BRISTOL - The St. Paul boys basketball team held a seven-point lead after the first quarter and its lead never dipped lower as the No. 8-seeded Falcons took down No. 25-ranked Terryville 57-39 in the first round of the Class S tournament Tuesday.
“We caught Terryville a little bit,” St. Paul coach Steve Phelps said. “They didn’t shoot it great to start and we made some penetration baskets. It was nice that that kind of set the tone.”
The Falcons came out strong in the first quarter, scoring the game's first five points and 11 of the first 13. Darek Wiecki scored three points before Terryville got on the board. The Kangaroos struggled to get shots to drop, causing them to fall so far behind.
“It felt like we were hanging around but we just couldn’t buy a basket,” Terryville coach Mark Fowler said. John Grimes hit a basket two minutes in to give the Kangaroos their first points. He and Evan Dorso were the only Terryville players to score in the game's first eight minutes and St. Paul held an 11-4 lead after the first.
The Kangaroos played much better in the second. They hit a three-pointer for the first points of the second frame and went blow-for-blow with the Falcons for the first three minutes.
But St. Paul stepped it up in the back half of the second quarter. The Falcons outscored the Kangaroos 12-5 in the half's last 4:43, taking a 33-16 lead into halftime.
The scoring dropped off a bit after halftime, as St. Paul and Terryville combined to score just 17 points in the third quarter. The Kangaroos scored the first points of the half after 1:40 of scoreless play, as the two teams went back and forth but could not get a shot to fall.
Nine of the third-quarter points came on three-pointers: two by the Falcons’ Mike Palmieri and one by the Kangaroos’ Mike Tiscia.
“He found his range,” Fowler said about Tiscia. “We could’ve used a few of thiose in the first half, though.”
In the fourth quarter, the offense boomed. St. Paul drained three three-pointers and Terryville recorded four of their own. The fourth-quarter scoring nearly doubled that of the third, with the two teams combining to score 32 points.
Despite their shots finally falling, the Kangaroos could not get enough stops to make the points stand up and the Falcons were able to clinch the win.
St. Paul will face Coginchaug in the next round and Phelps is already thinking about getting his team ready.
“At this time of the season, you get a day to clean it up and then prepare a little for the next opponent,” he said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel. I think we can play better. I think our key guys can play better. But that’s not up to me right now.
“But I’m confident in their abilities. So we’ll take the win. We’ll address some things during our film session [Wednesday], where we can clean up some things, find out who our next opponent is, get a scout and put a few things into place on the floor and come back in 24 hours and hopefully play a little better.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30