The Chelsea High boys basketball team had their state title aspirations ended by a hot-shooting Reading High School team, 76-66, in the Division 2 North quarterfinals Saturday night at the Sol Nechtem Gymnasium.
Reading guard Trey Jones scored 33 points, with most of his baskets coming from long range. The Reading guards seemed to hit a key jumper whenever Chelsea was poised to make a run.
“We had a good night shooting the basketball,” said Reading coach Paul Morrissey. “There were soft rims, good backdrops. It’s a good place to shoot the ball.”
Chelsea senior guard Cesar Castro was superb in his final game. Despite being closely guarded by Reading players all game, Castro scored 34 points, including 12-for-14 from the free throw line.
“Castro is a great player,” said Morrissey. “He never stops. I thought we did a decent job playing defense.”
Junior Felix Crespo displayed his outside shooting capabilities, finishing with 23 points. Crespo should be one of the top players in the Commonwealth Conference next season. Troy Crossley and Eli Ortiz played well in starting roles for Chelsea. Chelsea’s 6-foot-7-inch center Mark Reddick had some bright moments, but he picked up a couple of early fouls that hindered his playing time.
Senior center Craig Szalkowski and freshman star-of-the-future Sammy Mojica provided a spark off the bench for the Red Devils.
Reading’s long-range accuracy was the difference, according to Chelsea High coach Jay Seigal.
“We knew Reading was a great ballclub but we didn’t anticipate Reading shooting the ball as well as they did,” said Seigal. “Trey Jones was very consistent with his shot, but I thought we played very good defense. They were just very consistent from the outside and tonight they were the better team.”
Castro will leave the program after a sensational four-year career that produced 1,254 points, third all time in school history.
“Cesar carried us and Felix really played a solid game,” said Seigal. “I think our guys left it all out on the court. The other team just played better than we did.”
Castro said the team played hard every game.
“We had a very successful season and I want to wish the returning players good luck next season,” said Castro. “I want to thank all the coaches. Coach Seigal was a great coach for me all four years. I can’t believe my high school career is all over.”
Castro will be making a final appearance for the Red Devils Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth Conference All-Star Game at Chelsea High School.