The time has come for the Portland boys basketball staff below coach David Bradbury Jr. | Jobi Cool

In simply three brief years, coach David Bradbury Jr. his promise to alter the tradition of the Portland boys basketball program for the higher.

The variety of gamers on the first and junior varsity ranges has elevated. Thus far, the Highlanders are having fun with a 6-3 begin total and 6-0 in opposition to Shoreline Convention opponents. They play with an edge. Gone are the times when enemies from the Coast might take Portland flippantly.

Oh, and the Highlanders simply beat convention stalwart Cromwell for simply the second time in a decade.

Earlier than the season, Bradbury shouted that “it is Portland time.” It definitely is.

“Due to the Cromwell-Portland rivalry, these guys have been competing in opposition to one another for many of their lives, whether or not it is by way of journey ball or highschool, so there is a sure uniqueness to that rivalry,” stated Bradbury, whose first season was altered by COVID. expertise from 2020.

“Cromwell was undoubtedly an enormous recreation and each groups knew it,” Bradbury stated. “Each recreation is essential, however particularly when a college like Portland solely performs larger faculties as soon as within the common season, it takes on much more which means. You at all times wish to put your finest foot ahead.

“Being undefeated proper now in opposition to Shoreline groups, it feels good for the boys and me. It feels good to construct one thing particular with Portland.”

Senior level guard Harrison Collins scored 10 of his game-high 27 factors within the fourth quarter because the host Highlanders closed out a 52-48 victory over defending champion Shoreline. Collins is the catalyst for this offense in Portland and is coming off a Shoreline Participant of the 12 months caliber season.

“His worth to our program is great,” Bradbury stated. “His teammates are rooting for him and we would like him to get accolades like this. I am extremely happy with him and the work he is put in to achieve success. He makes nice selections each recreation.”

Portland’s earlier recreation had the identical really feel. Within the recreation in opposition to Previous Saybrook, the Highlanders had been tied for 48 factors. The Rams had been up 54-51 with 7.5 seconds to go, however they could not equalize. Collins rebounded and made each ends one-one to seal the 56-51 victory.

“I feel we’ve room for enchancment so far as our defensive play, particularly within the first half,” Bradbury stated. “We’re making plenty of errors that we have to preserve getting higher at, so we’re simply scratching the floor there.” But it surely’s thrilling to see youngsters dig in these fourth quarters and make the mandatory stops and win video games.”

The Highlanders reached the CIAC Division V semifinals final 12 months, and with final 12 months’s chemistry largely intact, they might contend once more. Behind Collins are skilled fellow seniors Joe Rusczyk, Ryan Kerr, Ben Fecteau and Austin Vess, in addition to junior Tyler Wydo.

“I am extraordinarily happy with the general tradition enchancment, the win and the success,” Bradbury stated. “After I first obtained on the scene, it was a very bizarre time in the midst of COVID. There was plenty of angst and “That is the place we wish to be, the place we needs to be, and we simply cannot do it.” After I obtained there, I had concepts.” In his 20s, Bradbury performed at Valley Regional, a Shoreline foe with a historical past of constant success.

“I got here from a profitable program and a tradition that I wished to instill in Portland,” he stated. “I knew it was going to take a while, perhaps a 12 months or two, and now that we’re two years on the highway and 6-0 in Shoreline, I can undoubtedly say Portland’s time has come.” I am joyful that they accepted me and belief me to steer this staff.”


** The Middletown women basketball staff prepares for Wednesday’s house recreation in opposition to East Hartford, the groups’ first assembly since final 12 months’s Class LL semifinals (the Hornets received to assert the state title). The Blue Dragons are 8-3 with a 56-38 win over Lewis Mills. Tessa Porch, coming off a robust freshman season, had a team-high 12 factors, whereas Ava Studinski had 10 and Shalyn Smith had six factors and 6 assists.

** Cromwell senior Victor Payne scored a game-high 20 factors because the Panthers bounced again from a loss at Portland to beat Previous Lyme 53-39 on Friday.

** Hamden is undefeated in 11 video games and is the No. 1 within the GameTimeCT women basketball ballot. The Inexperienced Dragons beat fellow high 10 groups Sacred Coronary heart Academy by two factors, Daniel Hand by three and now Mercy by 4. An element of their success in shut video games? “It begins with coaching. Our practices are very intense,” junior guard Gianna Donnarummo stated, “so once we get into the sport, we preserve our composure. It really works for us.”

** If Mercy boxed out and rebounded in opposition to Hamden the best way coach Tim Kohs hoped, the Tigers would shut down Hamden. The Inexperienced Dragons had a dimension benefit and saved possession after missed pictures, particularly after missed free throws, and that actually harm a very good Mercy staff.

“We scored plenty of factors offensively,” Kohs stated after Friday’s 48-44 loss. “I assumed with that kind of recreation, 43 would have received it. Each time we would have liked a cease, they both scored or scored on second or third possibilities. We simply did not understand it. We tried to leap with the children.”

** Haddam-Killingworth’s Blake Kamoen hit a 3-pointer off the glass final week to provide the Cougars a 54-53 win over Previous Lyme. In wins over Westbrook and North Branford, Kamoen had team-highs 17 and 13 factors, respectively, as HK improved to 4-5 total.


** I do not understand how the Middletown boys basketball staff might rally and play so quickly after studying of the incomprehensible dying of Quentin “Q” Williams. There was a shelter over the gymnasium that evening. Coach Eric Holley grew up with Williams and was a 12 months behind Q — the town’s first black state consultant — as a classmate at MHS. The Blue Dragons performed properly for 3 quarters earlier than hitting a wall and dropping to Conard.

** That evening was a stark distinction to the environment on Middletown’s house court docket final week. The very first Middletown Sports activities Corridor of Fame Vacation Traditional seemed and gave the impression of successful. LaBella-Sullivan Gymnasium was almost full two nights in a row, the basketball was good (New Britain, Valley Regional and Portland participated), the occasion was going properly, and the Blue Dragons received 67-52 over Portland within the . title recreation. Senior guard/ahead Nasir Cade-McDaniel scored 32 factors within the two wins and earned the MVP award.

With loads of time to consider what the 2nd 12 months of the event would possibly appear like, we hope the Middletown women’ squad shall be a part of the festivities.

** A supply near the state of affairs instructed me the CIAC will honor Dustin DeMonte earlier than the 2023 baseball state championship at Palmer Subject in June. DeMonte, 35, and fellow Bristol police officer Alex Hamzy died in an obvious ambush whereas responding to a name in October. Each had been posthumously promoted by the division. DeMonte grew up in Middletown and performed for John Geary at Middletown Excessive.

** Save the date: The Thomas J. Serra Memorial Golf Event shall be held once more on July 14th at Portland Golf Course. The sphere for the fourth annual event fills up rapidly, so do not hesitate. The event advantages the Thomas J. Serra Memorial Scholarship, which funds Middletown Excessive College college students and Vinal Regional Technical Excessive College college students, and nonprofit organizations reminiscent of The First Tee of Connecticut, Hospital for Particular Care and Northern Middlesex. YMCA.

Paul Augeri is a contract author for Middletown Press.

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