AP NEWS

Boys basketball Bulldogs overpower Cougars

February 26, 2019

STRATFORD — The Kolbe Cathedral players, coaches and fans inside the Bunnell gym had to be thrilled with what had transpired during the first 17 minutes of Monday’s SWC boys basketball semifinal.

Kolbe, seeded sixth, was within one point of the favored No. 2 Bulldogs one minute into the third quarter. But it was an uneasy feeling; the kind when you just know impending doom is waiting for you.

Sure enough, the talented, Max Edwards-led Bulldogs awoke from their doldrums. First came a 10-0 Bunnell run and that eventually expanded to 45-15 before the Bulldogs finished off a 73-45 victory.

“In the second half,” Bunnell coach Dannie Powell said, “we looked more like the team we’ve been lately.”

Bunnell (17-5) extended its winning streak to six while halting Kolbe’s at five (after a 6-10 start).

“We know how athletic Bunnell is so we wanted to execute our game and keep it in the 50s and were doing a good job at that,” said Kolbe assistant coach C.J. Shamus, who ran the team in the absence of head coach John Pfohl (flu). “Then in the third quarter, they went on a run and we couldn’t stop the bleeding and got caught in a fast-paced game.”

That’s something you can’t do with the Bulldogs, who will face top seed Immaculate in the SWC final Thursday at 7 p.m. at Newtown. Edwards, the sensational Bunnell junior, who has one of the best vertical leaps in the state, had 24 points and 12 rebounds. But the Bulldogs are more than Edwards.

Point guard Khalid Moreland had 13 points, six assists and four rebounds. Josh Giannoni added 11 points and, along with Edwards, did a fine defensive job inside on Kolbe star Quinton Sneed-Lott.

“We had a bad half, no energy at all,” said Edwards, who had 13 points in the decisive third quarter. “But then the seniors played their hearts out and in the second half. We had so much more energy.”

Kolbe (11-11) led 16-13 after one quarter and was within one at 28-27 when the explosion hit. Bunnell took a 48-34 lead after the third quarter and made it 60-35, and then 71-41.

“We finally showed up in the second half,” Powell said. “We ramped up our defensive intensity and that was the difference.”

Kolbe committed 14 second-half turnovers, eight in the third quarter and 25 overall (Bunnell had eight).

Next up for Bunnell is Immaculate, which defeated the Bulldogs 71-59 on Jan. 31.

“They controlled the pace the last time we played,” Powell said. “We’re going to have to change that this time.”

“Yeah, they beat us, but this is the championship game, a whole different environment,” added Edwards. “We have to go out and prove what we can do, this time for 32 minutes.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Bunnell’s Max Edwards got the better of Kolbe’s Quinton Sneed-Lott in a battle of SWC stars. Edwards had 24 points and 12 rebounds while Sneed-Lott had 14 and six.

QUOTABLE

“I think Josh (Giannoni) got in (Quinton Sneed-Lott)’s head on defense under the basket, and without Q playing his game, Kolbe is in trouble,” — Bunnell junior Max Edwards.

BUNNELL 73, KOLBE CATHEDRAL 45

KOLBE CATHEDRAL (45)

Tyrell Staples-Santos 2 1-2 5; Dan Wellington 0 3-4 3; Jaden McLellan 0 0-0 0; Evan Coleman 3 0-0 8; Brandon Gadsden 0 0-0 0; Quinton Sneed-Lott 4 6-8 14; Taeshaun Sanchez 1 0-0 2; Eudell Mason 1 2-2 4; Justin Leigh 2 2-2 6; Jalen Sullivan 0 0-0 0; Robert Raphael 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 14-36 14-18

BUNNELL (73)

Tyler Staggs-Burgess 0 0-0 0; Max Edwards 10 0-0 24; Elijah Alexandre 3 0-0 7; Derrick Gyimah 2 0-0 4; Joshua Giannoni 4 2-2 11; Khalid Moreland 5 2-2 13; Javon Wilson 1 1-2 3; Jaden McDowell 0 2-2 2; Kevin Lanham 0 0-0 0; Jerrod Leak 0 0-0 0; Jeremiah Ngbo 0 0-0 0; Tiyome Coleman 1 2-4 4; Julio Cordova 0 0-0 0; Nick Rodrigues 1 0-0 3; Sekian Nichols 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 28-60 9-12

KOLBE 16 6 12 11 — 45

BUNNELL 13 13 22 25 — 73

3-pointers: KC — E.Coleman 2, Raphael. B — Edwards 4, Moreland, Alexandre, Giannoni, Rodrigues. Records: KC 11-11, B 17-5