Central defeats St. Joseph in basketball

Bridgeport Central’s Dondre Daniels scored 24 points, 20 of them in an explosive second quarter, and coach Barry McLeod’s Hilltoppers ruined Senior Night for the St. Joseph High boys basketball team with a 77-54 victory over coach Chris Watts’ Cadets in Trumbull on Wednesday.

Central will take an 11-9 record into the Class LL state tournament, which it won a year ago.

St. Joseph finishes the season with a 4-16 record.

The Hilltoppers’ saw Dyshaun Pulliam score its first five points, as they bolted to a 13-9 lead after one quarter. St. Joseph was 4-for-16 from the floor.

Central used a 2-2-1 press to force six Cadets turnovers in the second period, which it turned into 10 points, and the Cadets missed a couple of press-break opportunities.

St. Joseph put together a couple of mini-rallies, sparked by Omar Telfer (five points), but missed the front end on a pair of one-and-one chances that would have helped cut into the deficit.

Daniels ripped the cords for three of his team’s five 3-pointers in the stanza, and also had three breakaway baskets, one of which he turned into a three-point play to make it 47-20 at the half.

The Cadets stayed with the man defense they switched to late in the first half, and it allowed them to get out in transition.

Telfer scored six points in the quarter, and Joe Mangiamele had five points, but Central, behind seven points by Pulliam, was able to extend its lead to 61-32 at the break. Pulliam finished with 18 points.

The Cadets were led by Telfer (14), Mangiamele (13) and Aaron Sells (10).

St. Joseph honored Central’s five seniors before the game — the injured Marcus Blackwell, Quinton Ballew, Daniels, Pulliam and Charles Richardson.

Next up was the Cadets senior cheerleaders, and then players'  Seamus Keating, Mangiamele, Aaron Sells and Tyson Williams walked to center court.