Bristol Central, Kennedy are lone remaining area boys teams in state tournament

The Bristol Central boys basketball team clinched its first state semifinal berth since 2013 with a 70-48 Division II quarterfinal home win over Waterford on Friday night.

The top-seeded and undefeated Rams (26-0) got a huge stat line of 45 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots from 7-foot-2 senior star Donovan Clingan in his final game in the Charles C. Marsh Gymnasium. With a layup off a great assist from fellow senior Carson Rivoira at the 3:25 mark of the fourth quarter, Clingan passed Wilby legend Phil Lott for 10th on the state’s all-time leading scorer list, according to a tweet from Matt Hornick of The Bristol Press. Clingan also passed former New London star Kris Dunn, who has spent time in the NBA.

Clingan scored 29 of his team’s 31 first half points, but got more help from his teammates in the second half. Rams other than Clingan scored 23 of the team’s 39 second half points. Senior Steve Alseph hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter as Central turned a slim three-point lead into a 21-point bulge entering the final eight minutes (54-33). Waterford hit a 3-pointer to get to within 31-28, but Central outscored them, 23-5, the rest of the third quarter. It was also the final home game for Alseph, Rivoira, Victor Rosa and Damion Glasper. Rivoira finished with nine points and Alseph had eight while Rosa and Glasper each contributed four.

Kennedy downed Guilford, 72-61, in their Division III second round matchup in the Jack Taglia Gymnasium on Thursday night. The Eagles (20-4) will play No. 12 Ledyard on Monday in a quarterfinal round game at 7 p.m. at Kennedy.

Synciere Alves led the way with 21 points and eight assists, Lennox Serrano had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Chauncey Hicks added nine points and eight rebounds. Kennedy and Guilford battled back and forth until the Eagles pulled away from the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter. Guilford led, 20-15, after one quarter and 30-28 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Eagles blocked several shots and five players scored at least three points in a balanced attack as the home team outscored the Grizzlies, 16-10. That gave Kennedy a 44-40 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Guilford scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to claim a 45-44 lead, but Kennedy responded by scoring the next points to surge ahead, 52-45. Hicks scored six of those points. The Grizzlies made it a one possession game twice down the stretch at 54-52 and 61-58, but the Eagles pushed them away both times. After Guilford got to within 54-52, Alves assisted on a Serrano basket, then canned three free throws for a 59-52 advantage.

The Grizzlies got to within 61-58 with 2:34 left in the game, then they had a chance to get to within one on a fast break but missed a layup. Alves found Serrano again for a basket and a 63-58 lead, then Kennedy pulled away.

Holy Cross, the No. 5 seed in Division II, lost a heartbreaker at No. 4 Wilton, 63-62. A Warrior 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds left was the difference in the game. It came after Kevin Matiz sank a layup off an Elijah Parker assist for a 62-60 lead with under a minute to play. The Crusaders had their chances to pull ahead and win, but couldn’t capitalize on them and saw their season end with a 17-6 record. Ashton Sannasi scored a team-high 17 points in his final game in a Holy Cross uniform. It was also the last game for senior Trevor Carroll.

Peyton Mullins had 15 points on five 3-pointers, including four in the second quarter alone. Nate Muniz scored all 13 of his points (three 3-pointers) in the first half. Elijah Parker, who was in foul trouble for most of the game, finished with seven points.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Friday night’s Holy Cross-Wilton quarterfinal.

Photo caption: Holy Cross’ Peyton Mullins passes the ball back to Nate Muniz during Friday night’s Division II state quarterfinal game at Wilton. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)