’s quest for another shot at a state boys’ basketball title came to an end on Wednesday as the Whalers fell to St. Joseph 69-59.
The game marked a showdown between two defending state champions. The Whalers , while the Cadets won the Class LL division.
St. Joseph led 29-19 at the half. New London repeatedly closed the gap, tying the game on four occasions in the second half, but were unable to pull ahead. The score stood at 40-38 at the end of the third quarter.
The Whalers pulled to within three points with about a minute and a half remaining in the game. The Cadets pulled away with a series of foul shots, but New London again closed the gap with a three-pointer to put the score at 61-57. The Cadets then made one last rally, putting on a cushion of eight points while allowing just a single Whaler basket before the close of the game.
The final will be between the top two teams in the division, as number two ranked Hillhouse defeated Fairfield Prep 60-47 on Wednesday. Both St. Joseph and Hillhouse have an undefeated 24-0 record in the CIAC season, and were the only schools New London lost to during the season.
The Whalers and to make the quarterfinals, then on Monday in a grueling double overtime game.
The last pairing between New London and St. Joseph on Dec. 28 resulted in a 57-52 win for St. Joseph.
New London finishes the season at 18-3 in CIAC action and 21-3 overall when ECC games are included. The Whalers won the ECC division for the fifth straight time this year.