FAIRFIELD -- Last season, Hillhouse used its dominance against Fairfield Prep as a springboard to a championship season.
The Jesuits still have some work to do, but they're on their way to returning the favor in 2014.
In the fourth meeting between the SCC powers this season -- and eighth in the last two years -- top-seeded and still unbeaten Prep rolled past Hillhouse 71-47 in the Class LL quarterfinals on Monday before a sellout crowd of 2,500 at Alumni Hall.
It was the Jesuits' (26-0) fourth win over the Academics this year after going 1-3 against the New Haven school last season.
"I always say, `we focus on what we do well and how we want to play the game,' " Jesuits coach Leo Redgate said. "You can't let memories come into play. You need to learn from those memories, then quickly put them in the back of your minds."
The Jesuits did that home and away in the regular season, then again in a 56-52 defeat of Hillhouse for their first SCC title. They did it on Monday too, outscoring the Academics 42-23 in the second half to advance to their fourth straight state semifinal.
The Jesuits will face No. 4 Greenwich (23-3) -- a 59-54 winner over No. 5 New Britain -- on Wednesday at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena at 7 p.m.
Hillhouse, the defending LL champion, finished the year 20-6.
"They're seasoned veterans," Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton said of Prep. "They went through the fire with us last season. This season they put us through the fire."
Point guard Keith Pettway scored 26 points, and center Paschal Chukwu recorded 15 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks to carry the Jesuits. Shooting guard Thomas Nolan added 19 points.
Hillhouse trailed only 29-24 at halftime, but Prep used a 10-4 spurt in the third to push their lead to double digits for the first time. The Academics hit only two field goals in a dismal seven-point third quarter.
"Every time we played them, we still had the taste of the losses from last year," the 7-foot-2 Chukwu said.
The Jesuits led by 14 after three quarters and by as many as 27 in the lopsided fourth quarter. That was in far contrast from the SCC final, in which the Jesuits nearly let the Academics come back from 13 down in the second half.
"We learned from the SCC final that we need to finish games," Pettway said. Read Full Article
Hillhouse got 14 points from Shane Christie and 13 from Raiquan Clark.
The Academics led 18-15 during a physical second quarter, but Prep quickly evened it at 22-22. The Jesuits closed the half on a 7-2 run with five points from Nolan.
In the second half, the Jesuits sliced through Hillhouse's pressure defense.
"If teams are going to pressure us, we're very good at breaking pressure," Redgate said. "We just have to attack the rim afterwards and not get away from what we're doing. I thought we did an outstanding job of doing that tonight."
Fairfield Prep 71, Hillhouse 47
Class LL quarterfinals at Alumni Hall
Wayne Whyte II 0 0-2 0 Dion Allick Boyd 0 2-2 2 Joe Kasperzyk 0 0-0 0 Corey Barrett 2 0-0 5 Troy Walters Jr. 0 2-3 2 John Lewis 3 0-0 6 Ellis Goodlow 0 0-0 0 Shane Christie 4 3-6 14 Raiquan Clark 6 1-3 13 Dontell Glover Jr. 0 0-0 0 Aaron White 2 1-1 5. Totals 17 9-17 47.
FAIRFIELD PREP (26-0)
Ryan Murphy 0 0-0 0 Keith Pettway 7 12-18 26 Thomas Nolan 6 5-5 19 Ray Featherston 2 2-2 8 Dave Zielinski 0 0-0 0 Ryan Foley 3 0-1 3 Paschal Chukwu 7 1-2 15 Richard Van de Berghe 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 20-28 71.
HILLHOUSE 8 16 7 16 -- 47
PREP 11 18 16 26 -- 71
3-pointers: H -- Christie 3, Barrett. P -- Nolan 2, Featherston 2, Foley.