Centaurs had played E.O. Smith tough in Mansfield, losing in overtime, 81-77, on Feb. 1.
This is a Panthers team that has been getting progressively better during the course of the season.
“They’re very young and they have matured. We got them in their last game of the season so they have grown a lot. They have matured and are very balanced,” Hart said.
Some other issues for the Centaurs.
There was snow in the morning, which led to a delay in school-opening and a power outage resulted in an early dismissal.
A weird day that precipitated a weird game.
Due to that power outage on the North Campus of the school, the Alumni Fieldhouse was not usable.
Thus, the game was played on the South Campus where the Centaurs high school team has rarely practiced and never played.
“We had a hard time finding the iron. It’s a different depth perception. (The gymnasium) is big. It’s open. The rims are a little tight,” Hart said.
The gym was also pretty quiet and the two teams had to create their own energy.
Neither did that too well early on.
The Panthers led only 11-8 at the end of the first quarter and extended that to a 23-15 advantage by halftime.
Anderson, who had a tough day at the ECC semifinals on the Saturday previous, hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the first half, but that was all. Hackett scored four of his six points in the first half.
Anderson hit his remaining five points, he finished with 10, in the third quarter, but the Panthers were still able to extend their lead to double-digits.
Mekhi Hayden scored nine of his 17 points for E.O. Smith in the third quarter.
Woodstock Academy finally caught a little fire in the fourth quarter, put down 17 points and got it to within 10 but not close enough for the win.
Ethan Adams finished with nine points and Morin contributed seven for the Centaurs who get a week off prior to the state tournament.
“It’s difficult to maintain an even keel and a sense of urgency at the same time. I think for us, we do need a little time to heal, rest our legs, and get a fresh start in our last (part of the season), the state tournament. It’s a new season for us. We’re going to take a couple of days off and then get ready for our next opponent,” Hart said.
Centaurs fall in ECC semifinals
Chase Anderson has been the catalyst for the Woodstock Academy boys basketball team all season.
Unfortunately, the Norwich Free Academy Wildcats took him away from the Centaurs on Saturday in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I tournament semifinals at Waterford High School.
As a result, the seventh-seeded Centaurs saw their hopes for an ECC championship game appearance at Mohegan Sun Arena come to an end with a 63-42 loss to third-seeded NFA.
The Wildcats put a box-and-one on Anderson and held him to just one point and just one shot in the game.
“It’s tough because when things go through (Anderson), things go well and it kind of feeds off in other areas. It just clogged us up in the middle. We tried to make some adjustments, some of them worked some times, some of them didn’t. I give credit to my guys. They kept trying, they kept fighting and working hard,” Woodstock Academy coach Marty Hart said.
Xavier Marquez was responsible for much of the work on Anderson who came into the game averaging 19.3 points per game.
“He works hard,” Hart said of Marquez. “He was right there, glued to him, and he did it efficiently and cleanly. He has both strength and speed and he’s pretty savvy.”
The Centaurs (10-11) hung with the Wildcats for the first quarter.
Luke Mathewson hit four of his six points in the game and Cole Hackett added a bucket to keep the Centaurs close at 8-7.
But NFA is also very good from beyond the 3-point arc and it displayed its long-range prowess early.
Nick Hay (20 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with eight first quarter points and Mason Jackson added a trey to put the Wildcats on top at the end of the opening quarter, 13-7.
NFA rained down 3-pointers in the second quarter.
Nolan Molkenthin hit two and both Andrew Gromko and Hay hit one each in a 2:20 time span that expanded NFA’s lead to 27-9.
“We need six guys to cover a team that shoots it that well,” Hart said with a shake of his head. “They have great speed and length. We tried a lot of different combinations, and just had a hard time catching up to them sometimes.”
The Wildcats (16-6) also posed more issues defensively than just against Anderson. Few shots were uncontested and the ball was often doubled.
“It just throws a wrench in the whole system when you can’t get through things fluidly and you want guys to make decisions in quick, real time. (NFA) made a lot of mistakes defensively, but it can correct them with the length of Mason and the speed and athleticism of their other players,” Hart said.
The Wildcats led by 15 at the half and expanded it to 21 by the end of the fourth quarter.
Cole Hackett kept the Centaurs in the game in the second half when he scored 14 of his 18 points in the game.
Woodstock Academy was coming off a strong effort against second-seeded East Lyme in the quarterfinals.
The Centaurs knocked off the Vikings, 56-42, in East Lyme to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.
“We were ecstatic after that win,” Mathewson said. “Everyone was jumping up-and-down in the locker room. We went in as crazy underdogs, just like last year in the ECC tournament (when the Centaurs advanced to the Division II championship game) as the seventh seed having to face the two seed. We just went in, played team basketball, and it worked out in the end.”
