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Freshman Jake Palluzzi scored 24 points to lift the Branford boys’ basketball team to a 53-46 victory over Guilford in the quarterfinals of the SCC Division II Tournament on March 20. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
The Branford boys’ basketball squad lost to East Haven in its regular-season finale and then notched a win against Guilford in an SCC Division II Tournament quarterfinal game last week. The Hornets, who are 8-5 overall, advanced to face Lyman Hall in the semifinals of the tournament.
Branford dropped a 54-38 home game versus East Haven in its regular-season finale on March 15. Branford held a 21-20 halftime advantage, but the Yellowjackets outscored the Hornets 19-10 in the third quarter to take a 39-30 lead into the fourth. East Haven then won the final frame by a 15-8 differential to pull away for the victory.
Senior Justin Elpi scored 17 points for the Hornets in the game. Fellow seniors Jack Van Gelder and Dominic Bonanno both scored eight points for Branford.
On March 20, the Hornets hosted No. 5 Guilford for a quarterfinal game in the SCC Division II Tournament. Branford, which had earned a first-round bye, claimed a 53-46 win against the Grizzlies in the quarterfinal contest.
Guilford held a 15-13 lead after the first quarter and was up 26-21 at halftime. However, Branford stormed back by outscoring the Grizzlies 20-9 during the third quarter to bring a 41-35 lead into the fourth, then held off Guilford the rest of the way to emerge victorious.
Palluzzi scored 24 points for the Hornets in the victory. Elpi netted 17 points to help Branford notch the win.
Branford played at No. 1 seed Lyman Hall in the SCC Division II semifinals on March 23 (after press time). With a win, the Hornets would face the winner of No. 2 seed East Haven and No. 3 Hand in the title game on Friday, March 26.
Boys’ Ice Hockey
The Branford boys’ ice hockey team took a defeat against Cheshire in its regular-season finale and then lost a close game versus Lyman Hall in the quarterfinals of the SCC-SWC Division II Tournament last week. The Hornets finished with a record of 2-5 for the winter season.
On March 15, Branford took a 7-5 road loss to Cheshire at Lou Astorino Ice Arena in Hamden in its last game of the regular season. The Hornets struck first when sophomore Matt Morgan scored from seniors Billy Linder and Dan Farricielli 5:23 into the game. However, Cheshire came back by scoring two goals during the first period and four goals in the second period to take a 6-1 lead into the third.
Senior Sawyer Moriarty scored from senior Declan Ross and Billy Linder to cut it to 6-2 early in the third. Cheshire responded with a goal just 33 seconds later to make it 7-2. Branford tried to mount a comeback by scoring the last three goals of the game, but Cheshire held on for the 7-5 victory. Morgan scored from Billy Linder, sophomore Colin Deane scored from sophomore Michael Linder and Moriarty, and Ross scored an unassisted goal to account for the Hornets’ late surge.
Morgan finished the game with two goals, Billy Linder dished out three assists, while Ross and Moriarty both had a goal with an assist in the game. Sophomore Jack Linder played goalie for Branford and made 33 saves in net.
Two-time defending champion Branford entered the SCC-SWC Division II Tournament as the No. 9 seed and was slated to face No. 8 Guilford in a first-round game on March 18. However, the game was canceled after Guilford withdrew from the tournament due to a team quarantine, and Branford thus advanced into the quarterfinal round.
Branford took on top-seeded Lyman Hall in its quarterfinal matchup at Northford Ice Pavilion on March 20. The Hornets dropped a 5-4 decision against Lyman Hall in the game.
The Branford girls’ basketball team took a loss in the SCC Division II Tournament and then finished off its year by dropping a contest against East Haven in its season finale last week. The Hornets finished their campaign with an overall record of 2-10.
Branford was the No. 7 seed in the SCC Division II Tournament and opened up the draw by hosting No. 10 seed Guilford for a first-round game on March 17. The Hornets took a 40-28 defeat against the Grizzlies in the contest.
Then on March 19, Branford faced East Haven on the road in a game that had been postponed from earlier in the week. The Hornets took a 55-51 loss to the Yellowjackets in their last matchup of the year.