The decisive run that propelled the Spartans to the school’s first team state championship

WCA’s Sonny Pierce handles the ball against Bloomfield’s pressure defense during Sunday’s Division III state championship
game at Mohegan Sun Arena. Pierce helped key the Spartan run that led to the state title. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

Late in the third quarter of Sunday’s Division III state championship game, the second-seeded WCA boys’ basketball team faced its largest deficit.

There were 51 seconds left on the Mohegan Sun Arena scoreboards, and the Spartans trailed top-seeded Bloomfield, 46-39. What happened after that point in time will go down in Waterbury basketball lore.

WCA rallied to beat Bloomfield, 74-58, and claim the school’s first team state championship because it finished the final 8:51 of the game on a stunning 35-12 run.

Here’s more about that run:

When it started: Sonny Pierce made a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the WCA deficit to 46-42. That’s where the score was entering the fourth quarter.

Bloomfield’s last lead: When Drew Williams converted a three-point play with 7:25 to go in the fourth quarter, the Warhawk lead was a single point, 46-45.

WCA goes ahead for good: After Williams tied the game at 46 by making one of two at the foul line with 6:26 to go, he scored on a fast break layup off a Zaire Lott assist for a 48-46 Spartan lead with 5:12 to play.

A gut punch: Pierce somehow got the ball to Lott on the right wing, and the 6-foot-3 junior fired up a 3-pointer that connected. That trey concluded a 14-0 WCA burst and put the Spartans ahead, 53-46, with 4:01 to go in the game. 

WCA pours it on: The Warhawks got to within 53-48 and finally ended the 14-0 run, but the Spartans countered with an 11-2 burst. Williams started it with a pair of free throws, and when he made a layup with 2:15 to play, WCA led, 64-50. Bloomfield never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

The final points: Lott made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to conclude the scoring for the day.