WH tops Xavier for ninth win of season
By MIKE MADERA
(January 28, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team was well aware of the danger. After topping undefeated Jonathan Law on Friday, the Westies continued their road trip with a visit to Xavier Monday evening.
Behind 32 points from Quannel Straughter and 20 from Mufee Cooper, the Westies won their fifth straight contest with a 73-67 victory over the Falcons. With the victory, West Haven improved to 9-5 on the season.
The Westies had to rally for their ninth victory of the season as they trailed by two after one quarter and 35-26 at the half. West Haven cut the deficit to one, 48-47, after three quarters, and then rallied to pull out the victory in the fourth quarter.
Straughter was the key as he hit for seven field goals, three 3-pointers, and converted nine free throws. Cooper was also a key part of the win with four field goals, three 3-pointers, and three free throws. Jamel Lowery added 10 points and Jordan Berrios had five points in the victory for West Haven.
Xavier had four players in double figures and was led by Stephen Kohs with 18 points.
WH falls to Prep 69-51
By MIKE MADERA
(January 31, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team saw its five game winning streak come to an end with a 69-51 loss at Fairfield Prep Thursday evening. With the loss, West Haven fell to 9-6 on the year.
Westies Sweep Law
WH posts 72-49 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(February 8, 2019) - The last time the West Haven and Jonathan Law basketball teams squared off, the Westies got off to a quick start, only to see Law rebound to force a thriller in which West Haven handed Law its first defeat of the year.
Fast forward two weeks and the start was just the same.
The biggest difference came in the way the Westies followed up as West Haven never slowed down and raced to a 72-49 Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division victory at West Haven High Friday evening.
“We learned from the last game,” West Haven coach Tyrese Sullivan said. “We have been preaching all season we have to learn from one game to the next. We want to learn from our mistakes.”
Tyrese Hargrove (4) against Law, February 8, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven, which won its second straight contest and seventh game in its last eight decisions, improved to 11-6 on the year after getting off to a 15-2 first quarter lead and never looking back.
Quannel Straughter, who finished with a game-high 24 points, knocked down three 3-pointers in the opening quarter and finished with ten of his team’s 15 first quarter points. The Westies pressured from the start and held Law to just a first quarter field goal by Jon Vitale.
Law, which opened the game without Diontae Eady as he missed practice due to illness, never seemed in sync in the first eight minutes with the Westies jumping out to a 13-point lead.
Mufee Cooper (3) drains a 3-pointer right before the half against Jonathan Law, February 8, 2019. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
“Their guards are amazing,” Law coach Jamie Anderson said of West Haven. “They are very, very good. It’s not just (Mufee) Cooper and (Quannel) Straughter. They have other guys who do a lot for them. They have four or five guys who can hit 3’s. We wanted to stop them from getting to the basket, but they hurt us from the outside. They do a lot of good things. They are a very good Division III team.”
As was the case in the first meeting of the year, Law (14-3) made a run in the second quarter and got as close as 16-8 on a bucket by Zane Birks. The Westies then scored the next seven points on a 3-pointer by Mufee Cooper and two baskets by Tyrese Hargrove for a 23-8 lead.
“We just started the game attacking,” Cooper said after finishing with 16 points. “When you are facing the number two team in the SCC, you can’t start slow. We got off to a good start. When they stopped us inside, we were able to go outside.”
Jamel Lowery (22) basket against Jonathan Law, February 8, 2019. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
The Westies closed the first half on a 14-3 run, which saw perfect ball movement around the court, and seven second quarter points by Cooper, including his 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 30-11 halftime advantage.
“We are gaining confidence,” Cooper said. “A lot of us are playing varsity for the first time. This is a new team and a new coach.”
The Westies kept the pressure on in the third quarter and extended the lead to 21 points, 37-16, on another 3-pointer by Cooper. West Haven stretched the lead to 24 points on a bucket by Laron Holmes and Law never got back into the contest.
