A pep rally was held along Hartwell Road for West Hartford’s Hall High School boys basketball team, prior to their game against Farmington High School in the CCC Bracket 2 boys basketball tournament.
By Ted Glanzer
The Farmington High boys basketball team’s Central Connecticut Bracket 2 tournament title doesn’t carry the luster, perhaps, of the state Class M title the newly-christened River Hawks won back in 2019.
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less special, particularly given the challenges and uncertainties this season carried.
The River Hawks (Farmington’s new mascot, which was announced on March 26) defeated Hall High 58-45 at Farmington High on March 26 in the Bracket 2 championship game.
Farmington guard Jacob Smith led all scorers with 22 points, while Christian Harris added 11 and Nick Duncan had eight points in the victory.
Makyle Ramose had nine points, and Beau Adams had eight for Hall.
Farmington (10-4) was able to use its height advantage to jump out to a 10-2 lead with 5:17 in the first quarter.
“We were very tight in the first half,” Hall head coach Bryan Moretti said. “I knew going in we had to make shots. And we’ve been making shots. The first half we were very cold.”
Hall (8-7) never got closer than six points the rest of the way, with the River Hawks’ advantage swelling to 21 points, 38-17, with 5:48 left in the third quarter.
“We’ve had that size advantage in almost every game this year,” Farmington head coach Jeff Daddio said. “We knew what we were going to get from Hall, they’re really committed to defense. And defense is our strong suit, too, so we were expecting a defensive battle.”
Trailing by a large margin, Hall began to press to get back into the game, and managed to whittle the River Hawks’ lead to 11, 46-35, with the ball with 7:14 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Warriors couldn’t work the deficit down to single digits, with Farmington able to break the press time and again.
Smith scored six consecutive points to build the River Hawks’ advantage back to 16, 52-35. The Warriors never seriously challenged after that.
“Jacob is that guy – he’s an all-timer,” Daddio said. “What he did this year and what he’s done throughout his career is just incredible. I can’t say enough about his performance.”
Hall was left with the consolation of playing for a title on the last day of the season as the Warriors bade farewell to seven seniors.
“I’m just proud of their maturity; they don’t care about playing time, they don’t complain about playing time,” Hall head coach Bryan Moretti said. “It’s just always about the team. … Very selfless. … I loved the second-half play. We got them in the third and fourth quarter, got them a little shaky.”
When the final buzzer sounded, Smith called his teammates to the front of the bleachers, where they gathered to have parents take photos of the victors.
“We feel lucky and fortunate we were able to have a season,” Daddio said. “We went to the gym for the first couple of practices as a gift. Then the first couple of games were a gift. Then the gift just kept on giving. We played well in the second half of the season coming down the stretch and also during the playoffs. It really is the gift that keeps on giving for us.”
The Hall community wasn’t able to hold a pep rally before the team headed to the game due to COVID-19, but residents of Hartwell Road – which runs along the western edge of the school campus – provided a show of spirit by holding a send off with balloons and signs, waving as the bus cruised by on the way to the game Friday afternoon.