MILFORD – Law head coach Tim Dooley went into Friday evening’s contest against Branford with a precise game plan. That plan included stopping Branford’s Restinel Lomotey.
Dooley’s plan against Lomotey worked to perfection as the Branford captain scored just two points. Unfortunately for Dooley and his Law team, Branford is equipped with others who can score at will.
Friday night belonged to Alex King as he scored 22 points in leading the Hornets to a 60-37 Southern Connecticut Conference victory at Jonathan Law. With the win, Branford inched closer to the postseason as the Hornets evened their record at 6-6.
“Our game plan coming in was to stop Lomotey,” Dooley said after his team dropped its seventh straight contest and fell to 2-10. “With Branford, they have others who can shoot the ball. When you stop him, it opens it up for others and that is sometimes what you have to live with.”
The Hornets had three players in double digits. Kory King and Joe Carbone, each scored 11 to join Alex King in double digits, while Connor Stratton added 7.
“We are at 6-6,” Branford coach Jake Palluzzi said. “We have a lot of tough games. We are going into a critical part of the season right now. We want to have that confidence.”
Branford gained plenty of confidence in the first quarter, holding Law to just one field goal and jumping out to a 22-3 lead after one quarter of play. Leading 6-2, the Hornets used a pressure defense and closed the quarter on a 16-1 run.
Branford’s defense forced numerous turnovers by Law, along with some rushed shots. The Hornets took advantage as a basket by Lomotey and a 3-pointer by Kory King gave the Hornets a 13-2 lead.
Carbone’s 3-pointer made it 18-2 and he followed on Branford’s next possession with a pair of free throws for a 20-2 advantage.
Law finally broke the run as Dylan Vienneau hit one free throw with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the opening quarter, but Branford still led 22-3 after the quarter.
“I have to give Tim (Dooley) and his kids a lot of credit,” Palluzzi said. “They played hard and they kept moving. Even when it got to twenty points, they didn’t stop. We did not put the petal to the metal. I was concerned because we needed to get off to a good start especially after playing the night before and coming off a tough loss to Hamden.”
The Hornets did not have to worry about being on the losing end Friday night as they increased their lead in the second quarter to 25 points after a basket by Stratton, a 3-pointer by Carbone and a free throw by Alex King.
“We could not get going,” Dooley said. “We want to be at a high level of play. We played pretty even with them in the second, third and fourth quarters. We picked it up a little bit.”
Law cut into the deficit at the end of the third quarter. Pat O’Brien hit a 3-pointer, Justin McFadden followed with a basket and Ryan Siddall hit two free throws to get Law within 30-12.
Alex King helped seal the game in the third quarter with seven points for the Hornets. Law got within 19 points on a 3-pointer by Matt Marino and within 17 points late in the quarter on a basket by Vienneau with 1:40 to go, giving Law confidence for the fourth quarter.
Branford’s Alex King then ended any hopes of a Law comeback. King’s basket increased his team’s lead to 50-29 and a free three by King gave the Hornets a 22-point lead with five minutes to play.
Branford held Law to just 10 field goals in the game. McFadden added 6 points for Law, while O’Brien had 5 and Kevin Wall and Siddal each had four.
BRANFORD 60, LAW 37
Branford 22 10 16 12 – 60
Law 3 9 17 8 – 37
Alexander King 7 8-10 22, Jonathan Fuller 2 1-5 5, Restinel Lomotey 1 0-0 2, Kory King 3 3-4 11, Connor Stratton 3 1-1 7, Joseph Carbone 3 3-5 11, Colin Tracy 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 16-25 60
Evan Corolla 1 0-0 2, Dylan Vienneau 3 1-2 8, Jeremy Doucette 0 1-4 1, Louis Birks 1 2-3 4, Kevin Wall 2 0-0 4, Pat O’Brien 2 0-0 5, Matt Marino 1 0-0 3, Ryan Siddall 1 2-4 4, Justin McFadden 2 2-3 6. Totals: 13 8-16 37
3-point goals: Branford 4 (King 2, Carbone 2); Law 3 (Vienneau 1, O’Brien 1, Marino 1); Records: Branford 6-6; Law 1-10