“We condition like it is preseason,” Sullivan said. “When everyone is tired, we are getting stronger. I like the tempo. You always need to keep a bench. That is very important.”
Hargrove finished with 13 points for the Westies, including a pair of 3-pointers as the Westies connected 10 times from long range in the game.
Vitale led Law with 11 points.
Westies top Guilford
WH posts 58-41 win
By MIKE MADERA
(February 13, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team won its third straight contest and improved to 12-6 on the year with a 58-41 decision over Guilford on Senior Night in West Haven Wednesday evening.
West Haven seniors on Senior Night against Guilford, February 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Eight players got in the scoring column for the Westies as Tyrese Hargrove led the way with 14 points. Hargrove hit a pair of 3-pointers, three field goals and a pair of free throws in the win.
Shea Sheffield connected on three 3-pointers for nine points, Malcolm Duncanson also had nine points, and Mufee Cooper, Quannel Straughter, and Jamel Lowey all had seven points apiece in the win.
Guilford used a 15-7 run in the second quarter to take a 23-19 halftime lead, but West Haven took control of the contest with a 21-8 run in the second quarter.
The Westies broke free from the nine point lead with another run in the fourth quarter, this one an 18-10 spurt, for the 17-point final.
Westies fall to Cheshire
Regular season ends with 12-8 record
By MIKE MADERA
(February 18, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team did not enter the postseason the way it had hoped. After losing its final two games, the Westies finished the regular season 12-8.
With Monday evening's 51-38 loss against Cheshire at West Haven High, the Westies enter the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament as the eighth seed and will host ninth-seeded Hillhouse Thursday evening at West Haven.
West Haven never got on track in the loss, scoring just 19 points in each half. The Westies connected on just a pair of shots from 3-point range, both by Malcolm Duncanson, and only had Duncanson in double digits as he finished with 12 points.
The Westies trailed by five at the half and just seven after three quarters, but their inability to score made the comeback a difficult one.
Mufee Coooper finished with nine points and Quannel Straughter had six in the loss.
Westies fall to Hillhouse
Academics post victory in SCC opening round
By MIKE MADERA
(February 21, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball program is in good hands with head coach Tyrese Sullivan. The Westies are also headed in the right direction.
Unfortunately for Sullivan and his squad, they will have to wait another year to play deep into the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
Mufee Cooper (3) against Hillhouse, February 21, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Despite a valiant effort, the Westies fell to Hillhouse 65-58 in the opening round of the SCC tournament at West Haven High Thursday evening. With the loss, the Westies dropped to 12-9 and will have to wait until the state tournament begins to get back into game action.
Read about the contest at GameTimeCT.
Westies top Wilcox Tech in state 2nd round
By Joe Morelli
(March 7, 2019) - MERIDEN — Ty Sullivan helped devise many defensive game plans as an assistant coach at Hillhouse High. They were normally designed to stop, or slow down, the opponent’s leading scorer.
Sullivan has continued doing so in this, his first year as head coach at West Haven, Thursday night’s mission was to try and create as much difficulty as possible for Wilcox Tech senior DeJuan Ransom, the all-time leading scorer in the city of Meriden.
Quannel Straughter (10) against Wilcox Tech, March 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies threw several defenders at Ransom throughout the game. Sometimes it worked, sometimes, Ransom was still able to score.
It worked long enough, and well enough for No. 13 seed West Haven to win this Division III second-round game 68-63 over No. 4 seed Wilcox Tech at Maloney High.
“Ransom is a heckuva player, one of the better players we have seen this year,” Sullivan said. “He’s a strong kid, I like him a lot. I have a lot of respect for players of that caliber.”
With West Haven leading 66-63, Tyrese Hargrove, one of those defenders, came to double Ransom and picked the senior’s pocket at midcourt. Hargrove was fouled with 12.4 seconds left.
“We needed a big steal. I wanted to do something for my team and get that W,” Hargrove said. “I saw fear. I felt like he (Ransom) wanted me to have it.”
