Boys’ Cagers Get Back Into Win Column, In Convincing Fashion
Looking to get back to its winning ways, Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team jumped out to an early lead and coasted past visiting Masuk of Monroe 81-41 on Senior Night, February 6.
The Nighthawks ended a three-game losing streak to improve to 12-3 overall and 6-3 in South-West Conference play. Masuk, which fell to 6-10 overall, 4-5 in the SWC, had been involved in very lose games, with its prior three loses each decided by six points or less. Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch was pleased with the way his team executed from the start on an emotional night against a playoff-hungry team on the cusp of Division IV state playoff qualification and among several teams vying for one of the SWC’s eight postseason berths.
“The key was for us to come out early and control the game and not let them feel good. I think we played inspired basketball tonight,” said Tallcouch, whose team is also looking to bolster its playoff positioning — in the state’s D-III bracket as well as the conference.
Newtown was a scoring machine from the opening tip, building a 23-12 lead after one quarter and never looking back.
The Panthers got the lead down to single digits early in the second quarter. The Hawks pushed a lead from seven to 15 in just 44 seconds behind a pair of Jack Petersen 3-pointers that sandwiched a Robert DiSibio fast-break dunk. It was 33-18 with 4:29 left in the half. Todd Petersen, assisted by his brother, gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the half, 42-22. Sparked by a mix of inside and outside scoring, the Hawks built a 42-25 halftime lead.
Newtown led 63-31 after three quarters of play. DiSibio’s dunk plus one and Todd Petersen’s transition slam on the next possession early in the third got the crowd to its feet. Riley Ward got the friendly roll despite a foul for a 3-point play opportunity he cashed in on.
In the fourth, Max Bloomquist came off the bench and drained a pair of 3-pointers, and Isiah Williams scored his first varsity basket on a putback late in regulation.
When all was said and done, Todd Petersen had 21 points and DiSibio poured in 20 of his own. Ward had 13, Jack Petersen ten, Bloomquist six, Tucker Garrity four, Jack Kuligowski three, and Jack Mulligan and Williams two apiece.
Todd Petersen had eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals; DiSibio and Mulligan both grabbed five rebounds; Ward collected four rebounds to go along with six assists; Jack Petersen had four rebounds, six assists, and four steals; Garrity logged four assists and a block; Preston Bliss-Martinez added two steals; Kuligowski had two rebounds, two assists, and a steal; and Williams had three rebounds.
Newtown, after that 11-0 start to the slate, endured a losing streak — the start of which coincided with the absence of one of the team’s biggest scoring threats in DiSibio — that featured an overtime loss, one-point loss, and another defeat in a game NHS led in the fourth quarter.
Tallcouch likes where his veteran team is as the regular season winds down.
“Even those three games that didn’t go our way — each one of them we could have won. The belief is there, the togetherness is there, all the things that are necessary to come out and win like we did tonight are there,” Tallcouch said.
“There are going to be speed bumps, road bumps, whatever you want to call them. There are going to be ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Never has this team stopped believing in themselves,” Tallcouch added “We just need to take care of our business. If we take care of our end of it, I think good things will happen.”
Newtown hosts Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport on February 9 at 7 pm
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