The first CIAC winter high school championships since 2019 did not disappoint, with several memorable moments. Below are our most memorable moments from the 2022 CIAC winter sports championships:
With East Catholic leading by three points and time winding down, Notre Dame-West Haven’s Timaury Gray appeared to have an open look for a 3-pointer from the left corner, when James Jones soared across the baseline, his arms outstretched for a block. Gay grabbed the rebound and made the layup. Jones let the ball fall before inbouding as time expired, preserving East Catholic’s 50-49 win in Division I.
Jones had hit two free throws to give the Eagles the three-point lead.
The 7-foot-2 Bristol Central senior center and the most talked about boys basketball player in recent time in the state, decided to stay home and not take the Prep school route.
He won multiple postseason awards, with more to come and he’s going to play at UConn.
But one thing was missing: a state title.
That changed in the marquee game on Saturday when Clingan scored 25 points and added 24 rebounds to lead the Rams to a 56-36 win over Northwest Catholic for the Division II state title.
The Daniel Hand athletic programs are some of the best in the state. In fact, 16 Hand programs had combined to win 73 state titles heading into the weekend. One of the teams missing from that group was the boys basketball program.
Led by Hudson Geremia’s double-double the Tigers, making their first title game appearance since 1974, won the Division III title and became the 17th Hand program to capture a state title.
Before Bloomfield won the Division IV championship, team members came out all wearing the same black warmup shirts, all with ‘New Apollo’ across the front. The clothing brand was created by their teammate, senior Lake McLean.
McLean went on to grab eight rebounds in the finals to help Bloomfield beat Granby 58-54 to win the Division IV title.
“From now on, it’s a championship brand,” McLean said. “If you have the brand, then you’re winning.”
Eighty-one years of frustration for Windham’s boy’s basketball program vanished as Travis Mangual Jr.’s 3-point shot snapped through the nets at East Hartford High in the Division V semifinals. The game-winning shot against Windsor Locks gave the Whippets a 53-50 win and their first state final berth since 1941.
That was the same year the first Captain America comic book hit the stands. Since then, Captain America has found his way on to the movie screen, including three solo movies and appeared in all the Avengers movies. The Whippets had won 0 titles.
That all changed at Mohegan Sun this past weekend when Isaiah Mangual and his teammates beat SMSA 62-56 to win the Division V title.
Ryan Persian etched his name into Connecticut basketball history during the Division I quarterfinals.
With his team trailing by one, Persian grabbed a rebound on a missed free throw, ran up the court, stopped, turned back to his right and launched a 3-point attempt from near the top of the key.
The shot swished through the net, sending the Prep bomb squad racing out on to the court to celebrate the team’s win. The play was selected as ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 Play of the Day.
There were many claims to who was the best girls basketball player in the state was.
After the Class LL game, it will be hard to argue against East Hartford’s Shailyn Pinkney.
The Seton Hall commit, went off for 26 points to lead the Hornets to their first title, 54-33 over Wilton.
There has been no better girls basketball program in the state over the past three seasons, than the Notre Dame-Fairfield team.
Unfortunately for the Lancers they haven’t been able to compete for a state title the last two years.
When they finally got their opportunity this weekend they made the most of it.
Aizhanique Mayo led the way with 22 points and the Lancers defeated Newington, 60-45, to win the program’s first title.
Sacred Heart Academy vs. St. Joseph was the matchup many wanted to see in the Class MM finals.
The game did not disappoint.
St. Joseph had a last second shot, it did not fall and Sacred Heart won it’s first title since 1993.
As Mya Zaccagnini was well on her way to leading her team to the Class M state title, she was very close to setting a personal record.
In the fourth quarter, Zaccagnini scored her 1,000th career point and a couple of minutes later she celebrated Holy Cross’ 61-38 win over Bacon Academy in the Class M finals.
Morgan Sanson, Alexa Sanson, Abby Hurlbert and Gabby Hurlbert all competed for a state title at Mohegan Sun for the Thomaston Golden Bears.
Thomaston senior Emma Sanson joined her sisters and cousins in that group when the Bears clinched a spot in the Class S finals.
She etched her name in Thomaston history when he scored 17 points to lead the Golden Bears to the Class S title, 42-38 over Coventry.
Trailing in the third period is never an easy task to overcome, but for the No. 1 team in the state, it wasn’t a big deal.
The Green Knights scored three times in the final frame to beat Darien, 4-2, and win their first state title since 2012.
The captain of the fictional Mighty Ducks laid down his jersey in D2: The Mighty Ducks to allow a teammate to play in the championship game of the Junior Goodwill Games.
Before the Division III title game, Newington’s Andrew Stribling realized he forgot his jersey before the game. His teammate Tanner Jorczak gave up his jersey and spot to Stribling.
Stribling scored two goals to lead Newington to its third Division III title in 11 years.
Two ice hockey games came down to the wire in the first round.
Trailing by one with a little over a minute left, Hand’s Jeff Pioneer thought he scored to tie the game, but it was called back.
No worries, 40 seconds later Pinover tied the game with 25.6 seconds left and then 20 seconds later J.J. Barber scored to give Hand a 4-3 win over Westhill/Stamford in the Division II first round.
The next night the madness continued.
Tied at 1-1, Ridgefield’s Chris Hamilton scored with 5.4 seconds left to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 win over Simsbury in the Division I first round.
Wethersfield’s Shane Mazur scored a lot of goals during the state tournament. None was as important as his game-tying goal against Watertown-Pomperaug late in the third period, oh wait he scored a more important one in that same game, the OT winner to send Wethersfield to the semifinals. Mazur scored three goals in the semifinals.
Three years to the day from winning as freshmen, New Canaan’s Kaleigh Harden and her teammates went out as winners as seniors. It just took a little longer than normal.
After having the past two state championship games cancelled due to the pandemic, New Canaan and Darien needed three overtimes to determine the first state champion since 2019.
Harden scored with 33.5 seconds left in the third overtime to win the CHSGHA state championship 4-3 over rival Darien.
Fairfield Ludlowes' Anna Keeley lost her shoe within the first 50 meters of the one-mile race at the New England Track and Field Championships.
It didn't matter.
Keeley not only won the race and the New England title, but she set a personal record for time.
Conard’s Gavin Sherry continued to rewrite the record books in Connecticut.
The Stanford-commit broke the state indoor record in the mile with a time of 4:02.69, good for a fourth place finish at the New Balance Nationals Indoor Track and Field meet.
He also won the two-mile at the New Balance Nationals Indoors with a state record 8:48.59.
Maloney’s Bria Benigni took home two wins. She won the one-mile run at the NIKE Indoor Nationals with a time of 5:01.60. She also won the 1,500 with a time of 4:43.61.
Somers’ Rachel St. Germain won the girls 5,000 at the NIKE Indoor Nationals with a time of 16:59.44.
Hillhouse’s Gary Moore Jr., finished in fourth place at the New Balance Nationals Indoors with a state record in the weight throw of 22.45 meters (73-6).