BRISTOL - When the calendar turns to March, pressure for seniors on the basketball court rises as a loss can close out a high school career.
For the St. Paul boys basketball team, there may have been pressure for senior guards Tyler Arbuckle and Mike Palmieri, but it certainly didn’t show as the duo combined for 40 points en route to the Falcons 60-51 first round win in the Division III tournament over Joel Barlow on Monday night.
Arbuckle took over in the third quarter with 14 points, extending the St. Paul lead to 18 going into the final quarter of play, which was too much to overcome for Joel Barlow.
While the offense was stellar, consistent defense was a focal point for St. Paul coming into the postseason.
The Falcons stymied Joel Barlow for most of the night on the defensive end of the floor, forcing them to rely on outside shooting, as 24 of its 51 points came off the long range shot.
As a team St. Paul was the quicker group on the floor, outhustling Joel Barlow all 32 minutes of the game getting down the floor and forcing turnovers.
Seth Foley added six points for the Falcons. Donovan Symes had four and played strong defense throughout.
The Falcons will travel to take on No. 6 seed Torrington on Thursday night at 7 p.m.