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Hawks Respond To Halftime Challenge, Pull Away Against Rebels



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Leading by just four points at halftime, Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team jumped on the visiting New Fairfield Rebels early in the third quarter and pulled away for a convincing 58-35 triumph on January 10. An intense, turnover-causing effort on defense and accuracy on the offensive end led to the Nighthawks outscoring the Rebels 18-4 in that momentum-swinging third quarter. NHS led just 23-19 at halftime but used the eight-minute third quarter to efficiently build a 41-23 advantage going into the fourth.

“The challenge that we made to them was in the first five minutes of the third quarter they have to own it, and they owned it,” Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch said. “I think our kids responded to the challenge.”

Newtown’s defense was strong throughout the night.

“I was not disappointed with our defensive effort in the first half. We just missed shots and we missed a lot of easy shots,” Tallcouch said.

That was not the case in the second half as the Nighthawks put up 35 points, taking the foot off the gas on offense in the final minutes.

Despite the D being solid, Tallcouch and company did switch things up at the break, going from a 1-3-1 zone to man-to-man defense.

“I think the kids kind of wanted it. They wanted the responsibility of guarding one person,” the coach said.

A Joe McCray steal led to Liam O’Connell’s putback for a 27-19 lead, prompting a New Fairfield timeout. The Hawks were not slowed down. McCray nailed a 3-pointer to push the lead to double digits at 30-19, and Newtown was on its way.

O’Connell’s baseline drive to the basket for two points, Tyson Mobley’s midcourt steal and layup, and a 3-pointer by Mobley made it a 14-0 run and 37-19 lead just a little over four and a half minutes out of the half.

The Nighthawks went up by 27 points in the fourth quarter and got contributions from up and down the lineup as seven players scored in the final stanza.

When all was said and done, Mobley had 16 points, O’Connell scored 11, McCray had eight, Makai Coleman scored seven, and Isaiah Williams had six. Charlie Sepp dropped in five points, Saahil Ray contributed three, and Eli Williams chipped in with two.

Isaiah Williams grabbed 12 rebounds. Mobley handed out eight assists; McCray had seven assists and two steals; O’Connell had three steals; and Coleman had two steals as NHS logged nine thefts as a team.

NHS improved to 3-2 overall. Due to snow postponing a January 7 visit to Bassick of Bridgeport, that game was made up on January 13, giving NHS games on consecutive nights, with a road tilt against Brookfield on Thursday.

“That will be a very good test for us,” Tallcouch anticipated.

The Hawks passed the test by winning both contests; read about those in the January 21 print edition and online.

Newtown will host Bethel on Tuesday, January 18, at 7 pm, then entertain Immaculate of Danbury, Friday, January 21, also at 7 o’clock.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Makai Coleman (No. 10) goes strong to the hoop during Newtown’s 58-35 win over visiting New Fairfield on January 10. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Tyson Mobley goes up for two points.
Liam O’Connell catches a pass near the sideline.
Charlie Sepp is contested as he goes in for two points.
Connor Hintze looks to set up the offense.
Charlie Sepp drives to the basket.
Isaiah Williams dribbles out of a crowd of players under the basket.
Cam Ward makes a pass in the front court.
Saahil Ray dribbles past a defender.
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