BOYS BASKETBALL: Wilcox Tech falls to hot-shooting O’Brien in CTC Nutmeg final

ANSONIA — No. 1 seeded O’Brien Tech used a pair of 15-0 runs in the second and third quarters to defeat No. 2 Wilcox Tech 49-35 in the CTC Nutmeg Division boys basketball championship game on Tuesday night.

Wilcox Tech led 13-10 in the opening minutes of the second quarter before O’Brien ripped off what added up to a 37-8 run for the remainder of the second quarter and the entire third quarter to put this one away.

The O’Brien dominance lasted for 13:57 of game time.

“It hurts to go out like this,” Wilcox senior Isaiah Thomas said. “We all could have done better, including myself. I’m going to remember this if I ever play in the future because I don’t want to feel like this again.”

O’Brien Tech, now 7-0, will face Charter Oak champ Prince Tech in the overall CTC final on Thursday in Hartford. The Falcons have won the CTC Tournament title in each of the three years of its existence since the state’s tech schools reformed the Connecticut Technical Conference.

The Condors entered the postseason with a 5-0 record after spending the first two weeks of the regular season in quarantine.

“I’ve been coach here for seven years and this is the first time we’ve beaten Wilcox,” O’Brien coach Craig Behun said. “I have a lot of respect for Coach (Randy) Farkas.

“Luckily, we had a lot good film on them. They have some really good players, with Carlos (Cintron) on the inside, and Isaiah is a great scorer, and they had a cold night and we shot as well as we shot all year.”

O’Brien Tech led 25-17 at the half, powered by a 15-0 run that included a trio of treys by Mekhi McNeil, who hit four times in all from behind the arc for 12 points.

The home team’s uprising spanned 5:07 of the second quarter. The Indians were 1-for-12 for the quarter before Tadrique Jones (8 points) ended the Condors’ streak with a pair of layups in the final 23 seconds. The first was a putback and the second was a steal and a layup.

Both teams used pressure in the first quarter and both backed off the pressure in the second quarter.

The third quarter was all O’Brien. The Condors outscored Wilcox 22-4 in the frame and ended the quarter on a 15-0 spurt highlighted by back-to-back treys from Stuart Vargas (8 points) and Jamesyn Brothers (13).

“We are thrilled to get out of here against a team we have a ton of respect for,” Behun said. “We went back and looked at last year’s stats against Wilcox and we shot a combined 5-for-42 in two games. We also had 25 turnovers. Tonight, we limited turnovers and made shots.”

Farkas said he gives O’Brien credit.

“There was a quarter there where they didn’t miss a thing,” Farkas said. “They got hot and we missed a lot of baskets at the rim and couldn’t hit anything outside. We went cold and they took a bigger lead on us.

“We just couldn’t score, but defensively I thought we did great holding them to 49 points.”

Cintron (10 points) started the game with pair of buckets in the paint. O’Brien countered with a pair of 3-pointers after missing its first five shots.

The CTC foes exchanged baskets in more than five minutes of continuous play without a whistle. The mask break was called with 13 seconds left in the quarter. The Indians led 11-10 after one stanza.

A drive by Thomas (12 points) put the Indians up 13-10 to start the second quarter, then the Condors went on their run and led by as many as 25-13 before Jones finally struck late in the half for the Tribe.

“O’Brien played tough, and when they are shooting the ball like that, it’s hard to beat,” Farkas said. 

Wilcox Tech’s season ends at 11-4.

Cintron said he will look back at this season as unfinished business.

“I wanted to play Prince in the championship; I felt we had a shot at beating them,” Cintron said. “I didn’t want to go out like this.”

“I thought we had a great season,” Farkas added. “The kids played great all year and had non-stop hustle. I can’t complain. The hustle was there tonight. I though Carlos and Isaiah were great this year. To lose in the division championship hurts. Those guys are hurting, but I’m proud of them.”

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