The Centaurs played well defensively against the Vikings (14-7) in the middle quarters, holding East Lyme to single-digit scoring.
Woodstock Academy fell behind 12-10 in the first quarter but rallied to take a 22-18 lead at the break.
The Centaurs increased the lead to double digits by the end of the third quarter.
“It was a defensive game. Everyone worked hard together,” Mathewson said. “Late in the third quarter, we went on a solid run to break away.”
Anderson finished with 20 points, four steals and three assists to lead the Centaurs.
Hackett added 12 points and completed as double-double effort with 10 rebounds. Aidan Morin contributed 10 points, three assists and a pair of blocks.
The Centaurs were pretty happy with how the first half went last Tuesday night.
The second half?
Not so much.
As a result, Woodstock Academy fell to the Waterford Lancers, 76-51, at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
The loss meant the Centaurs finished with a 5-3 record in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
The Centaurs fell behind the Lancers in the first quarter on Tuesday.
Waterford (19-1, 8-0 ECC Division II) led only 7-6 after Morin hit a bucket with 3:48 left in the quarter.
But the Lancers rattled off the next seven points, four of them by guard J.J. Brennan (20 points), to take the 14-6 lead.
Aaron Johnson got hot, however, in the second quarter.
The senior guard launched six 3-pointers, the first five went in.
He also scored on a traditional three-point play off the fast break to give him 18 points for the quarter.
“Aaron Johnson gave us a big lift when he got hot. That really picked up the slack. We’re balanced, we try to use all the guys we have where we can use them. I was really pleased with the first half,” Hart said.
The offense got the Centaurs back in range as they trailed only 30-28 at the half and the defense kept them there.
“We had good execution and we were able to locate their shooters,” Hart said.
That same formula did not exist in the second half.
“They turned up the pressure and we didn’t handle it,” Hart said.
The two teams exchanged baskets in the first minute but five turnovers put Woodstock Academy behind the eight ball.
The Lancers turned those miscues into baskets and broke out to a 42-32 lead.
Hart did all he could, calling a trio of time outs to try and stem the tide.
“We handled it a little better (after the first time out), and then it got a little harder, and had to call a couple of more time outs just to try and slow things down. They’re a versatile team, they have a lot of length and speed. I have to credit our guys for fighting hard,” Hart said.
After the Lancers went up by 10, their point guard Kenny Hill (20 points) found the range as well and hit a pair of 3-pointers for Waterford to put them up 12.
The two teams essentially traded baskets the remainder of the way in the third quarter but the Centaurs trailed by 16, 59-43, going into the final period and never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Johnson finished with 25 points and was the only Centaur in double figures.
Anderson was held five points although he did pull down 10 boards.
Anderson was under the weather and had to take frequent breaks in the game.
“He’s a leader for us, a rebounder, a facilitator and then we get scoring from him. When he is under the weather, he still wants to give it all he can, but there just wasn’t gas in the tank. We tested it a couple of times and shut him down early,” Hart said.
The Centaurs are not done with the regular season.
They still have a game with E.O. Smith scheduled for Monday.
“It’s strange,” Hart agreed having a regular season game still to play in the midst of the ECC tournament. “That game got shifted due to weather and then shifted again. It’s in an odd spot, but it’s an out-of-conference game and we’re looking forward to playing it. We had to put it somewhere because it counts toward the (state) tournament. We did the best we could with what we had at the time and it’s tough when weather stacks you up.”
Anderson eclipses 1,000
The nerves didn’t kick in right away.
Woodstock Academy senior Chase Anderson knew he needed 20 points going into the game at Killingly Saturday to become one of the few who have played at the school to score 1,000 points in his career.
“When the first buzzer sounded, I was thinking, ‘Hey, it’s just 20, not much.’ But when I got into the game, it was, emotionally, on my shoulders,” Anderson said.
That monkey on his back would not be shed until the third quarter but Anderson did accomplish his goal. He scored 31 points and not only reached his personal milestone, but led the Centaurs to a 67-50 win over the Redmen.
Anderson was well on his way to 1,000 in the first half.
He scored 12 points but the Centaurs failed to pull away, leading Killingly only 28-26.
The Centaurs (7-7, 4-2 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II) were playing a bit into the Redmen’s hands.
Killingly wanted to keep the pace of the game slower.
“I was concerned, but when we sped it up, they got really aggressive. I decided to back off a little and let them slow it down and see what happens. Fortunately, we were able to close out on some long rebounds and put together a little run,” Woodstock Academy coach Marty Hart said.
