As the turnovers were mounting for Weston High on Tuesday, Enfield's 3-pointers were swishing through the basket. A 15-point lead that seemed safe at one point for the Trojans was disappearing fast, and coach Mike Hvizdo needed something to save the season.
He turned to his one and only senior, Charlie DiPasquale.
DiPasquale, burdened by early foul trouble, answered the call. The 6-foot-2 guard scored 17 of his 22 points in the final seven minutes, propelling No. 23 Weston to a 53-47 victory over Enfield in the Class M state semifinals at Wilbur Cross in New Haven.
"Charlie got into foul trouble and had to sit, but not once did he get down," Hvizdo said. "That's a true leader."
DiPasquale's late-game heroics helped lift Weston into the M state championship game. The Trojans (14-11) will face No. 5 Valley Regional (22-2) on Friday at 8 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. Valley Regional, which won the Class S state title in 2011, knocked off No. 9 Bloomfield 58-51 on Tuesday.
No. 6 Enfield ended its season at 21-5.
After getting called for two early fouls, and then two more early in the third quarter, DiPasquale played less than half of the game's first 24 minutes. The Trojans, who led 28-13 two minutes into the third quarter, saw their lead shrink to just six points (31-25) with seven minutes left. The Trojans, who committed 24 turnovers, including 11 in the first nine minutes of the second half, were on the ropes.
Combine that rash of turnovers with some hot shooting by Enfield -- made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter -- and it spelled potential disaster. But DiPasquale calmly sank 11 consecutive free throws and made three key buckets to thwart the Raiders' comeback.
"I felt that as the only senior, this year was my time and I needed to step up," DiPasquale said. "It was frustrating because I spent most of the game on the bench. This was the most amazing thing that has happened in my life."
After hitting two free throws to make it 33-25 with 6:57 left, DiPasquale was fouled taking a trey. He hit all three free throws to build an 11-point lead. He scored 15 of Weston's 16 points during the run to make it 47-39 with 1:56 left.
DiPasquale's performance helped offset Enfield's Paul Lima's hot hand. Lima had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, making three treys.
"I knew it was going to be a tough matchup because Enfield is so small and quick," Hvizdo said. "I'm just so grateful for this. You can't knock us down, no matter what happened in the last month."
Hvizdo was referring to his resignation on Feb. 6 for his role in a short film "Forbidden Fruit," which school administrators deemed "inappropriate and comprised his position as head coach of the Trojans."
Hvizdo, however, was reinstated on March 1, prior to Weston's M state tournament opener. The Trojans have reeled off four straight victories since then.
Emery Filmer is a freelance writer
WESTON 53, ENFIELD 47
Ethan Lee-Tyson 0 1-2 1 Asher Lee-Tyson 4 3-8 15 Charlie DiPasquale 5 11-13 22 Grant Limone 2 2-6 6 Pascal Arvoy 1 3-4 5 Troy Flynn 1 1-2 4 Erik Dammen-Brower 0 0-0 0 Matthew Folger 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 21-35 53.
Salvadore Spadaro 1 0-0 3 Michael Crowley 0 2-4 2 Joshua Gaines 2 1-4 6 Paul Lima 7 3-3 22 Kevin Camidge 0 0-6 0 Rachone Preston 4 1-2 9 Tom Meskell 2 1-2 5 Joe Linehan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 8-21 47.
WESTON 9 15 7 22 -- 53
ENFIELD 8 5 9 25 -- 47
3-pointers: W -- A. Lee-Tyson 4, DiPasquale, Flynn; E -- Lima 5, Spadaro, Gaines.