MILFORD — In a battle of top seeds, No. 2 Wilcox Tech fell to No. 1 Prince Tech in the inaugural Connecticut Technical Conference boys basketball championship game, 69-58, on Monday night on the neutral floor of Platt Tech.
The Indians were in it early. They were trailing by only 17-10 after the first quarter before things turned Prince’s way when Delshawn Jackson Jr. got going.
Jackson finished with a game-high 30 points and was the driving force for the Falcons (21-2) from start to finish.
While the Falcon and Indians did not meet during the regular season, Wilcox head coach Randy Farkas knew what his team was up against in Jackson well before the game started. The Falcons knocked the Indians out of last year’s state tournament.
“We’ve seen him the past few years and he just keeps getting better and better,” said Farkas. “They’ve played a really tremendous schedule and we knew how strong they were.”
Despite trailing 42-22 at the half, Wilcox (20-3) didn’t show any signs of quit. The Indians, in fact, won the second half by nine.
D.J. Ransom was a bright spot for the Indians, finishing with 16 points.
Ransom played well, but was visibly upset after Jackson hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer right before halftime. Farkas did his best to calm down Ransom and the rest of the team going into the locker room at half down 20.
“We weren’t trying to match what they were doing,” said Farkas. “They have guys playing above the rim and dunking on us. We weren’t trying to match that. The key was hitting shots and we missed a lot of shots in the first half.”
Will Pawlik put up a team-high 18 points for the Indians. Bryce McClendon scored nine points and Derek Strillacci added seven.
It was a disappointing night for the Indians and no individual performance is going to satisfy Wilcox, but Farkas was impressed with the way his team competed and thought Prince Tech was a good measuring stick for his team.
“Playing a team like Prince right before the state tournament helps us a lot,” said Farkas. “Playing a tough team like this is only going to make us better for states.”
Wilcox is the No. 3 seed in the CIAC Division IV Tournament. The Indians will host the winner of Tuesday night’s first-round matchup between No. 14 Griswold and No. 19 Bacon Academy in the second round on Thursday night.
Wilcox will next play in the state tournament against an undecided opponent.