The Centaurs went on a 11-6 run to start the third quarter and take a seven-point lead.
The last basket in that run was also the biggest for Anderson on the day.
Anderson put one down just 18 seconds into the second half, added a pair of free throws at the 6:15 mark of the third and two more at 4:07.
His 1,000th career point came with 3:39 left in the third in the easiest of fashion- a nice little layup that was not challenged.
“It was an easy shot,” Anderson said. “Just another play in my book, I don’t really keep track. It was a 1,000, not that many people do it. It’s nice to get into four figures and be on the list.”
That list is a pretty short one at Woodstock Academy.
Anderson is believed to be the fifth player to reach the milestone in school history.
The senior didn’t reach the mark in traditional fashion.
Most high school players who reach 1,000 in their career have a strong freshman year.
Anderson had just six points.
“I picked up the slack in my sophomore year and there were no seniors last year so I got to shine and this year has been going great.
Anderson finished with 326 points and a 14.8 point per game scoring average as a sophomore. He followed that up by averaging 16.4 points per game last season and scoring 393 points. He has 286 points in his first 14 games this season for a 20.4 per game average.
“I was relieved when it happened. It meant we could go back to playing basketball, we went on a nice run and won the game. That’s all that matters,” Anderson said.
Hart presented Anderson with a commemorative ball and a medallion when the game was paused briefly to announce Anderson’s accomplishment.
“I’m thrilled for Chase and our team,” Hart said. “He works hard. He’s a great leader, does a lot of great things for us. He’s a great facilitator, passer, strong rebounder and defender. We’re glad when the ball finds its way to his hands because he puts it in the hole. He sees another guy open, he gets them the ball and helps us score.”
The Centaurs did a good job of getting each other the ball in the second half against Killingly.
The seven-point advatange held through the third quarter.
The Centaurs extended it into double digits midway through the fourth.
Anderson hit a basket to make it 52-41, but a Shayne Bigelow (11 points) 3-pointer for Killingly (5-10, 1-5) cut the deficit to eight.
Woodstock Academy then added another highlight to its day.
Cole Hackett (eight points) went into the lane, but couldn’t get a shot off. Making like a football center, he snapped the ball through his legs to Luke Mathewson who converted the bucket.
“We’ve really upped our ballhandling and passing conditioning. We’re doing zig-zag passing, three-man weave, a lot of continuous motion stuff where you have to be in the right spot for the pass or you won’t be able to keep up with the process,” Hart said.
But the Hackett pass even caught the coach off guard.
“I think he may have a future as a long snapper,” Hart laughed. “I was blocked. I didn’t see it come out, but I knew the only place it could have come out was between his legs.”
Ethan Adams was the only other player in double figures for the Centaurs with 10.
Luke Desaulnier led Killingly with 13.
The win couldn’t have come at a better time for the Centaurs.
On Friday night, they traveled to Mansfield and suffered a heart-breaking 81-77 double overtime loss to the E.O. Smith Panthers.
“It was a very tough loss. We could have closed it out but things didn’t go our way,” Anderson said.
The Centaurs trailed by three in a high-scoring first quarter, 25-22, but took the lead when they held their hosts to just eight second quarter points.
It was a 51-44 Woodstock Academy lead going into the fourth, but E.O. Smith rallied to tie the game.
“We had a little cushion at the end, but they got hot, made some good plays. We had chances, they had chances and we had to go to overtime twice to figure it out,” Hart said.
The two teams each scored six points in the first overtime period, but the Panthers doubled up on the Centaurs in the second, 12-6.
Aaron Johnson paced the Centaurs with 28 points including five 3-pointers.
“He’s a sparkplug,” Hart said. “I keep saying that because he gets us going. Early in the game, they zoned us and the ball found his hands and it found the hoop really nicely,” Hart said.
Johnson had 14 of his points, including four of his 3-pointers, in the first half.
Anderson added 13 of his 23 points in the second half and Hackett tossed in 18 in the loss.
Hart was just happy the team didn’t have long to think about the loss.
“If we didn’t win (Saturday’s) game, they start to stack up, but we played the right way and came away with the ‘W’ (against Killingly). It was good to put E.O. Smith behind us. After a double overtime loss, the best thing you can do is play right away. I didn’t want to be on a bus again (at 9:30 a.m. Saturday), but we were,” Hart said.
Last Tuesday, the Centaurs made 15-of-27 shots in the first half to bolt out to a 20-point lead at the break and cruised to an 83-52 win over the Bacon Academy Bobcats at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
Chase Anderson led the Centaurs with 24 points while Johnson and Mathewson had 12 each.