Said Sullivan: “As soon as he put his head down to attack, we were sending the double. … Jordan Berrios (the original defender) did a heckuva job on (Ransom) in the fourth quarter.”
Then the junior guard stepped to the free-throw line and made both free throws.
Tyrese Hargrove (4) against Wilcox Tech, March 7, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“I feel good helping bring my team to the quarterfinals,” Hargrove said.
Wilcox Tech committed a turnover on its next possession and the Westies advanced to their first state tournament quarterfinal since 1996. West Haven will play at No. 5 Torrington in the quarterfinals Monday night at 7 p.m.
“I didn’t see this coming. These guys have exceeded my expectations,” Sullivan said. “I think they have exceeded the expectations of the community, the city of West Haven. I’m just proud of them Now we will try and continue to ride this wave and see how far we can go.”
Ransom felt he got fouled on the steal. It ended a run for Wilcox Tech (17-6) that included a spot in the Division IV tournament semifinals last year.
“Getting to the quarters almost could have almost been like getting to the semis in Division IV,” Farkas said. “We had it in us and gave a shot at it.”
Said Ransom: “It (the loss) was basically my fault. I didn’t tell my teammates to set screens for me to get open.”
Ransom finished with 27 points. He finishes his career with 2,154 points, now 13th on the all-time CIAC list. He is the only player from a technical school to surpass 2,000 points.
“No one thought we would be able to do this,” Ransom said.
Said Farkas: “He stepped into the starting lineup very, very early. D.J., John (Soto) and Bryce (McClendon, the other two seniors), the three of them together coming in as freshman and playing varsity right away, where they have taken us. … for them to kind of put us on the map, it’s been a great run for the three of them.”
West Haven (14-9) led virtually throughout the game and the entire second half. It’s largest lead was eight, 49-41, in the third quarter.
But the Indians were able to hang in, never trailing by more than five in the final quarter.
Sullivan said he threw more defenses at Ransom in the second half to limit the chance for the Indians to adjust.
“(Ransom) probably got a little tired down the stretch. That’s probably were those turnovers came in,” Sullivan said. “We knew he would score the ball, that’s what he does. Those steals at the end of the game, those are fatigue plays what we liked to call them.”
Mufee Cooper led the Westies with 17 points while Malcolm Duncanson added 15. Quannel Straughter scored 14 points, including two big baskets down the stretch to keep West Haven in front.
“In the second half, they tried a box-and-one on (Ransom),” Farkas said. “They did a good with it. I thought (Ransom) handled himself pretty well. He got some teammates some looks and he created for himself also. But with a box and one, it takes away a big option for us. It did hold us back a little.”
McClendon added 18 points for Wilcox Tech.
Torrington ends WH season in state quarterfinals
By MIKE MADERA
(March 7, 2019) - TORRINGTON - The season has come to a close for the West Haven boys basketball team. Making an improbable run to the state quarterfinals, the 13th-seeded Westies saw their season come to a close against fifth-seeded Torrington 73-58 in Torrington Monday evening.
West Haven players are consoled after falling against Torrington, March 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the loss, West Haven closes Ty Sullivan's first season behind the bench at 14-10.
West Haven against Torrington, March 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read about the game at GameTimeCT.
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Westies top Indians
WH wins season opener
By MIKE MADERA
(December 18, 2018) - The Tyrese Sullivan Era has begun in fine fashion for the West Haven boys basketball team. With three players in double figures, West Haven opened the season with a 66-48 victory over North Haven at West Haven High Tuesday evening.
Mufee Cooper and Jordan Berrios each scored 14 points, while Quannel Straugher scored 11 and Laron Holmes had eight.
Tyrese Sullivan and the Westies opened the season with a win over North Haven, December 18, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies led 11-9 after one quarter and took a 29-25 lead at the half. Straugher had nine points in the half, Sheffield had six,and Holmes added five.
