It's no secret that Daniel Garvin has played a huge role in the Bethel High boys basketball team's success this season.
But one player, no matter how good he is, cannot win the South-West Conference title by himself. Not even Garvin, the 6-foot-6, Bryant University-bound senior.
In their 58-40 victory over seventh-seeded Weston on Saturday in the SWC quarterfinals, the second-seeded Wildcats showed that they have depth and balance to complement their superstar Division-I recruit.
And that makes Bethel a tough matchup for anyone in the conference.
Six different Wildcats scored in the first quarter alone on Saturday, as Bethel opened an 18-point halftime lead and weathered a bit of a third-quarter drought. The Wildcats finished strong and recorded their first tournament win in the 18-year history of the conference.
"We're excited, but we can't get too excited because we're trying to win this tournament and we need to keep going and take each game one at a time," Garvin said.
Bethel will face third-seeded Notre Dame in the semifinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Newtown High.
The Wildcats certainly recognize the importance of Garvin's supporting cast this postseason.
"Our point guard (Frankie Magrone) had some really nice pushes and some buckets early, (Matt Liquori) did a good job distributing the ball and obviously (Carson Duffy) hit some big shots," Bethel coach Ray Turek said. "We know that if we want to advance in this tournament, it can't just be about Danny."
Garvin had a tremendous game for Bethel, recording 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Thanks to a 14-6 third-quarter run, Weston closed the gap to 38-28 to start the fourth quarter. On several occasions early in the final stanza, the Trojans got it to within eight. What had been a Wildcat rout was suddenly close -- until Garvin took over, that is.
Garvin scored nine points in a little more than two minutes down the stretch to seal the deal. With about two minutes remaining and Bethel leading by 12, Garvin corralled a defensive rebound and, on the other end of the floor, sank a basket, drew a foul and hit the subsequent foul shot to put the game out of reach.
"He's a talented young man," Weston coach Jamaal Gibbs said. "With his length, more than anything, on the defensive end, he changes shots. And even offensively, being able to step out on the wing and handle the ball, then go down low and go to the post, that's tough to simulate in practice."
Duffy added 14 points for Bethel, including four 3-pointers. Liquori had eight points and seven rebounds, and Magrone added nine points.
"Our team is defend, rebound, run," Duffy said. "So, if we're not rebounding well, that's when they start coming back."
Pascal Arvoy had seven points and 13 rebounds for Weston. Charlie DiPasquale had 11 points, including three 3-pointers, Asher Lee-Tyson had 10 points and Ethan Lee-Tyson added four rebounds and four assists. The early deficit proved too big for the Trojans to overcome, however.
"If you're not ready to compete against anybody, you'll get hammered," Gibbs said. "That's definitely what happened today."
Gibbs took over the Trojans' head coaching job after previous coach Mike Hvizdo resigned on Feb. 6 amid controversy surrounding his role in the 2003 film "Forbidden Fruit," a nine-minute, black-and-white film which the Weston High School administration said was inappropriate and compromised his position as head coach in a letter mailed to parents on Feb. 10.
Gibbs declined to comment on the situation involving Hvizdo.
BETHEL 58, WESTON 40
Asher Lee-Tyson 3 2-2 10; Ethan Lee-Tyson 0 0-0 0; Charlie DiPasquale 4 0-0 11; Grant Limone 2 0-0 4; Troy Flynn 0 0-0 0; Pascal Arvoy 3 1-2 7; Erik Dammen-Brower 2 1-2 5; Matt Folger 0 1-2 1; Matt Gorman 1 0-0 2; Julian Bombart 0 0-0 0; Jordan Schaffer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 5-8 40.
Frankie Magrone 3 3-4 9; James Jerolimo 1 0-0 3; Carson Duffy 5 0-0 14; Griffin Teed 0 0-0 0; Peter Serencsics 1 0-0 2; Daniel Garvin 5 7-7 17; Calvin Daniels 2 0-1 5; Matt Liquori 3 2-2 8; Ian Melvin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 12-14 58.
WESTON 9 5 14 12 -- 40
BETHEL 16 16 6 20 -- 58
3-pointers: W--DiPasquale 3, A. Lee-Tyson 2; B--Duffy 4, Daniels, Jerolimo.