Bassick upends East Hartford in Division I basketball tourney

March 10, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — Bassick began Friday night’s Division I Tournament game against visiting East Hartford with a flurry, scoring the matchup’s first 10 points. Yet the Lions stormed out to an even more impressive start in the second half, tallying 19 of the first 20 points in the third quarter.

As it turned out, third-seeded Bassick needed most of those points, as 14th-seeded East Hartford mounted a spirited fourth-quarter comeback. But the 24-point hole the Hornets dug for themselves was just too much for them to climb out of.

Senior 6-foot-9 center Jaelin Gallimore scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while junior guard Kevin Crawford added 15 points and reached the 1,000 career-point plateau for Bassick in its 70-60 victory over East Hartford in the Round of 16.

The Lions (20-1) advanced to Monday’s quarterfinal round, where they will play sixth-seeded Hamden at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven at 7 p.m. Friday’s game marked the Lions’ first since they defeated Warren Harding in its regular-season finale on Feb. 26.

“Our team was antsy, they were nipping at the bit and ready to go,” said Bassick coach Bernie Lofton, whose squad lost in the second round of the Class L Tournament last season. “We haven’t played much, so I was worried about facing a team of this caliber. But we jumped on them early, which has been our trademark all year.”

Crawford’s basket giving him 1,000 career points was a big one. With Bassick clinging to a 64-58 lead and East Hartford riding the momentum, Crawford’s putback with 2:02 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the home team an eight-point advantage.

“It is a big accomplishment, it was on my list of goals for my four years of high school,” Crawford said. “I didn’t really know I was near 1,000 points until I did it.”

East Hartford, which fell behind 53-29 in the third quarter, finished its season at 14-7 for coach Ed Lavoie, whose team lost to Hillhouse in last winter’s Class LL championship game.

“We came back in the second half, which shows the character of the kids, they didn’t give up,” Lavoie said. “They chipped back little by little and cut it back to four. Credit to Bassick, they made shots down the stretch to extend their lead.”


The Lions, who never trailed, jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and the Hornets played catch-up the rest of the way.

Layups by senior forward Jace Darby and Crawford and a dunk off a steal by Jaelin Gallimore gave Bassick a quick 6-0 lead with 6:39 to go in the first quarter. Senior forward Jordan Gallimore banked in a shot from the low post and Jaelin Gallimore scored on a putback, making it 10-0 with 4:56 left in the opening quarter. Meanwhile, the Hornets had trouble setting up its offense against the Lions’ aggressive man-to-man halfcourt defense. It was also difficult for them to break Bassick’s full-court press.

“It is hard to break our press,” Jaelin Gallimore said. “We move fast and use our quickness and strength.”

Junior guard Quinton Haugton’s layup gave East Hartford its first points of the game with four minutes left in the opening quarter.

Bassick took an 18-11 lead into the second quarter.


After starting the second half with a 34-27 edge, the Lions outscored the Hornets, 19-1, over the first 6:07 of the third quarter to build a 53-29 lead.

Bassick was thriving in transition, getting second and third shots. East Hartford, which settled down in the second quarter, once again had trouble with Bassick’s press during the third quarter.

“Their pressure is tough,” Lavoie said. “They are where they need to be on the court and we gave in mentally and did not have our guys aligned properly to attack it. Once we did that in the fourth quarter, we were able to attack the basket and get them in foul trouble.”

Said Lofton: “We made a quick spurt on them, making it tough for them to adjust. That’s what we try to do, wear teams down.”


East Hartford used its 3-point shooting to cut into the Lions’ lead. Consecutive 3-pointers from Jorelle Jerrnigan and Raquan Tompkins brought the visitors to within 53-35 late in the third quarter. A pair of free throws by Jerrnigan and a basket by DeAndre Kelly sliced Bassick’s edge to 64-58 at the 4:30 mark of the fourth quarter.

“Hats off to East Hartford, they are a good team, I was impressed with them,” Lofton said. “We made some big shots and big foul shots down the stretch.”

Senior captain/guard Qualon Wilkes and junior guard Emery Linton scored nine points apiece, while Darby and Jordan Gallimore each had six for the victors.

Jerrnigan, Haugton and Kelly each poured in 12 points for the Hornets.


Jaelin Gallimore made timely baskets whenever the Hornets made their move.

“In the first half he carried us and set the tone,” Lofton said. “He helped us get off to a good start with his rebounds and blocked shots.”

Crawford helped keep his squad composed in the second half.

“Kevin is a super player and with him, it’s more than points,” Lofton said. “His defense and his rebounding were key for us.”


“We are determined to get to the finals,” Crawford said. “Every day we work hard and focus on staying together as a team.”



Jaylin Palmer 0 1-2 1; AJ Douglas 1 2-2 5; Mark McCalop 1 7-9 10; Raquan Tompkins 3 1-1 8; Quinton Haughton 3 3-3 12; Jorelle Jerrnigan 3 3-4 12; DeAndre Kelly 5 2-3 12. Totals: 17 19-24 60.


Qualon Wilkes 2 5-6 9; Jace Darby 3 0-0 6; Teron Griffin 1 0-0 3; Jordan Gallimore 3 0-0 6; Jaelin Gallimore 8 0-1 16; Kevin Crawford 6 2-4 15; Emery Linton 4 0-1 9; Emmanuel Rivera 2 0-0 6. Totals: 29 7-12 70.

EAST HARTFORD 11 16 11 22 — 60

BASSICK18 16 22 14 — 70

3-pointers: EC — Douglas, McCalop, Tompkins, Haugton 3; Jerrnigan 3; B — Griffin, Crawford, Linton, Rivera 2.