Cooper helped the Westies take a 44-38 lead with seven points, before the Westies closed the fourth quarter, hitting 13 of 18 free throws.
The Westies opened the season with a win over North Haven, December 18, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cooper scored four points in the final quarter, including two from the line, but it was Berrios who came up big in the final eight minutes with 10 points, including hitting on all eight of his free throws.
Westies hold off Titans
WH improves to 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(December 21, 2018) - The West Haven boys basketball team improved to 2-0 with a 66-58 victory over Sheehan-Wallingford Friday evening at Sheehan High. With the victory, the Westies improved to 2-0 on the season.
Read about the Westies' second win of the season courtesy of the Record Journal.
The Westies were led by Nikolas Camara with 15 points, Tyrese Hargrove with 13 points, and Laron Holmes with 12 points.
Green Knights top Westies
WH suffers first loss of season
By MIKE MADERA
(December 27, 2018) - The Tyrese Sullivan era started in impressive fashion with two straight wins. With a chance to extend the streak and top undefeated cross-town rival Notre Dame, the Westies could not do so.
Quannel Straughter (10) and West Haven against Notre Dame, December 27, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Led by 20 points from Ben Carroll, Notre Dame won its fourth straight road contest to open the season, topping the Westies 63-43 at West Haven High in the opening round of the Winter Snow Jam Holiday Tournament.
The Westies trailed by eight points at the half and trailed 36-20 in the third quarter.
Mufee Cooper (3) and West Haven against Notre Dame, December 27, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Carroll scored 10 consecutive points to increase the Notre Dame lead to 44-29. The Westies went on an 8-2 run and got as close as 16 points on a Quannel Straugher bucket.
WH Tops RHAM
Westies win Winter Snow Jam Consolation
By MIKE MADERA
(December 29, 2018) - The West Haven boys basketball team got back on the winning track Saturday afternoon. The Westies did so in impressive fashion.
Jumping out to a 10-point first quarter lead, West Haven rolled to an 88-52 victory over RHAM in the Winter Jam Consolation game at Notre Dame.
The Westies were in control from the start as they jumped out to a 42-20 lead at the half.
Behind Shea Sheffield, who hit three 3-pointers in the first half, including two in the opening quarter, West Haven was never challenged. Six different players scored for the Westies in the opening quarter and the team drained five 3-pointers in the first eight minutes.
Quannel Straugher scored eight points in the second quarter, while Tyrese Hargrove and Mufee Copper each had five.
Straugher led West Haven with 28 points, Cooper had 13, Hargrove 11 and Sheffield 10 in the win.
West Haven drained twelve 3-pointers in the game.
WH falls to Amity
Westies drop to 3-2
By MIKE MADERA
(January 2, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team fell to 3-2 with a 65-57 loss to Amity Wednesday evening at West Haven High.
Quannel Straugher led the way with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, while Shea Sheffield drained three 3-pointers for nine points, and Tyrese Hargrove added eight points.
The Westies trailed 12-11 after one quarter, despite six points from Laron Holmes and three from Sheffield. Straugher got the Westies going with eight points in the second quarter and West Haven trailed 28-27 at the half.
Sheffield drained two 3-pointers in the third quarter, Straugher added seven points in the fourth and Malcolm Duncanson had five in the fourth in the loss.
WH tops North Haven
Westies use early lead to top Indians
By MIKE MADERA
(January 15, 2019) - The West Haven boys basketball team used a fast start and rolled to a 60-39 victory over North Haven Tuesday evening.
The Westies jumped out of the gates quickly, outscoring the Indians 21-8 in the opening quarter. West Haven built on the lead to take a 33-13 margin to the half, before extending the lead to 49-20 in the third quarter.
West Haven picked up its fifth victory of the season with the victory.
Shea Sheffield led West Haven with 16 points, while Nikolas Camara and Laron Holmes each scored 10. Jordan Berrios added seven points, and Mufee Cooper and Quannel Straighter each scored five.
