As the state tournaments start to wrap up, teams are finally finishing their winter season. But while there were plenty of strong performances along the way, some athletes have saved their best performance of the season for last.
Berlin’s Holden Murphy and Plainville’s Isabel Lozefski did just that.
Murphy showcased his skills for what could be a strong upcoming senior year in the Berlin boys basketball team’s season finale in the first round of the Division II state tournament last Monday.
Although the Redcoats fell short by five points, Murphy was a leading factor in keeping the game so close.
The 6-foot-3 forward scored 27 points, including three 3s. Murphy was also 6-for-7 at the free throw line.
“Holden probably has the most potential of anyone on our team and [Monday night] he showcased it,” Berlin head coach Mike Veneziano said. “He showcased it throughout the season at times, but [Monday] he was able to do it for 36 minutes. He’s got a lot of potential, he could be a special player for us.”
Murphy’s talent was even noticed by Southington, the Redcoats’ opponent that night.
“What a game [Holden Murphy had],” Blue Knights head coach John Cessario said. “What a great game. He’s a tremendous player. We knew about him going in. For [Murphy] to come in and do what he did was a true testament to his preparation. He’s a good player.”
The week leading up to the Redcoats game, Murphy and the rest of the Redcoats spent a lot of time focusing at practice. With so many games during the season, practice time can be scarce. So when Berlin found out it was playing against Southington, it was able to really see what it was up against and game plan for it.
Murphy in particular knew he was going to have a big game if the Redcoats were going to advance.
“I just knew I had to play well for the team to win,” Murphy said. “Everyone played well on our team [Monday], that’s why we were in it at the end. We really came together over the last week, we had one of the best weeks of practice for this last game and that’s why we played really well.”
Berlin finished its season 8-13, but Murphy already has his goals set high for next year’s basketball season.
“I just want to play well next season,” Murphy said. “I want my team to win and make it to the postseason and just go far.”
It was quite the season for the Plainville girls basketball team, which made huge strides this past season, reaching the state tournament with Lozefski playing a key role.
Just how important she was to her team was evident during the middle of the season when the senior guard went down with an ankle injury. Lozefski missed two games, but both were losses as the Blue Devils fell to Sacred Heart Academy and Bristol Eastern near the end of January.
“It was rough, watching my team play without me was hard,” Lozefski said. “But when I came back it was great.”
Lozefski brings a lot to the team not only does she score points, but her leadership and mentality made a large impact on Plainville. Lozefski was a four year varsity player for the Blue Devils and this year she was named captain.
“Isabel was a great leader for our team, very often helping the younger players understand plays, and help them to see things on the court,” Plainville head coach Jessica Neuweiler said. I always looked to her to bring a defensive intensity for our team and she brought the level of defensive pressure up. We were better when Isabel was on the court.”
It showed as Lozefski averaged 8.8 points per game, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals this season.
“Her quickness off the dribble was great and she would draw the foul and finish from the foul line,” Neuweiler said. “She always was an offensive threat and someone other teams had to scout.”
Lozefski was also selected to the CCC all-conference team this year.
“I think I did really well this season,” Lozefski said. “My team did great and we had such a great season it was nice to end on such a good note.”