Sports: Coast Guard men's bas­ket­ball tops Conn Col­lege to re­main un­beaten

Scores 40 as un­beaten Bears win the Route 32 show­down

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By MIKE DiMAURO

New Lon­don — If Packy Witkowski, the ju­nior shooter at Coast Guard Academy, were any hot­ter Thurs­day night, he'd have been com­manded to stop, drop and roll.

The kid barely missed, set­ting school records for most 3-point field goals (10) and points (40) in one game, lead­ing the resur­gent Bears to a 10172 stroll over Con­necti­cut Col­lege, earn­ing Coast Guard the 2018 Route 32 cham­pi­onship.

Coast Guard (7-0) goes for the un­of­fi­cial city col­lege bas­ket­ball ti­tle Satur­day at Mitchell, which would con­clude a most suc­cess­ful ri­valry week for the pro­gram. The Bears dusted ri­val Mer­chant Ma­rine last Sun­day be­fore in­hal­ing Conn (2-5).

Witkowski's 40 points were im­pres­sive enough on their face, per­haps more so con­sid­er­ing he didn't score in the Bears' last home game.

“I got a good night's sleep this time,” Witkowski said, il­lus­trat­ing some­thing per­haps only his fel­low Cadets can ap­pre­ci­ate, given their time de­mands. Per­haps Coast Guard coach Kevin Jask­iewicz can or­der Witkowski to be­gin nap­ping forth­with in prepa­ra­tion for the Mitchell game.

“I was for­tu­nate enough to coach a 2,000-point scorer,” Jask­iewicz said, al­lud­ing to Earl Hunt, who he coached at Brown with Glen Miller. “I can say that Packy is the best shooter I've ever coached.”

Witkowski's 40th point, which earned him the school record, came with 6:50 re­main­ing. He scored 40 points in 30 min­utes.

“My team­mates did a great job get­ting me the ball,” Witkowski said. “It started to feel like I couldn't miss.”

He was 14-22 from the field, 10-15 from 3-point range and had a sea­son-high eight re­bounds.

Tyler Perez had 18 points and J.T. Cox scored 12 for the Bears who be­gin play in the

“We just trust and be­lieve in each other. The last two years have been tough at times. But it's all pay­ing off now.” COAST GUARD'S PACKY WITKOWSKI

New Eng­land Women's and Men's Ath­letic Con­fer­ence next month.

Jask­iewicz, not­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in the NEWMAC, said Coast Guard's 7-0 non­league record ac­com­plishes now is to al­low the Bears to “keep pace.”

Still, this is a wel­come change in a pro­gram that's strug­gled to win in re­cent years. Ah, but the erst­while young play­ers aren't so young any­more. The Bears are a-comin.'

“We just trust and be­lieve in each other,” Witkowski said. “The last two years have been tough at times. But it's all pay­ing off now.”

Jask­iewicz, who also coached a Fi­nal Four team at Conn with Miller, said, “the most im­pres­sive thing to me about our team this year is the guys' com­mit­ment to win­ning. Not just play­ing. But win­ning. They have a men­tal ap­proach to win­ning now.”

David La­bossiere led Conn with 17 points and Jack Zim­mer­man had 12. The Camels played for in­terim coach Dan Lee, who re­placed Tom Sa­tran, the long­time coach who re­signed last week. [email protected]­day.com

DANA JENSEN/THE DAY

Coast Guard’s Packy Witkowski (12) goes up for a 3-point shot dur­ing Thurs­day’s game against Con­necti­cut Col­lege at the Roland Field House in New Lon­don. Coast Guard won 101-72. Please go to the­day.com to view a photo gallery from the game.

DANA JENSEN/THE DAY

Con­necti­cut Col­lege’s Ryan Om­slaer (25) goes up for a shot against Coast Guard’s Tyler Perez (32) dur­ing Thurs­day’s game at the Roland Field House in New Lon­don.

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