Hands down, the Boys Basketball Player of the Year category generated the most angst in the Best of the Bunch series.
On any given night, if you had only one ticket, and all the games started at 7 p.m., who would you go see play?
Vincent Martinez and the Maloney Spartans? Jack McDonnell and the Sheehan Titans? Ty Voisine and the Lyman Hall Trojans?
You’d definitely get a good show no matter what the choice. You’d definitely also miss out two times over.
Voisine and the Trojans (12-2) went out as the last team standing. They won the SCC Division II regular-season title and its first-ever postseason tournament.
Maloney (13-1) ran the table in CCC Region D and advanced to the CCC Championship Bracket tournament, losing a quarterfinal heartbreaker to East Hartford with conference titans East Catholic and Northwest Catholic looming on the horizon.
As for the Sheehan Titans (4-9), they were not as strong as they usually are, but they still had Jack, the four-year varsity player who went out among the leading scorers in program history with 1,181 career points.
His head coach, Joe Gaetano, believes McDonnell would have been No. 1 on the Sheehan list if he had a full senior season, rather than the pandemic-shortered campaign Connecticut cagers got instead.
Gaetano said that with some skin in the game. His oldest son, Joe Gaetano Jr., is tops at Sheehan with 1,320 points and would have been the guy McDonnell displaced.
We’ll never know. With the winter season not starting until February and with no state tournament, basketball teams played what amounted to half a season.
McDonnell made the most of it, averaging an area-high 21.23 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds a game.
A three-time All-Record-Journal selection and All-State as a senior, McDonnell will continue playing at Suffolk University in Boston.
Like McDonnell, Martinez was also a three-time All-RJ player. Like McDonnell, he was a 1,000-point scorer.
Martinez ran the show at point guard for Maloney for three seasons and became the 11th player in program history to go over 1,000 points when he popped a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the season finale against Middletown.
Martinez put up 20 points or more in his final nine games and finished second to McDonnell in area scoring with a 20.5 average.
Voisine, Lyman Hall’s point guard, who is going on to play at Curry College, averaged a team-high 16 points, 4.5 steals and 3.5 assists.
He was named Most Outstanding Player of the SCC Division II Tournament, which Lyman Hall closed out by beating East Haven by a signature score of 32-26.
The Trojans allowed just 38.26 points a game for the season. It’s said defense wins championships. This winter, it most certainly did.