Wamogo boys one step away from trip to the casino
Wamogo players Garrett Sattazahn (12), Eric Odenwaelder (25) and Kurtis Pepin celebrate after a 57-50 win over Capital Prep in the Division V state tournament on Saturday. John McKenna photos
Wamogo's joyride through through the postseason continued Saturday with a 57-50 win over Capital Prep that set the stage for what should be a fascinating semifinal against top-ranked and unbeaten East Hampton in the Division V state tournament.
Beating East Hampton (25-0) would send the Warriors (21-4) to the tournament championship game next weekend at the Mohegan Sun Casino. Wamogo and East Hampton were scheduled to tee it up Tuesday at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, but the day's snowstorm has forced the game to be moved to Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Wolcott High School.
East Hampton, like Wamogo, is a guard-oriented team, which should make for a dynamite contest. The Bellringers crushed Old Saybrook in their quarterfinal on Saturday.
"They have a very good guard and will be a tough matchup," Wamogo coach Gregg Hunt said of the Bellringers.
The Warriors, however, will be just as formidable with what amounts to the six-guard rotation Hunt has employed the past five games. Inserting Cole Higgins into the starting lineup has given Hunt five guys who can handle the ball, making the Warriors nearly impossible to guard.
"We are on a pretty good roll," Hunt said. "Tonight we got big contributions from everyone and our execution was outstanding."
Garrett Sattazahn led Wamogo with 20 points and Reid Turtoro had 18, with 14 coming in the second half as he took charge during a stretch when the Warriors constructed a 42-30 lead late in the third quarter and had the House That Jim Eisenhaure Built rocking.
"I told Reid had had to get more aggressive and start taking the ball to the hole," Hunt said. "He had a monster game for us."
But just when Wamogo looked like it might pull away, Capital Prep chipped away at the lead with six straight points to end the third quarter. The Trailblazers out of Hartford kept coming and were down 52-50 with 1:50 left. Clinging to the lead, Wamogo was working its half-court offense only to lose the ball with 50 seconds left when Keanu Figueroa deflected a pass and raced the other way toward what would have been a game-tying basket.
Figueroa, however, had too many Warriors in his way and his shot was heavily contested. It missed, Sattazahn rebounded and was fouled by Figueroa with 38.3 seconds left. The foul was ruled intentional, giving Sattazahn two shots and Wamogo the ball. Sattazahn made one shot for a 53-50 lead, and after Capital Prep missed a shot on its next possession, Turtoro threaded a pass to a cutting Sattazahn for a layup with 12 seconds left that sealed the win.
Sattazahn made a steal and drove for another layup for the Warriors' final points, sending a delirious contingent of Wamogo fans into a frenzy.
"This is really exciting," Sattazahn said. "We wanted to get out of our own gym and keep going in the tournament, and that's what's happening."
Surviving the gut-check after blowing out East Windsor on Friday night left Hunt pleased.
"Tonight we beat a team that has had great success and some great players," the coach said. "We had to play every bit as well as we did last night. It was a huge advantage to play at home, but the kids earned that right."
The teams were tied at 16 after one quarter and took a 24-23 edge into halftime. Higgins drilled a pair of three-point field goals to start the third quarter, with the second trey putting the Warriors up 34-25. Turtoro then took over to propel Wamogo to a 42-30 advantage.
Garrett Sattazahn gets a high-five following the win.
Reid Turtoro came out firing.
Ethan Collins eyes the basket.
Sean Coffey drives past Tyler Oney.
Ethan Collins soars over the Capital Prep defense.