On Tuesday, March 7, the No. 9 ranked Coginchaug boys basketball team hosted the No. 24 ranked East Windsor Panthers. Despite their 10-10 record, the Devils knew that the Panthers came from a very competitive conference and that they would be a very tough team to beat. Emotions were also high for both teams because the last time they played each other was in the Class S state semi-finals back in the 2016-17 season when the Devils narrowly edged them 46-43, and East Windsor was seeking vengeance.

The Devils got off to a great start, leading by as much as 6-0 in the early portion of the first quarter. The lead would have been much larger, but No. 3 on the Panthers, Marcus Goss, was constantly firing threes for the team. The Devils, however, were still able to hold onto the lead and stayed ahead by a score of 11-6 after the first quarter (Goss had all of East Windsor’s points). Goss continued attacking the lead by firing more threes, causing Coginchaug to call a timeout, leading only 13-12. Things began moving slowly in the final minutes of the second quarter, and the Devils went into the half leading by a score of 17-14 (Goss still with all of E.W.’s points).

The Devils began moving the ball more efficiently in the third quarter and also began limiting their turnovers. The Devils were also very lucky to have Goss miss a series of 3-point attempts and took advantage by taking a 28-18 lead with two to play in the third quarter. The Panthers were eventually able to get more players on the board and cut the lead to 28-25 heading into the fourth quarter. Coginchaug began to pull away, tallying their lead to 36-29 halfway into the final quarter. Unfortunately for the Devils, an increased defensive effort shut the Devils down for the last four minutes, and the Panthers managed to tie the game as time expired.

East Windsor won the overtime tip-off and elected to hold the ball, cutting the time down to under two minutes remaining (overtime only lasts four minutes). Goss quickly took it to the basket with roughly 1:30 remaining to take East Windsor’s first lead of the game. Not looking to end their postseason so quickly, the Devils marched the ball down to the other side of the court and tied the game again at 38-38. The Panthers chose to hold the ball again for the last shot but were unable to make the game-winner.

Approaching double overtime, both teams were getting riled up on the court and sidelines. The Panthers won the tip-off again, but after one minute of holding the ball, Jameson fouled and sent a Panther to shoot 1-and-1 from the foul line. The first shot was missed, which allowed the Devils to rebound and take the ball up the court and take the 40-38 lead. The Devils managed to rebound again and brought it to their side of the court. The Panthers forced a turnover, but G. Murphy ran the full length of the court and blocked a crucial basket from falling. Some additional missed shots by East Windsor allowed the Devils to secure the ball and collect fouls, sending them to shoot from the line.

“It was very exciting, but I knew if we could stay cool under pressure and dig deeper, we would come out on top,” said Jameson. Jameson led the team with 22 points, and Goss tallied up 24 of his own (four from 3-point range).The Devils only missed one foul shot the remainder of the game, and the cushion of extra points allowed Coginchaug to hold on and win 50-46 over East Windsor.

The Devils will go on to face the No. 8 ranked St. Paul Catholic School on Thursday, March 9 in Bristol, and although this will be a tough game, the boys are hoping they will have some March magic, similar to what they had going for them in last year’s tournament run.

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