Conard defeated Hall in the second match-up of West Hartford’s crosstown rivals.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford’s high school varsity boys and girls basketball teams met in a packed gym at Conard High School for a rare Saturday doubleheader on Feb. 13, as the Conard boys defeated the Hall boys 46-42 in a nailbiter to sweep this season’s series.
“It feels really good, especially since it hasn’t been done in a few years,” said Conard’s top scorer Aidan Maloney of the sweep. He ended the game with 20 points after a strong second half.
“I’m happy that he was resilient when he wasn’t making shots in the first half,” Conard head coach Jared Leghorn said of Maloney. “What got him going in the second half is he gave good looks,” Leghorn said.
Hall led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, and the teams went to the locker room at the half with the Warriors still ahead, leading 25-17.
With just over a minute left in the third quarter, Conard took the lead for the first time on a three-pointer by Maloney, and at the end of the third the Chieftains led 35-34.
The atmosphere in the gym was intense as the lead changed several times. With just under 1:30 left in the game, Conard senior Mark Emile nailed a three-pointer, giving Conard a 43-41 lead.
Hall’s Daniel Brocke was fouled, made the first shot and missed the second. Hall grabbed the rebound, but turned it over.
With just under 30 seconds left in the game, Maloney made the second of two free throws and Conard was up 44-42. Maloney had another shot at the foul line after being fouled by Hall’s Ricquon Tyson, and made the first but missed the second.
With less than 10 seconds left, Hall shot a three-pointer but missed. Conard’s Kevin Puleo raced down the court toward the basket, was fouled, and made the first of two shots.
The game ended with a 46-42 victory for the Chieftains. Conard also beat Hall in the first meeting between the teams this season, 53-50, on Jan. 25.
“I thought they played great, tough environment,” said Hall head coach Bryan Moretti after the game. “They hit some good shots down the stretch.” Brocke was Hall’s lead scorer with 12 points.
Better defense and shots going in made the difference in the second half, Leghorn said.
Leghorn said he doesn’t point to anything that went wrong this season. “For a 4-14 team we’ve got a group of guys that show up every day … they work hard, they’ve got each others’ back. We’re building a good culture,” Leghorn said.
“It was a good win by Conard. I’m proud of my guys’ effort,” said Moretti.
Both Hall (5-13) and Conard (4-14) have two more games left to play.
Following the boys game, the Conard girls topped the Hall girls. Click here for details.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!