March 25, 2019

It’s Sun-Day for Old Lyme! Kaczor’s Boys Play for Div. V State Basketball Championship at 10:30am Today

Coach Kirk Kaczor (center) leads the traditional Old Lyme boy’s basketball team huddle at the start of a game..

There’s nothing like an Old Lyme team participating in a high school state final to stir the sleepy towns of Lyme and Old Lyme to their core.

Extrapolating from past performance when Don Bugbee’s girls played (and won) the Class S State basketball championship in 2009 — the first played at Mohegan Sun — a conservative estimate suggests that at least half of the population of Lyme and Old Lyme will set their alarms early this morning, may even skip church (or perhaps the Catholics among us went yesterday evening …) and head east across the state to the arena at Mohegan Sun.

One assumes that pretty much every self-respecting, current Lyme-Old Lyme High Schooler will make their way to the arena this morning whether on a school bus or under their own steam. The parents of the boys on the Old Lyme varsity basketball team may even go to see the team bus off from the school at some God-forsaken hour …

The basketball game tipping off at 10:30 a.m. in the arena at Mohegan Sun will be the focus of their attention until around noon.

In a packed arena with likely around 5,000 fans present, can Kirk Kavzor’s boys pull off a spectacular win and topple top-seeded Innovation to bring the CIAC Division V trophy home to Old Lyme?

These third-seeded Wildcats have already crushed all previous records by becoming the first team in program history to reach the final. Can they now — urged on by their fervent supporters aged from 1 to 92 — take it one step further and make their tiny hometown the proudest for miles around and win the title?

In an exclusive and extraordinarily revealing email interview with LymeLine.com, Coach Kaczor gave us the inside story on how this exceptional team has reached the point it is at today, saying, “Two years ago we were 6-14 and a program in disarray.  The effort, attitude and culture were not anywhere near what I wanted it to be.  We were selfish and undisciplined, and it reflected poorly on me as well as the school.  We weren’t all that talented, but more importantly our attitude needed to change for our program to be successful.”

He continued, “Last year, we dedicated ourselves to improving both on and off the court.  We made a move to work with a strong group of sophomores and asked the older kids to help bring them along and to provide a fostering culture that valued teamwork and discipline. “

Interestingly he pointed to some small things that have made a big difference in team culture, such as, “We made new rules about tucking in practice jerseys and sprinting to help out teammate or opponent that went down during the game.  (You’ll see that during the game.)”

Kaczor concluded, “We had a great season.  We finished 15-5 but lost in the first round of our league tournament.  We entered the state tournament with a good seed but were beaten at the buzzer in the first round by Capital Prep.  However, during that season we created a culture and brotherhood that carried into the summer, fall and then back to the winter.”

Turning to this season, Kaczor said, “Everything was in place to run for the Sun.  I never said it, but the kids did.  It was the elephant in the room.  We knew we had the talent, effort, and attitude to get there.” He mused, “I just wondered if we could catch a break.  There always seems to be a little luck involved.,” adding, “Things just fell into place for us.”

Commenting on the tournament itself, Kaczor reflected, “We’ve played three excellent and young teams so far.  Beating a good Gilbert team in the second round.  Avenging our only home loss (on senior night) to Morgan in the quarters.  And this week, we beat a 16-4 Somers team that is really good.”

Kaczor ended with the words, “This season has been amazing in so many ways,” noting, “We just recently won the sportsmanship award presented by our Board 8 officials, as well.”

Let’s hope the season becomes a whole lot more amazing this morning! Good luck boys and Coach Kaczor … and GO WILDCATS!

 

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