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6th Grade Boys Black Captures A Division Championship
Banging their way through a wild playoff ride, the New Canaan Black...
Summer Basketball Camps with Varsity Coaches
Coach Melzer and Coach Palmer will be running their youth basketball camp this summer,...
6th Grade Boys Black Captures A Division Championship

Banging their way through a wild playoff ride, the New Canaan Black 6th Grade boys team captured the FCBL A Division Championship with a hard fought 51 – 46 victory over Mt. Vernon Saturday afternoon at Ridgefield High School.

The Rams had a tough road to the Championship, playing three outstanding teams in the playoffs.  In the quarterfinals, the Rams had to travel to Torrington CT to play an AAU team from Springfield Mass, the ECBO Running Rebels.  The Rebels, who only lost one game all year, were a very tough and complete team, with excellent guards, as well as a big and strong front line.  ECBO jumped on the Rams, quickly taking a 7-0 lead.  The Rams took a time-out and made some adjustments, and the boys responded, grinding their way back into the game.  With 4 minutes to go, the Rams were down 5, and went on a run, executing their offense and playing lock down defense.  It was a one point game with 1:33 to go, but the Rams, lead by Gio Cascione and Matt Salmini, hit all of their free throws and refused to give up any more points, walking away with a 63-56 victory.  Assistant Coach Ed Huydic commented, “ECBO is an excellent team, and well coached.  Our bigs…Gio Cascione, Ty Groff, Trey Hartnett, Matt Salmini, Andrew Rittenberry, and Jacob Dowdle, fought tooth and nail over every rebound, and our guards…EJ Crawford, Blake Wilson, Danny Rogers, Jerome Roscoe, and Hunter Nelson handled their pressure.  In the end Crawford’s shooting and Wilson’s athleticism really helped us, and we got a big lift from our bigs hitting our free throws down the stretch.  It was a refuse to lose mentality”. The Rams were led by Crawford with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists; Blake Wilson with 12 points and 4 assists; Ty Groff with 7 points and 14 rebounds, and Trey Hartnett with 9 points.  

Next up for the Rams was Westport PAL, who had not lost a game all year.  Over the last two years, Westport has been the Rams nemesis, beating them four times by a combined 10 points, including a heartbreaker in last year's playoff semi-finals.  In that game, the Rams had a one point lead when Westport’s outstanding shooting guard Gavin Murphy swished a 25 foot 3 point jumper to give Westport a two point victory.  Westport went on to win the Championship by 44 points in the Final.  Over the last 2 years, Westport has lost just one game.  Needless to say, the Rams had their hands full.  The game was, as all of the games between these two fierce rivals, back and forth, with Westport taking a lead, then the Rams fighting back.  Neither team was able to go up by more than 5.  With 3 minutes to go, Westport had a five point lead, and the Rams took a time-out. Westport was putting a lot of pressure on the Rams outstanding guard duo of EJ Crawford and Blake Wilson, so the guards drew the double team and dumped the ball down low to the Rams front line, where Cascione, Salmini, Trey Hartnett and Ty Groff did the rest, making big shots and hitting free throws.  The Rams again played lock-down defense, scoring the last 10 points of the game, and emerging with a 48-43 win. Assistant Coach Ike Groff noted that…”while Crawford and Wilson did a lot of the scoring, it was the little things that don’t go in the box score that won the game….our bigs set great screens, grabbed rebounds, played great defense.  Westport is a great shooting team, and we were able to shut them down at the end of the game, then hit our free throws”.  Leading the way for the Rams was Crawford with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists; Wilson contributed 12 points and 4 assists; Cascione had 10 points and 5 rebounds; and Groff pulled down 8 rebounds. 

In the Finals, the Rams squared off against Mt. Vernon, a program steeped in a rich basketball tradition, having sent many players to Division I college programs, and some to the NBA.  Mt Vernon had a huge size advantage over the Rams, and combined with excellent guard play, presented a formidable opponent.  As in the ECBO game, the Rams fell behind early, trailing 12-3 after 4 minutes.  The Rams called a time-out to make some adjustments, and went on an 8-0 run to pull within one.  The game settled into a back and forth affair, with Mt. Vernon holding a slim margin as the two teams battled intensely.  It was a great atmosphere in the packed Ridgefield gym.  New Canaan took a time-out with 3 minutes to go, trailing by 5.  In what has become their signature, the Rams tightened up on defense, and executed on offense.  Point guard Crawford got hot, hitting 2 three’s and going 6 for 6 from the line as Mt. Vernon had to foul.  Cascione also hit two big free throws, and the Rams pulled out a hard fought 51 – 46 victory to win New Canaan’s first A level Championship in seven years. Head Coach Fred Crawford summed up the game as follows; “I’m tempted to use the analogy of David and Goliath….they were so much bigger than us, but we scraped and battled and found a way.  Wilson and Crawford handled their constant pressure, Cascione and Groff fought down low every trip, EJ and Cascione hit huge free throws down the stretch.  And, Andrew Rittenberry gave us a huge lift off the bench, grabbing key rebounds, hitting big shots, and making great passes.  What a game he had.”  The Rams were led by Crawford with 19 points 5 rebounds and 4 assists; Wilson with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists; Groff with 10 points and 13 rebounds; and Andrew Rittenberry with 6 points and 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.

This year the Rams went 30 – 4, beating out 62 teams to win the Milford pre-season Championship, winning the Bristol Holiday tournament, and culminating the season with the FCBL Championship.  Coach Crawford commented, “This is a team in every sense of the word.  They work hard, and most importantly they look after each other and help each other every day to get better.  That says a lot about them and their families.  Our practices are often harder than our games, they compete so hard.  We are very proud of them”.  Congratulations to the team; Gio Cascione, Ethan Crawford, Jacob Dowdle, Ty Groff, Trey Hartnett, Hunter Nelson, Matt Salmini, Andrew Rittenberry, Danny Rogers, Jerome Roscoe, and Blake Wilson.

by posted 03/14/2017
Summer Basketball Camps with Varsity Coaches

Coach Melzer and Coach Palmer will be running their youth basketball camp this summer, starting right when school lets out. The camp is for boys and girls entering grades 3-9.

The camp, which runs from 9am-1pm daily, features two sets of games per day, plus intense drilling in between. Campers can expect guest speakers, a new basketball and current NCHS high school players, local elite players and college players as counselors (Males and Females). 

The weeks of camp are:

June 19-23
June 26-30
July 5-7
July 10-13

Coach Melzer and Coach Palmer

by posted 02/21/2017
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