NEW BRITAIN - The winter season has finally reached past the halfway point and as athletes are entering the final stretch, finishing strong is important regardless of how the season has unraveled.
Newington’s Olivia St. Remy and Southington’s Shaun Wagner have played pivotal roles in the success of their teams in the past week.
The Newington girls basketball team ended a three-game losing streak last Thursday as it defeated Platt 60-51. And while the Indians got plenty of quality performances along the way from a number of players, it was St. Remy who made all the difference.
“We shared the ball a lot better [Thursday],” Olivia St. Remy said. “We were good defensively and we kept focus.”
“All of our heads were in the game and we just came out aggressive,” she added.
Olivia St. Remy scored 16 points on the night, helping Newington get that much closer to clinching a postseason berth.
“Olivia has been an impact player for us since her freshman year,” Newington head coach Richard Bangs said. “Over the summer and daily during practices, she works on her offensive game and has become a lot more aggressive on the offensive end.
“I believe Olivia is one of the best rebounders in the state, simply due to her commitment to constantly attack the board with her athleticism,” Bangs added. “The addition of her improved offensive skills has made her one of the top players in the CCC.”
The Southington wrestling team ended Saturday with a fourth-place finish thanks to senior Wagner.
“[Wagner]’s been tremendous,” Southington head coach Derek Dion said. “Every tournament he doesn’t fail to show up. It’s as good of a season we could’ve hoped for him. Hopefully he could finish it off strong and finish with good results in the state tournament.”
Wagner, the fifth seed in the 138-pound bracket, finished in first place.
“I’m not used to being that [low of a seed] in my own tournament,” Wagner said. “But I put my mind to it - seed didn’t matter - that I was going to wrestle no matter what.”
Wagner made sure to come out strong from the beginning.
After pinning Berlin’s Jacob Sparks in just 1:06 in the first round, the senior won his next three matches by decision, including the final against Ponaganset’s Richard Andrews - the team that won the overall tournament - 11-3.
And it wasn’t just the way he wrestled, but who he wrestled against that impressed his coach. Before making it to finals Wagner had to beat four competitors.
“[Shaun] had a loaded weight class,” Dion said, “He had to go through the fourth seed who was the LL finalist and the then had to go through the one seed and the two seed. He wrestled really well, it was battles all day so, I’m happy with his performance. It was really impressive. And he wrestled the best match of the day in the finals.”
Shelby Iava can be contacted at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org