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Hearst Connecticut midseason boys basketball report

Updated 11:55 am, Friday, January 25, 2013

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  • Abbott Tech's Brandon Henry drilves to the basket while under pressure from a leaping Cooper Brown, of Joel Barlow, during their game in the first round of The News-Times Greater Danbury Tip-Off Classic at the Danbury War Memorial on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Joel Barlow advanced to the next round beating Abbott Tech, 67-49. Photo: Jason Rearick / The News-Times
    Abbott Tech's Brandon Henry drilves to the basket while under pressure from a leaping Cooper Brown, of Joel Barlow, during their game in the first round of The News-Times Greater Danbury Tip-Off Classic at the Danbury War Memorial on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Joel Barlow advanced to the next round beating Abbott Tech, 67-49. Photo: Jason Rearick

 

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Who have been the region's top players and best teams from the first half of hoops season? Our staff breaks it down.

Top individual performances

Shadrac Casimir, Trinity Catholic: 50 points including game-tying 3s to end regulation and the first overtime in Trinity's 89-81 double-overtime victory over Greenwich Dec. 14. -- Scott Ericson

Dan Upchurch, ND-Fairfield: Scored 39 points -- hitting five 3-pointers -- and added six assists and three steals in the Lancers' 73-69 win over University on Dec. 22. -- Pat Pickens

Schadrac Casimir, Trinity Catholic: The FCIAC's leading scorer, erupted for 50 points in an 89-81 double overtime win over Greenwich on Dec. 14. -- Dave Ruden

James Frusciante, Staples: With his teammates unable to buy a basket, the senior guard nearly willed Staples to victory, scoring 26 points in a 32-30 loss to Fairfield Ludlowe on Jan. 10. -- Doug Bonjour

Brandon Henry, Abbott Tech: Scored scored 28 points -- including an 11-for-14 effort from the foul line -- and added six assists in a 56-50 overtime win over O'Brien Tech on Jan. 14. -- Rich Gregory

Daniel Garvin, Bethel: Scored 25 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and pulled down a season-high 23 boards as the Wildcats used a 20-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to beat Immaculate 63-53 on Jan. 18. -- Chris Brodeur

Paschal Chukwu, Fairfield Prep: It's hard to top, statistically, Chukwu on Jan. 11 at the Webster Bank Arena against Hamden. The junior 7-footer racked up a triple-double on 10 points, 15 rebounds and an astounding 13 blocks. These were legit rejections as Chukwu basically swatted anything and everything away from him. I covered Emeka Okafor, a player known for shot-blocking at UConn, Chukwu's performance, albeit against an undersized team, was as impressive as anything from a defensive standpoint as the ex-Husky great. -- Mike Cardillo

Roy Kane Jr., Norwalk: Posted a triple-double -- 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks -- in a 59-54 win over intra-city rival McMahaon on Dec. 14. -- Cameron Martin

Top Games:

ND-Fairfield 70, Fairfield Warde 62 (OT), Dec. 27: The Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic's opener was a barnburner. Warde's Max Garrett led all scorers with 28 points, helping the upstart Mustangs force overtime. But Dan Upchurch, and ND's youngsters -- sophomore CJ Davidson and freshman Jesse McIntosh -- led the Lancers to the Christmas tournament final. -- Pickens

Trinity 89, Greenwich 81, Dec. 14: Double-overtime thriller saw Shadric Casimir of the Crusaders score 50 points, hit a 3 at the buzzer to tie the game in regulation and another to tie it with seconds left in the first overtime. -- Ericson

Bethel 58, Newtown 57, Jan. 4: Daniel Garvin had 25 points and 18 rebounds and sank the two game-winning two foul shots with 2.8 seconds remaining. -- Gregory

St. Joseph 87, Trinity Catholic 85 (OT), January 15: The Cadets rallied from a 5-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and overtime in another classic battle between the FCIAC's top two rivals. This likely will still be the game of the year two months from now. -- Ruden

Norwalk 84, Staples 75 OT: Staples guard Peter Rankowitz drained an NBA-range 3-pointer -- one that his coach, Colin Devine, later called "one of the best shots in Staples' history" -- with two seconds left to force overtime. Norwalk, however, had plenty of offense of its own. Guard Jabari Dear put the Bears ahead for good, scoring six of his game-high 28 points in overtime. -- Bonjour

ND-Fairfield 73, Bunnell 72, Jan. 19: Was impressive in a lot of ways, namely the finish. Bunnell was up a point, inbounding the ball with five seconds left. Jaylen Jennings stole the ball, was fouled and made both free throws capping a high-level game, which saw Bunnell almost erase a 13-point halftime deficit. Two of the SWC's best shone in this one with Notre Dame's Danny Upchurch scoring 25 and Bunnell's Issac Vann going for 26. -- Cardillo

St. Joseph's 87, Trinity 85, Jan. 15: The latest chapter in the storied rivalry had all the ingredients -- a comeback in overtime as St. Joseph scored the last five points and took the lead, and a last-second shot to tie or win the game that was missed by Trinity's Schadrac Casimir. -- Martin

New Fairfield 47, Weston 46, Jan 4: With New Fairfield trailing by one, Anthony Cammarota (25 points) raced the length of the floor in 6.5 seconds and sank a layup at the buzzer to win it. -- Brodeur

Second-half outlook

1. Trinity will win the FCIAC title in a classic game with St. Joseph. Ridgefield will fall in the FCIACs but make a deep run in Class LL. -- Ericson

2. Expect ND-Fairfield and Bethel to meet at least twice as both vie for the Class M and SWC crowns. Look for Prep and Hillhouse to lock horns on three more occasions, as the Jesuits and Academics strive for the SCC and Class LL titles. -- Pickens

3. More unpredictably in an FCIAC season in which Wilton has already defeated St. Joseph, New Canaan has stunned Bassick and Westhill is the last remaining unbeaten team in conference play. There has never been greater parity in recent memory. -- Ruden

4. Expect Staples to grab one of the final spots in the FCIAC playoffs. But with a lack of depth, the Wreckers will have a tough time advancing beyond the quarterfinals. -- Bonjour

5. For me the biggest thing to watch is if anybody in the region has what it takes to mount a state title run. There seems to be a lot of very good teams around, but is there a great one out there capable of playing under the bright lights of the Mohegan Sun Arena? -- Cardillo

6. Expect Norwalk's well-balanced attack -- led by Roy Kane Jr., Jabari Dear and Saeed Soulemane -- to come together for a strong postseason, both in the FCIAC and the state tournament. -- Martin

7. Daniel Garvin will lead Bethel to a South-West Conference title before heading off to Division I Bryant next year. -- Brodeur

8. Streaky Danbury well turn red-hot in February and clinch a spot in the FCIAC playoffs. -- Gregory