Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Jeffers, Danbury beat Staples to capture sixth league crown


The Bruins’ Tomas Nosek celebrates his goal past Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin during the second period on Saturday in Boston.

WILTON — It was an emotional scene for the Danbury boys basketball players and coaches as the final seconds horn sounded and their fans stormed the court to celebrate the Hatters' FCIAC championsh­ip.

A few tears flowed from players and coaches as No. 3 seeded Danbury beat No. 6 Staples 69-53 at Zeoli Field House in Wilton Friday night.

“It feels great and the 'ship is back where it belongs. We knew tonight was going to be our night and we pulled through,” Danbury senior Christian Jeffers said. “It means everything. Four years of hard work, dedication but most importantl­y, since last spring after we lost in a first-round exit to Wilton last year, we buckled down from that moment to become champions today.”

Jeffers, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, had 25 points and was named MVP of the FCIAC Tournament.

Junior guard Nez Perkins scored 17 and senior Cush Perkins added 12 for the Hatters.

It is Danbury's sixth FCIAC championsh­ip, and first since 2018.

The key for Danbury

Danbury’s Christian Jeffers dunks action against Staples in Wilton on Friday.

was playing lockdown defense and controllin­g the rebounds on both sides.

The defense was so good, it held Staples scoreless in the second quarter and without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes

“Defend and rebound and we did that for 32 minutes tonight,” Danbury coach Casey Bock said. “We didn't play too clean in the first half on offense but we defended and we rebounded and we won the game. Last year, I thought we underachie­ved a little bit and we had everybody back. He moment we lost last year, the kids all dedicated themselves to winning the

FCIAC championsh­ip. It's really special.”

Despite holding Staples scoreless in the second quarter, Danbury only scored seven in the quarter and led 21-18 at halftime.

The Hatters were up 4136 after three but quickly pulled away, leading by as many as 20 with 2:58 to play.

Staples was playing in the school's first FCIAC championsh­ip game but did not have enough on this night.

“We got this runner-up trophy and there is not one in Staples and that is something they should e incredibly proud of,” Staples coach David Goldshore said. “We got beat and that happens. They didn't quit and they haven't quit all year.”

Staples was paced by 14 points from 6-8 senior center Chris Zajac and 13 from senior guard Cody Sale.

Not only did Jeffers lead the way scoring, he also played lockdown defense on Zajac most of the night, giving the AllFCIAC forward little room to operate in the paint.

“We played hard. Second quarter, we didn't even realize, we held them to zero points,” Jeffers said. “We know if we play the right way the whole game, no one can touch us.”

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