Cromwell's Victor Payne electric in Shoreline championship

Cromwell’s Victor Payne electrical in Shoreline championship

A lot for getting the taxes achieved this weekend. As a substitute, I spent the time fascinated by Victor Payne’s electrifying efficiency within the Shoreline Convention championship sport.

Till Friday night time, I’d by no means seen 16 minutes prefer it from a highschool participant.

Cromwell wanted each little bit of Payne’s takeover to overhaul Portland for its second straight Shoreline crown and seventh in John Pinone’s 22 years as coach. It wasn’t all Payne on the offensive finish, however fairly near it.

To recap:

The 6-foot-4 junior guard/ahead scored 33 of his 35 factors within the second half — practically 75 p.c of Cromwell’s offense — because the Panthers rallied to a 58-43 victory over a Highlanders group making their first look in a Shoreline last.

Payne spent the vast majority of the primary half on the bench with two fouls. In that point, Cromwell shot miserably from the perimeter, fell behind by as many as 14 and put simply 13 factors on the board. However the Panthers held their very own with out him, particularly on protection, to cut back their deficit to 9 (22-13) on the break.

Slightly than make a speech within the locker room, Pinone advised his gamers to remain the course. Which additionally meant Payne would return to the foxhole with them.

That, he did.

The Shoreline participant of the 12 months had the ball in his palms practically each possession from there on out. With a superior first step, he blew his defender off the ball, break up two when he needed to, and completed at or above the rim (three dunks) every time he attacked. He didn’t take a nasty shot. From the free throw line, 14 makes an attempt and 14 makes.

“We ran isolation for Victor at first of the third quarter,” teammate Jake Salafia mentioned. “After a few possessions, we saved scoring, and so they couldn’t cease him. We thought, ‘We’d as properly preserve giving him the ball.’ They couldn’t put a cease to him.”

With each basket and defensive cease, the Cromwell fan base’s roars grew louder. Even athletic director Kelly Maher, who does an ideal job of managing the scholar part’s habits, put her palms collectively when Payne scored.

“Possibly as a result of he sat 9 minutes, Victor’s legs had been slightly brisker than they usually can be,” Pinone mentioned. “On the finish of the third and fourth quarters it appeared like he was a distinct pace. He was going by folks like, ‘OK, I can do that.’ It appeared like he was in one other gear. He’s in nice form.”

At his core, Payne is an unselfish participant and simply an all-around terrific younger man. Pinone has needed to cajole him this season into taking extra photographs. Payne averages round 25 factors a sport. The quantity can be near 30 if he performed for his stats (which wouldn’t occur in Pinone’s program). He’ll play school ball for somebody.

The most effective half? Payne’s father, who performed at Central Connecticut and led the Blue Devils to a 2000 NCAA event berth, advised GameTimeCT final month that his son will play out his last highschool season at Cromwell.

And now the Panthers put together for the CIAC Division IV event. This isn’t Pinone’s finest group, however the Panthers of the previous, winners of two state titles, haven’t had a participant fairly like Victor Payne.


On the ladies’ facet, a win for No. 4 Mercy on Monday over No. 5 Foran would thrust the Tigers into the Class MM semifinals, both towards top-seeded Northwestern or SCC nemesis Daniel Hand. Hand and Mercy break up within the common season.

In Class M, half of the quarterfinal discipline is represented by Shoreline groups. No. 1 East Hampton, bidding for its first state title below longtime coach Shaun Russell, has a tricky draw towards the ultimate. The Bellringers host No. 8 St. Paul on Wednesday. The winner would get both No. 5 Coginchaug or No. 4 Bacon Academy. Bacon ousted East Hampton in final 12 months’s semifinals.

On the opposite facet of the bracket, No. 7 Cromwell visits No. Immaculate and No. 3 Valley Regional hosts No. 6 Granby. Cromwell is the final Shoreline group to succeed in a state last, profitable Class M in 2019.

On the boys’ facet, if Portland regroups from the Shoreline last, it has a extremely good shot to return to the Division V semifinals. The Highlanders have a first-round bye and will meet up once more with East Hampton if the Bellringers beat No. 20 Wolcott in Monday’s first-round sport.

