Back-to-back titles for Bassick
***See the game in HD on iO tv ch. 14 Friday 3/2 at 7:30pm***
After graduating eight seniors from last year's FCIAC championship team, Bassick heard the buzz leading up to the season.
The consensus around the league was that the Lions had little shot to repeat -- and the odds of back-to-back titles seemed even less likely following a humbling 35-point loss to defending state champion Trinity Catholic just over three weeks ago.
Well, it looks like all the naysayers are back on the Bassick bandwagon now.
The fourth-seeded Lions completed their storybook FCIAC run at Warde High School Thursday night, capturing their third league crown in six years with a 62-48 victory over second-seeded Trinity Catholic in a contest that was live-streamed on MSGVarsity.com
The Lions (18-5) jumped out to a 9-1 lead and never looked back.
Trailing 29-24 at halftime, perennial power Trinity Catholic closed to within two points twice in the third quarter, but Bassick wouldn't be denied on this night.
It was both payback for that 91-56 beating at the hands of the Crusaders -- and the ultimate payoff for months of hard work.
"It feels great," said Jerond Rogers, who led the Lions with 19 points. "People doubted us but we proved the world wrong. We wanted this one really bad, and now it's time to get the ring."
A long-awaited state title was already on the Lions' mind as they reveled in their impressive victory that was fueled by an aggressive defense and a fast break offense.
It was a typical balanced performance by Bassick, which had eight different players score.
Senior Devin Coleman finished with 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds while classmate Demetrius Thomas capped off a tournament to remember with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
The Crusaders cut a double-digit deficit to 50-43 with 3:30 left, but Bassick answered with a 10-3 run. Thomas put the exclamation point on it with an electrifying putback slam.
"After losing eight seniors we weren't supposed to get back here so it feels excellent," Thomas said. "Trinity beat us good last time, so that only added to our motivation. We tried to get their big men out of the paint, and it worked. Our defense led to offense which is how we like to play."
Junior point guard Schadrac Casimir had a team-high 16 points for Trinity Catholic, while 7-foot-1 sophomore center Paschal Chukwu contributed seven points, 12 boards and three blocks.
The Crusaders shot 33 percent from the field, and were just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc.
"I give them all the credit in the world," Trinity coach Mike Walsh said. "They were the defending champions and they were not going to let anyone take it away from them. They played good defense and we didn't play as smart on offense. we didn't play well enough to win."
Russell Jones added eight points for the Lions.