Four Waterbury boys teams near top of NVL

When Sacred Heart closed its doors at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, the question in boys basketball was who would take over the top slot in Waterbury.

The answer, as far as the 2021-2022 season goes, is four city teams are hovering around the top of the NVL standings. Naugatuck (19-0) may be the top team overall, but the next three teams you see in the NVL on the CIAC website are from the Brass City. They are Kennedy (16-3), Holy Cross (15-4) and Crosby (14-5). After St. Paul (12-6), there’s WCA at 12-7.

When it comes to the NVL Brass Division, Kennedy is the top team at 7-1, followed by Crosby (5-3) and Holy Cross (5-3), then WCA (2-5). The Brass Division foes have beaten up on each other all season long. Outside the division, the overall records for each team are: Holy Cross (10-1), WCA (10-2), Kennedy (9-2) and Crosby (9-2).

Kennedy has done its work behind seniors Dayven Zielinski, Synciere Alves, Manny Beamon and Chauncey Hicks, along with junior Lennox Serrano. Sophomore Hikim Trueheart has also given the Eagles great minutes off the bench. Balanced scoring has been the key offensively, though Zielinski (28, 28, 26) and Alves (27, 27) have had some big individual games.

Holy Cross has done it with a mix of experience (senior Ashton Sannasi) and youth (freshman Elijah Parker, sophomore Nate Muniz). Sannasi (29, 27), Parker (31, 30, 29, 28) and Muniz (38, 26) have all had big scoring games, and Parker put together a triple-double in a win over St. Paul earlier this season. Juniors Peyton Mullins and Joe Dane have produced in key spots as well.

Crosby has been led by the 1-2 punch of senior Jonathan Rivera and junior Jason Robinson. Rivera averages 26.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.6 steals per game while Robinson is at 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.1 steals per contest. Rivera’s season-high was 42 points in a loss to Newtown, and he also put together a triple-double earlier this season. Rivera has had five other games of 30 or more points this season. Senior Chris Spears has had some solid performances, including a recent streak of five straight games in double figures.

WCA has four players averaging in double figures, led by its 1-2 punch of junior Jason Canady (18.5 PPG) and sophomore Zaire Lott (17.2 PPG). There’s also sophomore Andrew Williams (12.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG) and junior Sonny Pierce (12.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.4 SPG). In one game against Torrington this year, a 70-59 victory, Canady scored 39 points and Pierce added 31 points.

The NVL tournament could prove to be very interesting with four of the eight teams coming from the Brass City.

Statistics from the MaxPreps pages for Crosby and WCA.