NEW BRITAIN - The Hearts (Waterbury) left New Britain High School with some hardware.
Behind a dominant first half, the Hearts rolled to an easy 78-64 victory over CT Flight (Leyard) to win the 26th annual Osgood Shootout High School Division Sunday.
Jon Kuminga was named the division’s MVP and led Waterbury with 37 points, including four 3-pointers, all within the first half. Nate Tabor added 20 points and three 3’s of his own.
Max Edwards led CT Flight with 26 points, scoring three 3’s in the second half.
“We came out and do what we had to do,” Tabor said. “We played together, and coach [Bryan Heron] just told us what to do and we did it.”
The Hearts controlled possession for the nearly entire first half and jumped out to an early 13-4 lead after the first five minutes.
It wasn’t until midway through the half the CT Flight were able to get things going. Ledyard held Waterbury scoreless for five minutes, using strong defense to go on a 7-0 run. But CT Flight’s run was a short one as the Hearts went on an 11-point run of their own to end the half.
“The game was alright, we were a little sloppy,” Heron said. “We tried to clean it up as much as possible, but I thought the guys played hard and we ended up pulling it out.”
Kuminga had a lot to do with that. The MVP scored 19 points after halftime.
“They just told me to come play, even though I didn’t know a lot of people here,” said Kuminga, who was playing in the Osgood Shootout for the first time. “I only knew a couple people on my team [from Sacred Heart High School]. I just came here to show who I am and what I can do. I really liked this tournament, it was fun and I’m coming back next year.”
The Osgood Shootout gives numerous teams the opportunity to focus on their skill set before the start of school year and season. Sacred Heart finished last season as the runner-up to Notre Dame-Fairfield in the CIAC Division I boys basketball tournament. But for some, there’s anyways something special about the Osgood.
“For some of us, it’s the first time we’re participating in the tournament,” Tabor said. “I’ve played [here] before. I really like the gym, the crowd, just New Britain as a whole. I love playing out here.”
Heron enjoys bringing his team back to the Osgood Shootout every year. When he was younger, he would participate in the tournament and knows the benefits it provides teams, especially the younger ones, with the competition it provides.
“I love coming back to this tournament as much as I can,” Heron said. “I played the open division, I never played the high school, but I love this tournament. It’s good for the state so I love it.”
Now, the Hearts are heading back to Waterbury with some quality experience. Bringing back the trophy isn’t too bad either.
“We have a lot of new guys,” Heron said. “So I just told them to go out there and play hard, share the ball. We have a lot of talent and the individual talent showed tonight.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org