Stratford High's Tyler Ciccia, right, reacts after bumping a Masuk player during Tuesday's game in Monroe. (Photo by John Nash)

BOYS BASKETBALL: Stratford qualifies for state tourney, loses August in loss to Masuk

MONROE—On Friday night, up in Brookfield, the Stratford High boys basketball team earned one of its biggest wins of the season—a 57-46 win over Brookfield to clinch a spot in the state tournament.

On Tuesday night at Masuk High, the Red Devils suffered a scary loss that left the team short on the scoreboard, as well.

Masuk bested the Red Devils 71-65, but Stratford played the entire second half without top scorer Joe August.

August was accidentally undercut on a rebound, sending him crashing to the court back and head first.

He is in concussion protocol moving forward as Stratford heads into its final three games of the regular season—all at home against Immaculate (Thursday), Brien McMahon (Saturday) and New Milford (next Tuesday).

“Losing Joey obviously hurts. He’s been our guy all year,” Stratford coach Tim Swaller said. “I’ll have to see what’s up. He’s going to have to get evaluated so we’ll see.”

August had scored eight points in the first half, but Stratford still trailed 43-31.

Jayquan Kirkland, right, drives to the hoop during Tuesday’s game at Masuk. (Photo by John Nash)

Jayquan Kirkland netted 16 of his 24 points in the second half as the Red Devils twice made it a one-possession game before poor shot selection and some key turnovers left Stratford on the short end of the stick for the ninth time this season.

“I thought in the second half, we played a lot harder,” Swaller said. “We made it a competitive game in the second half, but the problem was the first half. We just a little too passive, didn’t come up with the loose balls, we got out-rebounded and they got to the basket on us.”

The inconsistent play has been a staple of Stratford’s 8-9 season, the coach said.

“You can call it what it is,” Swaller said. “At times, we struggle to play 32 minutes.”

Brady Knorr added 13 points to Stratford’s effort while Mike D’Aloia chipped in 10 more.

Against Brookfield, Stratford clinched the state tournament berth with a 57-46 win.

Kirkland had 20 points to lead the charge while Scott Knorr had 12 and August had 11.

While it was a three-point game at the half, a 15-6 third-quarter advantage gave Stratford some breathing room.

“It was a good win to get the win, obviously, on the road up there, on Senior Night, regardless of their record,” Swaller said. “We knew were playing for eight. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we held it together.”

THE PHOTO ALBUM

Straford Boys Basketball at Masuk

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