Boys’ basketball caps off historic season with tough loss at Mohegan Sun Arena


Despite the loss, Staples boys’ basketball had a record-breaking season. (Photo by Mark Sikorski)

Each year, the Connecticut high school basketball teams who reach the state finals earn the reward to play the game at Mohegan Sun Arena. In the Division II state boys championship game, Staples High School and Saint Bernard High School squared off for the trophy on March 19. St. Bernard prevailed over Staples, with a final score of 63-50.

Students from both schools filed into Mohegan Sun Arena to watch their basketball team play one last time in the 2022-23 season. The highly anticipated matchup between the top-seeded St. Bernard Saints and the No. 7 Staples Wreckers drew eyes from all around.

The game between the 22-3 St. Bernard Saints and the 21-6 Staples Wreckers started off scrappy, with St. Bernard out-rebounding Staples from the beginning. Both teams found success on the defensive end, as Staples’ only real offensive production came from behind the 3-point arc.

Throughout the season, the Wreckers and 6’8” center Chris Zajac ’23 were able to consistently defend the paint, but the Saints’ athleticism and speed made it difficult for Staples to contain them down low.

The Wreckers fell 63-50 to St. Bernard in the CIAC Division II state championship. (Photo by William Murray ’25)

“St. Bernard played a great game,” Adam Udell ’25 said. “They were able to out-rebound us and set the tone early.”

A defensive-oriented first half of basketball left the score at 19-15 to the Saints when the two teams headed back into the Mohegan Sun locker rooms.

The second half commenced and St. Bernard went on an emphatic run, giving them a 12 point lead to end the third quarter. The tempo of the game seemed too much to handle for Staples as the St. Bernard backcourt duo of Cedrick Similien and Amyre Gray constantly pushed the pace of the game.

Although we fell just short at the end, I am so proud of everything that we accomplished as a team this season.

— Sam Clachko '26

Fight was shown by the Wreckers in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late and the St. Bernard Saints were crowned the CIAC Division II state champions with a final score of 63-5

“It was a great experience playing at Mohegan Sun.” Sam Clachko ’26 said. “Although we fell just short at the end, I am so proud of everything that we accomplished as a team this season.”