WINSTED >> The Terryville Kangagroos completed their undefeated Berkshire League season, 20-0, with a 41-33 win over Lewis Mills in the league tournament finals.
“So proud what this team has done,” said Terryville head coach Mark Fowler. “A lot of people are going to remember this team in the Berkshire League for years to come.”
The Kangaroos marched right through the Berkshire League this season going 18-0 (19-1 overall) in the regular season, defeating teams by an average of 33 points a game, and added two more wins during the tournament.
“All of the hard work this offseason paid off,” Terryville senior Jake Johnson said.
Last season the Kangaroos fell to an undefeated Northwestern Highlanders team, 54-35. After that game Fowler and his team named this as one of his team’s goals.
“We haven’t won the tournament since 1995, we got our butts beat by a very good Northwestern team,” said Fowler in a previous interview before the tournament. “It is really important to us, we talked about it in the locker room after last year and it’s still fresh in the team’s mind.”
After two previous matchups where the Kangaroos dominated the Spartans, 70-45 on Jan. 10 and 66-35 on Jan. 21, Lewis Mills head coach Todd Kozak decided to change up his team’s offensive look.
Instead of trying to run with the Kangaroos the Spartans slowed down the game, holding the ball for a minute or two per possession before taking a shot.
“The second time we played them, we didn’t have a chance to win the league, so we decided not to waste it then and hope to meet them in the finals,” Kozak said. “The kids did unbelievable, they were good on defense.”
At first the Kangaroos still tried to run.
“It was a little tough we wanted to up and down the court,” said Terryville senior Tyler Trillo who scored a game-high 25 points in the win.
Fowler though kept his team focused on the goal at hand.
“Coach told us just to win the game,” Johnson said. “We’re spoiled winning games by 30-35 points.”
Despite the Spartans attempt to slow down the game, in the first quarter both teams were able to find the basket.
The game opened up with a battle of between Trillo and Spartans junior Nate Cook.
“He has blossomed into a team leader,” Kozak said. “I told him he was our go to guy.”
Cook opened up the game with a 3-pointer that got the Spartans crowd going, but that was short lived as Trillo lined up a hit a 3-pointer of his own.
On the next possession Cook again found the bottom of the net from long range and again Trillo answered the bell from downtown.
Next Cook scored a layup and Trillo then drove to lane and scored, 8-8.
After Terryville junior Shea Tracy made one of two free throws, Trillo again found the basket, giving the Kangaroos a 11-8 lead, scoring 10 points on his own.
Spartans’ senior Spencer Maloney hit both of his free-throw shots, which was followed up by Johnson 3-pointer for Terryville. Maloney then hit a jumper right before the end of the quarter, 14-12.
In the second the Spartans trailed 19-16 and got a break when Tracy missed an easy layup, which was rebounded by Lewis Mills’ senior Danny Kryzanski, but Tracy with a heads up play pickpockets Kryzanski and laid it in for two points.
Kryzanski though made up for it with a 3-pointer for the next score, but again Trillo was there matching it with a 3-pointer of his own.
“I was getting good screens by Sean (Huria) to get open and they got me the ball where I needed to be,” Trillo said.
Trillo finished with 19 points in first half as the Kangaroos led 28-22.
“Having a senior guard in a game like this, he wants the ball and wants to make plays,” Fowler said.
In the third the Spartans slow offense was effective; both teams struggled to a 5-2 quarter in favor of the Kangaroos.
The fourth was more of the same, the Kangaroos didn’t score a field goal the entire quarter it didn’t matter as Trillo scored all eight points for Terryville from the line to ice the win and the tournament championship to go along with the regular season title.
“Wanted to finish it off, didn’t want to end on bad note,” Trillo said.
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