WASHINGTON, Conn. – No. 1 Wamogo and No. 2 Nonnewaug will meet in Thursday’s Berkshire League Boys Basketball Tournament final on dramatically different paths from Monday’s semifinals at Shepaug High School.
Nonnewaug’s Jackson Baker took command of the early semifinal, rolling through 33 points at the head of No. 2 Nonnewaug’s 62-40 storm over No. 6 Thomaston’s Cinderella dreams for the tournament.
The two-time defending tournament champion Warriors couldn’t shake off No. 4 Shepaug until Charlie Coffey (15 points) led Wamogo at the foul line in overtime in a 6-for-6 performance down the stretch for a 66-60 victory.
The Golden Bears upset No. 3 Terryville in Saturday’s quarterfinals, but the magic was gone Monday in the face of Nonnewaug’s big height advantage, stifling defense…and Baker.
The senior guard, listed at 5-5, took over from the opening tap with a steal and dash to the hoop for the game’s first basket.
Soon, a game-long pattern emerged. Nonnewaug’s big men controlled the boards – to the tune of six straight tries on one early possession – but struggled to complete their layups.
Still, the Chiefs’ defensive effort was on target, bringing lots of Thomaston turnovers and a 6-0 Nonnewaug lead before Thomaston’s Chad Suckley scored the Bears’ first point at the foul line.
Thomaston closed to 6-5, but that was as close as they got before Baker and the Chiefs kicked in their afterburners for a 17-7 lead after one, 33-19 at the half, and 45-27 at the end of three.
“(Baker’s) the motor for this team, and he always guards the other team’s toughest player,” said Nonnewaug coach Devonne Parker.
The second game produced a wealth of heroes, but just one winner after Wamogo took an 11-10 lead after one quarter, then lost the slight edge to a 24-24 tie at the half.
Shepaug’s hopes rose with a four-point lead after three quarters, but, once again, the teams evened out by the end of regulation.
Coffey’s six points led Wamogo to a 10-4 final overtime advantage, with all the Warrior points at the foul line.
Matt Mazzarelli (17 points); Cole Higgins (10 points) and Ethan Collins (17 points) joined Coffey in double figures.
Cole Donaghey (16 points), Owen Hibbard (14 points) and Michael Perachi (16 points) turned the trick for Shepaug.
Nonnewaug looks at a third chance to break the Warriors’ grip on Thursday.
“If we play hard from start to finish and cut down on our turnovers, I think we’ll be okay,” said Parker.
“We need to play as a team,” said Baker.