OLD SAYBROOK >> Old Saybrook sophomore center Owen Greene poured in a game-high 25 points and the Rams gained a measure of revenge by defeating Coginchaug, 56-43, Thursday night at the Old Saybrook Gymnasium.
The teams met just nine days ago in Durham where the Blue Devils topped the Rams, 51-42.
“I just really thought Saybrook played harder than us,” said Coginchaug coach Todd Salva. “I think they came into the game real eager to make up for last week when we played them at our place and it showed.”
Old Saybrook (10-6 overall, 10-5 SLC) never trailed. The Rams built leads of 11-10 after one quarter and 26-18 at halftime.
Greene then exploded for 12 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter, scoring on a variety of driving layups, including one that resulted in a conventional 3-point play. Greene capped his remarkable spurt by draining a top-of-the key 3-pointer.
The Rams also got treys from junior Sam Henry (15 points) and senior Danny Murphy (eight points), who stole the ball and beat the buzzer with a long 3-pointer that gave Old Saybrook a 46-26 cushion after three quarters.
“We turned the ball over 18 times,” Salva explained. “Saybrook’s press was really effective. They were able to establish the tempo of the game. I didn’t want to get into a track meet and the tempo got away from us.”
With a key Shoreline Conference battle against Haddam-Killingworth tonight, Salva went to his bench in the fourth quarter. And the Blue Devils responded with a 12-2 run.
Sophomore guard Cam Powers (14 points) buried a pair of 3-pointers to spark Coginchaug’s comeback.
Zach Terrill (five points) also sank a trey. Josh Smith (six points) added a spinning layup in the low post and a driving layup from Terrill closed the gap to 52-43 with 2:23 remaining.
But the Blue Devils couldn’t get any closer as Greene added a pair of layups in the final minute.
Conor Doyle scored seven points for Coginchaug (9-8, 8-8 SLC), who will most likely need a victory tonight (7 p.m.) at Haddam-Killingworth to secure a Shoreline tourney spot.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a group going into a game down 20 and doing what they did,” Salva said. “I want to carry that type of energy into tomorrow night’s game and if we can, then I think we should have a shot. Those guys just played their hearts out and that’s what we look for.”
Salva is in his 23rd season with the Blue Devils, the longest tenure amongst boys’ basketball coaches in the Shoreline Conference.
“They call me the Chairman of the Board,” Salva said with a smile. “That’s a lot of bus trips. It’s such a passion. I just love spending time with the kids in the gym and watching them compete. They’re a good group. The chemistry is pretty good. We’re a little choppy at times but we’re still relatively young. We’ve got three seniors on the squad but we’re making progress.”