In Division II, if Middletown (13-6) and Xavier (16-5) win two in a row, they’d meet within the quarterfinals with Xavier as host group. Are you able to think about? The colleges don’t play within the common season. In a uncommon matchup in any sport, the Blue Dragons and Falcons met within the Class L boys soccer semifinals in November (the Falcons rolled 5-1). Xavier management used the event to grandstand for the return of an annual soccer sport, however we all know there’s no likelihood of it taking place.

If a Middletown-Xavier basketball quarterfinal occurs, we should always all simply take pleasure in it.


Middletown squared away its 2023 varsity soccer schedule final week. The docket of 10 regular-season opponents consists of seven holdovers from 2022: Berlin, Windsor, Wethersfield, Enfield, Newington, Bristol Central and Manchester.

The newcomers are Conard, New Milford and Glastonbury. Conard and Glastonbury might be Central Connecticut Convention crossover video games, changing New Britain and South Windsor from ’22, and New Milford was drawn from the Connecticut Excessive College Soccer Alliance (Hillhouse was Middletown’s alliance opponent final fall).

The Blue Dragons open up towards Conard (3-7 in ‘22) in West Hartford. MHS will play its subsequent three — versus Glastonbury, New Milford and Windsor — at Rosek-Skubel Stadium earlier than hitting the midway mark at Manchester.

“I’m proud of the schedule,” Middletown coach Josh Rosek mentioned. “Two of the primary three are towards playoff groups. Add Windsor and Manchester within the combine and the primary half of the season goes to be a problem.”

The following 5: Wethersfield on the street, Enfield at residence, Newington and Bristol Central on the street, and at last Berlin at residence on the Friday earlier than Thanksgiving, Nov. 17.

“For the second half, we get plenty of acquainted faces, which all the time poses a problem,” Rosek mentioned. “We’re wanting ahead to it. I really like the alliance sport too. New Milford is a group we wouldn’t usually play. That they had an ideal 12 months making the (Class L) playoffs and so they’re going to be good once more.”

Wethersfield (MM), Glastonbury (LL) and Berlin (M) additionally had been playoff qualifiers in 2022. Solely Berlin performed for a championship. The Redcoats beat Middletown to cap a 10-0 common season, with the win denying the Blue Dragons a spot within the Class L discipline.


A number of Middletown-based groups within the Prof Gallitto Youth Basketball League received championships for the 2022-23 season.

Staff Tanaja Inexperienced received the ladies division for grades 3-5. Staff members: Isabel Barnes, Myla Checovsky, Liliana Hardges, Camiya Moore, Graycen Murphy, Xenia Osborne, Prisicilla Tobias, Suri Vargas, Abigail Vaughters, Ryann Vaughters and Sa’Nya Walford

Staff Illiano’s received the ladies division for grades 6-8. Staff members: Ghalia Ahbbak, Haiden Bennett, Nyah Brightwell, Ziva Cawley, Liliana Demerchant, Leslie Mcmullen, Annabella Waters and Brooklyn Waters.

The Bulls, coached by Corey Gordon Sr. , received the boys newcomers division for grades 3-4. Staff members: Hazel Aristega, Jason Dorau, Jaxson Dorau, Corey Gordon Jr., Caleb Gordon, Robinson Manning, Nicholas Oberle, Telvin Sears and Lennon Brief.

The Steelers, coached by Joe Smith, received the boys intermediate division for grades 5-6. Staff members: Maurice Barker, Amar’e Chimming, Amir Chimming, Larry French III, Maxwell La, Terryon Love, Noah Moraven, Kenechi Nwachuku and Mekhi Waters.

The Tigers, coached by Macy Watson, captured the title within the boys superior division for grades 7-8. Staff members: L.J. Barnes, Angel Bonet, Anthony Comas, Mekhi Eaddy, Kyree Fletcher, Jamere Flowers, Mason Harlon, Jadarius Manson, Alessandro Salafia and Jayden Treloar.

Paul Augeri is a contract author for the Middletown Press.


Author: ZeroToHero

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