By John Torsiello
It took 11 games but someone finally caught up with the Simsbury High School boys basketball team.
After ripping off 10 straight victories, the Trojans suffered their first defeat at the hands of Farmington on the road last Friday, 62-49. Simsbury trailed the Indians from start to finish, eventually losing by 13 points.
“It was not our best effort, but a lot of credit goes to Farmington for the way they executed their game plan and for the way their guys stepped up to make plays,” said Simsbury head coach Mark Stillman.
“It seemed like every time we made a run and would cut the lead to five, Farmington would answer with a key stop and basket. We never could get over the hump and get it to a one possession game.”
He continued, “We really made an effort to try to slow down their top two scorers–Obi Momah (a 6-foot 7-inch forward heading to Marist) and Trey Witter–and I thought we did a good job at it (holding them both to 10 points).” However, Colin Cheeseman and Jason Martin really stepped up for Farmington and were the difference makers, scoring 25 and 13 points, respectively.
Simsbury struggled a bit against Conard in the prior game to reach the 10-win plateau before triumphing, 75-61, at home.
The visitors jumped out to a 9-2 lead and played with more bounce in their legs than the Trojans.
“In Conard, we ran up against a team that was more ready to play than we were,” said Stillman.
“They and were clearly playing with more energy than us.”
But following a timeout, Simsbury responded with a 22-4 run to take a 24-13 lead midway through the second quarter.
Nate Medve sparked the run with 11 points and provided solid defense to help create turnovers.
After trailing by eight points at the half, Conard continued to make runs at the Trojans in the third quarter, eventually cutting the Simsbury lead to three late in the third.
It took a strong fourth quarter effort on both ends of the court for Simsbury to pull out the victory.
E.J. Crawford led the way with a season-high 30 points, followed by Medve’s 13 and Walter Whyte’s 12.
Said Stillman of his team’s standing midway through the campaign, “It’s safe to say we’re happy to be where we are at 10-1 right now, but realize that we still have a ways to go to get to the level we want to be at by the end of the season.”
Simsbury has been led by Crawford , who is scoring 25 points, hauling down five rebounds and dishing off four assists a game.
But the Trojans are also getting solid scoring from Medve (13 points a game), Rayon Christie (11 points a game) and Whyte (10 points a game). Captains J.B. Hayes and Steve Herron have provided outstanding defense and served as the “glue guys for our team,” said Stillman.
“Looking forward to the second half, we have to understand that we’re not going to be sneaking up on anyone. Teams know who we are and we’re going to see their best effort every night.
We need to practice and play more consistently at both ends of the court, and continue to look for ways to improve individually and as a team. It’s been a good start, but we’re looking for a better ending.”