WH tops Sheehan
Westies improve to 6-5
By MIKE MADERA
(January 17, 2019) - While West Haven coach Tyrese Sullivan has a good number of juniors and seniors on his roster, he lacks game experience. Sullivan’s squad is going through trial by fire.
The latest version of the Westies learning on the run came Thursday evening when they ran out to a 17-point lead, then held on to post a 70-64 victory over Sheehan in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivisional game at West Haven High.
“We are still learning in these close games,” Sullivan said. “We have seniors and juniors, but they don’t have the experience. None of the guys have varsity experience. This is a brand new team, learning as we go.”
Behind 25 points from Quannel Straughter, 14 from Shea Sheffield, and 13 more from Malcolm Duncanson, the Westies spread the offense around.
West Haven coach Tyrese Sullivan against Sheehan, January 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sheffield had 11 of those points, nine from 3-point range, in the opening quarter, and Straughter added nine in the opening eight minutes as West Haven jumped out to a 27-10 lead.
“We did not play well in the first half,” Sheehan coach Joe Gaetano said. “We were really stale in the first quarter, like we did not want to be here. I told the guys to just put their stuff in the suit cases and let’s go home. But, give them credit. They made a lot of shots.”
West Haven’s defensive goal the entire game was to hold Sheehan (8-4) to just one shot. While West Haven (6-5) did that for the majority of the game, Sheehan changed that look late in the third quarter and got within 53-46 on a bucket by Arthur Cordes.
Malcolm Duncanson (0) and West Haven against Sheehan, January 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After a 3-pointer by Straughter put West Haven back on top by 10, a 3-pointer by Jack McDonnell had the Titans within six. Sheehan got as close as 63-59 with 57.3 seconds to go on a basket by Garrett Molampy, but the Westies sank seven of eight free throws in the final 37 seconds to seal the victory.
“This is a big win for us,” Straughter said. “We have been losing some games at home, so it feels good to get one. We are trying to start a streak and get ready for the states.”
West Haven came out of the gates shooting as the Westies took a 20-4 lead in the first quarter. Leading by seven, baskets by Jordan Berrios, Straughter and Sheffield, followed by a 3-pointer by Straughter had West Haven on top by 16.
“This game is good for us as it is a game where we learned how to pull out a win,” Sullivan said. “Tonight is a game we learned. We will watch film and get better from it.”
The Titans gave themselves hope late in the opening half as a pair of buckets by Molampy cut the deficit to 13. Kris Jackson got the Titans within 11, and a 3-pointer by Caden Cloutier followed by a basket by Molampy had the Titans within 48-44, with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
“They are a good team with a great coach,” Sullivan said of Sheehan. “I played against Joe Gaetano. He is a mentor to me. I talk to him a lot. It feels good to beat a team coming off a big win. We need to take care of business at home. It feels good.”
Jackson, McDonnell, and Tyler Carmen each scored nine points for Sheehan in the loss.
WH rolls past Branford
Straughter leads way
By MIKE MADERA
(January 22, 2019) - Led by 17 points from Quannel Straughter, the West Haven boys basketball team won its third straight contest with a 68-29 victory over Branford Tuesday evening. With the victory at West Haven High, the Westies improved to 7-5 on the year.
Quannel Straughter (10) and West Haven against Branford, January 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Straughter was tough from the outside as he hit on five 3-pointers. Malcolm Duncanson added 12 points, Laron Holmes had eight and Jordan Berrios scored seven as West Haven had 11 players in the scoring column.
Shea Sheffield (2) and West Haven against Branford, January 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven jumped out of the gates quickly, taking a 21-7 lead after one quarter of play. The Westies increased the margin to 37-12 at the half and never looked back in the Southern Connecticut Conference victory.
West Haven, which drained eight 3-pointers in the game, completed the win with a 31-17 run in the second half.
