Division V boys basketball: Windsor Locks wins its first title since 2001 over Shepaug Valley

UNCASVILLE – Dan Copes graduated from Windsor Locks in 2000. The next year, his basketball team won the Class S state title.

It’s been 22 years since then but Copes, now the Windsor Locks boys basketball coach, has his championship. Behind 22 points from sophomore point guard Sincere Monroe, who was a junior varsity player last season, the top-seeded Raiders won the Division V state championship Saturday afternoon with a 69-58 victory over Shepaug Valley at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“It was always in the back of my head, I missed it by a year,” Copes said. “It took a little while but I’m here and I have these guys to thank for it.”

The Raiders (22-4) used an 8-0 run in the third quarter to pull away from No. 7 Shepaug (17-8), which played in its first state championship game in 40 years.

Senior Evan Courtney had 18 points for Windsor Locks while junior Kyle Hinckley, who had eight rebounds and seven points, hit five of six free throws in the fourth quarter for Windsor Locks.

Philip Ostrosky led Shepaug with 17 points.

“Coming out of summer league, all my guys, I knew we had a good chance and we could get a run to the state chip,” Monroe said. “I came out a little slow. I picked up the pace, our team picked up the pace, I would have never been here without my teammates.”

Windsor Locks lost on a buzzer-beater in the Division V semifinals last year to eventual champion Windham. It only made the Raiders hungrier to get back.

“That’s the goal every year,” Copes said. “Losing all the pieces we did last year, most of our starting crew – most of our point scoring – I knew we had to put some guys in places they hadn’t been in before.”

Like Monroe, who didn’t play any varsity last year and said he was only nervous in his first start of the season. Saturday? Nope.

“As we started going through the season, I got more confident – me gaining more confidence in my team, my coach, them believing in me,” Monroe said.

Shepaug led 31-29 at halftime but Malike Alassani, who had been in foul trouble the first half, opened the third with a basket and Monroe hit two shots and Alassani had a putback and Windsor Locks was off and running.

“We started off slow in the first half,” Hinckley said. “We had to get a little more energy, work a little harder and we ended up doing that and once we got a lead, we knew we could settle down and take our time.

“We had to step up and play like we did in the games before and we got the win. It hasn’t hit me yet.”