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Week 8: Centaurs come up with nice win over rival

Woodstock Academy coach Donte Adams knew he had to accomplish one thing; keep Killingly senior Yianni Baribeau off balance.

To accomplish that, the defense was going to have to step up.

Baribeau scored 17 points in the first quarter alone in the meeting between the two teams at Killingly earlier in the season.

The plan was to keep switching defenses and keep Killingly, and most of all Baribeau, guessing.

It worked to perfection.

On Wednesday, Baribeau finished with 10 points.

As a result, it was the Centaurs who walked off their home floor with a 40-30 win.

“Defense was key,” Adams said. “Everyone was locked in from the bench to the five on the floor. Yianni is a great player and we had to switch it up. We showed them different looks and made them think when the ball was in their hands. That was big and the guys committed to the defensive end and came up with the ‘W’.”

Baribeau had eight of his points in the first half and then, saddled with a bit of foul trouble, scored only two in the second half, on 1-for-8 shooting.

“We keyed in on him and just wanted to make sure he didn’t get as many points as last time. We followed him everywhere and denied him to make sure he didn’t get the ball in the first place,” senior Brandon Nagle said.

The Centaurs led by only a point at the end of the third quarter, but rained a trio of 3-pointers, two by Garrett Bushey, down on Killingly to start the second quarter.

It helped Woodstock Academy build a double-digit lead, 21-11, in the first five minutes of the quarter and it maintained it for the most part.

A basket by James D’Alleva-Bochain off a nice feed by Hunter Larson had the Centaurs in front, 26-17, at the half.

Both teams experienced a very quiet third quarter with Woodstock Academy getting a sole bucket, a 3-pointer from Larson (14 points), and Killingly getting a pair of treys from Johnny Kazantis who led the visitors with 14 points.

“Hunter had an amazing game. He was really happy about it and I’m really happy for him,” Nagle said.

Then, it was Nagle’s turn.

The Woodstock Academy senior saved the best for last.

He hadn’t hit a bucket before the fourth quarter but had seven points, including a 3-pointer, to keep Killingly at bay.

“I was just waiting for my turn to find my shot and I focused on the fourth quarter when we needed it the most,” Nagle said.

The win was also pretty badly needed.

“It felt really good. We really needed this one. We had it circled after we lost to them and we really wanted it,” Nagle said.

The win raised the Centaurs record to 4-11.

They still have a shot to make the state tournament but it’s a tough road.

To get to eight wins, they can only afford to lose one of their last five games.

But while a state tournament berth is always a goal, improvement as the season goes on is even more important.

“Every ‘W’ matters,” Adams said. “It’s not the season we wanted but it was big win to keep building. We got one, got two next week and hope to build from there and then, let the rest of the season play out.”

The win came in the first back-to-back games that the Centaurs had to play this season.

They hosted St. Bernard the day before.

The Saints came into the Alumni Fieldhouse as winners of their previous six contests and showed why.

They opened an 11-point lead at the half and doubled that in the first six minutes of the third quarter to post a 63-35 win over the Centaurs.

“It’s good to have that quick turnaround because St. Bernard was a tough team,” Adams said. “The Saints are really good. My guys came in and competed. It just didn’t fall in our favor.”

Carter Morissette and Bushey each finished with nine points to lead Woodstock Academy.

Nagle added seven points and seven rebounds and James D'Alleva-Bochain had eight boards.

Amare Marshall led St. Bernard with 14 points while Alex Johnson added 11.