Westies top Law
WH hands Law first loss of season
By MIKE MADERA
(January 25, 2019) - Coming into Friday evening’s showdown with Jonathan Law and West Haven, Law coach Jamie Anderson felt the two teams were mirror images of each other. After 32 minutes, Anderson was true in his assessment.
In the end, West Haven made two more defensive plays, on its way to a 62-59 Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division victory over Law at Jonathan Law. The win allowed West Haven to qualify for the postseason after an absence from the state tournament a year ago, and sent Law to its first defeat of the year.
“I’m a little disappointed because we were in a position to close them out and we did not do so,” West Haven coach Tyrese Sullivan said. “Our inexperience showed. But, I am happy in the fact we won and we responded through the adversity.”
Mufee Cooper (3) basket against Law. January 25, 2019. Video courtesy Mike Madera.
Law was looking to get off to its first 12-0 start since the 1988-1989 season when Anderson was a junior on that team.
“Their spirits are good,” Anderson said. “They know they will come back and work hard. Like I just told them, this is not a football game where one play causes the outcome of a game. There were a lot of things throughout the course of the game which forced us to be down eight points. It was a game of runs. Their guards are very good. They are quick and they handle the ball very well.”
The adversity Sullivan talked about came in the final quarter when Law tried to overcome an eight point deficit and had four opportunities in the final 1 minute, 51 seconds to either tie or win the game. Each time, West Haven came up with a big defensive play or Law failed to covert at the free throw line.
Trailing 58-50, Law went on a 7-0 run, capped with a 3-pointer by Diontae Eady and a bucket by Zane Birks, but Law missed a free throw with the opportunity to even the contest.
Law then had a chance to take the lead, but a steal and basket by West Haven’s Mufee Cooper with 1:12 remaining gave the Westies a 60-57 advantage. Law’s Antonio Brown got his team within a point with a bucket with 54.5 seconds to go, but another missed free throw prevented Law from evening the contest.
Quannel Straughter (10) basket against Law. January 25, 2019. Video courtesy Mike Madera.
“We are really good at focusing on the ball,” Anderson said. “They are a really good team. They are scrappy like we are. We mirror each other well.”
After Law (11-1) missed three more free throws in the final 45 seconds West Haven took a three point lead when Malcolm Duncanson drained a pair from the free throw line with 27.5 seconds to go. Law had one last opportunity to draw even, but could not convert in the final seconds
“We are trial by fire,” Sullivan said. “We are learning as we go. The good thing is we are gaining experience in tournament atmospheres. They are learning how to close out games. We did not do so against Fairfield Prep, but we did so tonight and that is a positive.”
The Westies (8-5) were in control early on after going on a 15-0 run in the opening quarter for a 17-7 lead. Cooper, who had six points in the opening quarter and finished with 15, started the run with a bucket, then gave the Westies a 14-7 lead with a steal, basket and free throw. When Laron Holmes followed with a basket and free throw, and Quannel Straughter sank another bucket as part of his game-high 26 points, West Haven led 19-7 with 1:58 to go in the opening quarter.
West Haven wins against Law. January 25, 2019. Video courtesy Mike Madera.
“We have played in a lot of games like this,” Straughter said. “We have had time to adapt to these games. This was the one we needed to qualify tonight. We did not make it (postseason) last year and we are here to show we are a new team.”
Law got back in the game with a 7-0 run of its own to get within 21-17 on buckets by Ru Akhtar, Brian Felag, and Brown. The Lawmen evened the game at 23 on a 3-pointer by Eady with five minutes to go in the opening half, then took a 25-24 lead with 3:47 to go on Eady's basket. West Haven followed with a 6-0 run for a five point lead.
“We accomplished our first short-term goal and that was to win eight games and get in,” Sullivan said. “Now, we will set more short-term goals. We want to get a good seed in the SCC tournament, then win our first game of the tournament. We want to get ready for the state tournament and set some short-term goals for that too.”Brown led Law with 18 points, while Eady finished with 13 and Jon Vitale added 11.