Second-year Coach Tim Tallcouch is optimistic about his Newtown High School boys’ basketball team’s chances for success this year.
“I’m really excited about what I see from this group of kids,” Tallcouch said as the team practiced in preparation for the December 19 season opener against New Fairfield.
The Nighthawks lost a trio of graduates from last year’s team, which posted a 9-14 record, and lost in the South-West Conference quarterfinals and second round of the Class LL state tournament. Tallcouch’s goals are to at least qualify for both the conference and state playoffs, and the coach is optimistic that the returnees have an opportunity to make some noise to go deep in both brackets if they play hard.
“Do I think we have the horses to do it? Yes, I do,” Tallcouch said.
Those horses are led by senior captains: point guard Jake Ball, forward Michael Davis, and guards Brian LeBlanc and Chase Wurtz.
Other key players are juniors Julian Dunn, Harrison Depuy, Jeremy Doski, Troy Frangione, Will Dalton, Jacob Burden, and Charlie Huegi.
Tallcouch believes the team’s rebounding prowess, led by the 6-foot-5 Davis and 6-2 Dunn, is better than it was a season ago. He also anticipates that chemistry, especially given the year of familiarity that has developed between the players and himself, will be an asset.
“I look forward to coaching a team that works hard and plays with an enormous amount of passion,” Tallcouch said.
Newtown proved it could win tough games and hang close with strong foes last year. After losing several close games, including a pair of overtime battles in the regular season, the No. 29 seed shocked No. 4 Crosby of Waterbury in the opening round of states and nearly pulled off a first-round SWC tourney upset of Bunnell of Stratford.
The Hawks’ preseason slate includes Crosby, Daniel Hand of Madison, Thomaston, and FCIAC city school competition Trinity Catholic of Stamford and Brien McMahon.
“We’re going to be well-tested for the first game,” Tallcouch anticipates.
Tough teams in the SWC include Notre Dame-Fairfield Bunnell, Weston, and Immaculate of Danbury, said Tallcouch, before interrupting himself to say: “There are no nights off for us. I don’t think there’s a night off for anybody in the league.”