McSherry Law captures NBA championship
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Basketball Association concluded its playoffs Tuesday night at City Hill Middle School, as McSherry Law swept Nardelli’s, 2-0, in the championship series to claim the NBA crown.
The Lawmen finished a perfect, 16-0 season with a 60-37 victory. They had taken game one of the best-of-three series with the Grinder Guys by a convincing, 77-54 margin Monday.
Sean Brelsford knocked down 24 points, blistering the nets with six three-pointers to pace McSherry Law, last year’s NBA runner-up. Jake Mulhall threw in 17 points with a big game in the paint, and Seth Mulhall added eight points for the Lawmen, who led 42-14 at the half.
“We came into this series fired up,” McSherry head coach Bill Cowan said. “We should have taken it last year,” in reference to his team’s loss to Rich’s Car Works in the final game. “This year we knew what we had to do, and we had the players to do it. We were strong inside and had the outside shooting to keep teams on their heels.”
The Lawmen built a 13-6 first-period advantage with Jake Mulhall (25 points and 10 rebounds) doing most of the damage. He netted eight in the stanza.
McSherry began to pull away with an inside tandem of Brandon Halbert (seven rebounds, three blocks) and Jake Bendler (13 points, six rebounds) cleaning house in the paint.
Dave Kimball (six assists) directed the offense from the point guard spot and with four minutes to go in the first half, the Lawmen were in control, holding a 26-15 lead.
Evan Dwyer and Billy Tiscia (six points) banged home shots with Zack Williams, R.J. Hanson and Conner Mohan tightening up the defense, allowing only one more Nardelli’s point the rest of the half.
McSherry took a 34-16 lead into the locker room. Despite being a man down, with Rob Antidormi on the bench, sporting crutches and a cast, the Lawmen dominated on both ends of the court.
Nardelli’s stayed with the Lawmen in the second half, outscored by only a 26-21 margin, but the game was decided by the 21-10 edge McSherry gained in the second period.
Nardelli’s gave a game effort, led by Nick Santo (11 points) and Justin Petella (eight points), with Manny Nobre (six points, six steals), Ryan Petella and Eddie Barrett (five rebounds) working to cut the deficit.
By the time the B-squads took the court at the end of the third period, McSherry was in front by a commanding, 44-20 margin. Mike Butkus (four rebounds) gave the Grinder Guys a lift with hard-nosed play under the boards.
The Lawmen entered the final quarter with a comfortable, 46-25 margin. Nardelli’s tried to battle back, but it was too little, too late, as McSherry won going away, by a 60-37 final margin. In an act of sportsmanship, the Lawmen brought on Antidormi—cast and all—for the final shot, as the seconds ticked off the clock.
“I think we came into the season thinking we had something to prove after last year’s tough loss in the final game,” Cowan said.