Comeback Kids: Boys’ Cagers Overcome Crosby For Exciting 76-74 Victory
Trailing by five points with less than a minute remaining, Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team members seemingly had visiting Crosby of Waterbury right where they wanted it. The Nighthawks, who had overcome a big deficit to claim the lead in the third quarter, fought back yet again and prevailed 76-74 in an intense nonconference battle at NHS, on January 4.
Saahil Ray forced a turnover and saved the ball while leaping out of bounds in the back court; he got the ball to Tyson Mobley, who threw a long pass to Isaiah Williams for a go-ahead layup with just six seconds remaining. NHS then forced another turnover, couldn’t seal things at the free throw line, but held on.
The Crosby Bulldogs led 35-34 at halftime and quickly pushed their lead to double digits at 45-35 with a 10-1 run to start the third quarter. Newtown answered with a 14-0 run highlighted by back-to-back Makai Coleman 3-pointers, to seize a 49-45 advantage.
The Nighthawks piled up 25 points in the third quarter alone. Joe McCray also drained a shot from downtown in the stanza. Newtown went up by nine points, capped by a coast-to-coast effort and layup by Ray, before Crosby finished the period on a 6-0 run to pull to within 59-56 heading to the fourth.
The teams went back and fourth in the final period, with Crosby seizing a pair of leads before a 3-point play the old-fashioned way by Mobley on a finger roll to finish a cut to the basket made it 67-66 Nighthawks with 3:18 left.
Crosby’s Jonathan Rivera (who piled up a game-high 42 points) responded with a 3-point play with a basket and foul shot of his own, making it 69-67 Bulldogs. Crosby added to its lead. Down 72-67, Newtown got back to within a basket when Mobley dropped in a straightaway 3 ball with 55 seconds remaining.
Rivera hit two free throws with 53 seconds to go, and then it was all Nighthawks. Mobley faked a 3-pointer and drove to the basket for two points with 44 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock. Rivera missed from the foul line with 33 seconds to go, and the Hawks cashed in on a chance to tie. Mobley was fouled and made two clutch free throws with 22 ticks left, setting up the waning-seconds win.
“We came back every time; they came back every time,” Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch said.
Newtown’s coach liked the effort of all of his players on the court and said he told them after the game he was proud of how they didn’t quit despite falling behind multiple times.
Mobley led the way with 21 points, ten of which came in the fourth; Williams scored 18, Ray had ten, Joe McCray nine, and Coleman and O’Connell eight apiece. Eli Williams chipped in with two points.
Mobley had nine assists, seven rebounds, and four steals; Isaiah Williams grabbed eight rebounds; Coleman had five assists and a steal; and McCray came away with a pair of steals.
Newtown is winding down a tough opening stretch of out-of-conference games. A Friday, January 7, visit to Bassick of Bridgeport was postponed.
“We’ve got to have games like this so we can be prepared not only to compete but be able to win close games,” Tallcouch said. “The kids (were able to bear down) on defense and we found ways to score.”
Win or lose, these contests stand to make the Nighthawks better as they look to have success in South-West Conference play.
“It’s a more pleasant learning experience when you win. It’s an easier sell to the team,” Tallcouch noted.
Newtown’s coach said the team needs to improve on capitalizing on some in-close chances to score as well as make more free throws after a 15-for-21 performance at the line against Crosby.
The Hawks improved to 2-2. They are scheduled to host SWC rival New Fairfield on Monday, January 10 at 7 o’clock.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.