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Bits & Pieces



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Bits & Pieces

By Kim J. Harmon

Am I encouraged by what the Newtown High School boys’ basketball team has been able to do so far this season?

You bet I am. And you should be to.

First off, forget about that rout at the hands of Weston last Friday in the championship game of the Newtown Holiday Tournament … and, no, it wasn’t a fluke. The Nighthawks did not play well enough on defense to slow down a very aggressive, speed-oriented attack made all the more potent by enormous size in the low blocks and a great shooting touch from the outside.

But remember this – the ‘Hawks were 4-16 a year ago and now they are 4-2.

How can we not be encouraged by that?

Oh, sure, they may end up 8-12. But they could also end up 12-8 … or even better.

What is great is how this team has been working together so far. You could say it starts with senior guard Joe DeVellis – one of the most dynamic playmakers in the South-West Conference who can shoot from the arc, dart inside, likes to take on any big man on the court, and plays defense with a frantic precision that is a wonder to behold.

He is only a part of it, though. The ‘Hawks did not have much of a presence in the middle last year as Mike Kennedy began a rugged first season on the varsity floor. But Kennedy – and reserve power forward/center Shaun Coakley – have seemingly come back with a vengeance … especially Kennedy, who has come back leaner and stronger and now can not only score, but rebound and block shots.

Then there is Kevin Troy, a guy who was lost to a wrist injury for a major part of the year. But he is back and healthy and when he is on there may be no better shooter in the SWC. The kid can also block shots (like he did against Weston) because he may be the best jumper on the team.

Danny Smith, Jason Smith and Jack Quinn are consistent ballplayers who may never put up the big numbers (mostly because there are others doing that) but every team needs those good ballhandlers and defenders to bind all the pieces together.

The wildcard is sophomore Jake DeVellis, who comes off the bench and almost immediately provides an enormous spark – like two exposed wires coming into contact with each other. Through the first two weeks of the season, he is averaging about 10 points a game and it’s his ability to dribble out of almost any situation and his speed out on the open floor that makes him so dangerous.

Okay, the ‘Hawks may not be as good as they were against Ridgefield last week when they scored better than 80 points and attacked the Tigers from just about every spot on the floor. Nor may they be as bad as they were against Weston when they simply could not slow the Trojans down or contend with the huge presence in the low blocks.

The ‘Hawks are probably somewhere in between those two games – but, still, that’s a place where they can be very, very good.

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Hey, do you want to meet Chris “Mad Dog” Russo of WFAN?

Well, Mad Dog will be the guest speaker at the Housatonic Valley Sports Organizing Committee fundraising breakfast on Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 am, at the new Western Connecticut State University Westside Student Center.

You can also wait tables by sponsoring a table of 10 for $175 and acting as a celebrity waiter or waitress, serving breakfast to your guests and asking for tips.

Individual tickets to the event are $25. Proceeds (including all tips) will go toward HV Sports support of the 2008-2009 Nutmeg State Games hosted by the City of Danbury with official headquarters at Western Connecticut State University, the 3rd annual Greater Danbury Half Marathon-5K and Kids Run and future sporting events and activities held in the region.

For further information, contact the co-chairpersons – Jody Rajcula (203-837-8688 or rajculaj@wcsu.edu) or Wayne Shepperd (203-796-1649 or w.shepperd@ci.danbury.ct.us)

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One of the lesser known, but no less important aspects of summer baseball leagues is the support the players get from the community.

The Danbury Westerners are looking for that kind of support this summer, asking area families to open their doors and welcome players, interns and coaches into their homes for eight weeks during the New England Collegiate Baseball League season.

A bed and some moral support is all they are asking.

For more information or to apply contact John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Host Family Committee, at 203-675-2005. Or you can write him, care of the Danbury Westerners, at PO Box 3828, Danbury, CT 06813.

The Westerners play all their home games are played at Rogers Park in Danbury.

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This was bound to happen.

With the rising popularity of vintage base ball, there has been the formation of the New England Blue Jacket Football Club, which will play tackle football by the NCAA rules of 1925 ... which include the forward pass.

Patrick “Blue” Reilly of the Providence Game Hens, a team the Newtown Sandy Hooks engaged on the diamond last year, announced the formation of this club a few weeks ago.

Can you imagine? Amateur football players tackling each other with equipment no more suited for protection than those plastic baseball helmets you get during Helmet Day at the ballpark?

If you’re interested, check out www.pasttimesports.biz/products/f1.html and www.pasttimesports.biz/products/f18.html.

What’s next?

Vintage basketball with those short-shorts?


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