WCA boys’ basketball continues amazing journey, advances to first state final

Jason Canady and the WCA boys’ basketball team are headed to the Sun for their first-ever state final.
The Spartans defeated Platt, 84-71, on Wednesday night in Naugatuck and will play Bloomfield at Mohegan Sun Arena
on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Division III final. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, file)

There is a team from Waterbury headed to the Sun for the CIAC state basketball championships, and it calls the North End, and specifically Berkeley Avenue, home.

The Waterbury Career Academy boys’ basketball team earned the school’s first-ever berth in a state final with a dominating 84-71 win over Platt in a Division III 2 vs. 6 semifinal matchup at Naugatuck High School’s Ed Mariano Gymnasium. The Spartans (22-3) will play top-seeded Bloomfield (23-3), a 78-59 winner over fourth-seeded New London in the other semifinal, which was held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. WCA and Bloomfield tip at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.

Whether it was drives to the basket for three-point plays, dunks on the fast break, or 3-pointers off of good passes, the WCA could do no wrong against the Panthers from Meriden. Jason Canady had a team-high 27 points, and Drew Williams was right behind him with 26. Sonny Pierce joined them in double figures with 18 points, and Zaire Lott had nine, including an emphatic two-hand jam that gave WCA a 24-14 lead in the first quarter. Pierce drained four 3-pointers while Canady made two. Williams repeatedly hammered away at the Platt defense, scoring nine of his 10 baskets on drives, according to The Hoop Zone story from Mark Jaffee.

The Spartans did more than just score a bunch of points. Canady had a terrific double-double, adding 10 rebounds and five steals to his 27 points.

WCA led, 40-28, at halftime, then blew the game open in the third quarter. The Spartans used a 22-11 edge to open up a commanding 62-39 advantage. Panther star Anthony Nimani scored 16 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.

Bloomfield won the Division IV state championship last season and will be making its 14th appearance overall. The Warhawks will be looking for their seventh championship.

WCA will be in its first state final, but don’t expect the Spartans to be intimidated. They won the NVL title in their first final appearance, they showed they can come from behind with the victory over Killingly in the state quarterfinal round, and they proved that they can deal with a significant height disadvantage against Platt. WCA will be ready for Sunday’s game.