LITCHFIELD >> Tuesday night, Litchfield High School’s boys basketball team (4-3) handed Gilbert its first loss of the season, a one-point upset in Winsted.
Wednesday, the Cowboys paid a 71-42 penalty for their glory against league-leading Terryville (5-0 in the BL; 6-1 overall) at Litchfield High School.
“We didn’t play well,” said Litchfield coach Dan Goscinski. “It’s not an excuse, but Gilbert and Terryville back-to-back is a tough turnaround for anyone.”
First, it’s hard to stay up for two such significant opponents with just a day in between.
Second, the upset put Terryville on notice after the Kangaroos rolled over Shepaug Tuesday night.
“(The Cowboys) were confident,” said Kangaroo senior Jake Johnson. “It fired us up and made us go hard.”
“We knew we had to come out hard,” echoed junior Shea Tracy.
“Going hard” showed up early on defense.
“We can put points on the board,” said Terryville coach Mark Fowler. “The hard part is holding the other team down. Tonight, we played one of our best defensive halves in a long time.”
“They out-hustled us. We put ourselves in a hole,” said Coach Goscinski.
Gilbert got major production from just one player Tuesday (Yoharkey Sarmiento). Wednesday, the Kangaroos came at the Cowboys in waves racing up and down the court before Tracy (18 points) and Jake Johnson (game-high 26 points) took over.
“Terryville is hands down the best team in the league — even without (senior guard Tyler Trillo),” said Goscinski. “With him, wow.”
Trillo, who passed the thousand-point mark for Terryville as a junior, turned an ankle badly in the Roos’ two-point loss against non-conference opponent Cromwell on December 27.
Trillo dressed Wednesday, but came in late in the game for just one signature three on his way back to 100 percent.
Meanwhile, the Kangaroo hustle showed up immediately.
Seconds after the opening tap to Litchfield, Terryville’s Johnson darted in front of a pass, racing down court for the layup.
The Cowboys, in a dismal shooting night, missed a shot from the foul line. Tracy fired a pass underneath to Terryville center Zack Graham for another layup.
With just a minute off the clock, Litchfield’s Goscinski already needed a time out to slow the Kangaroo pace.
It didn’t help.
Seconds out of the huddle, Johnson and Tracy combined for another Terryville steal. Sean Huria buried a shot outside.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the game, Spencer Persechino (10 points) broke Litchfield’s ice from outside, 8-2.
Tracy scored six of Terryville’s next eight straight points in response.
At 16-2, Terryville, Goscinski’s time out was just to collect his team’s wits.
“We pride ourselves on being one of the toughest teams in the league,” he said. “Tonight, we weren’t.”
Cowboy Darrin Newbury (10 points) sank a pair of foul shots.
Tracy finished the first quarter with a jumper from three feet, 18-4.
Twenty-four hours from a great upset in Winsted, the Cowboys looked at a very different team and a very different day at home.
In the second quarter, Terryville kept its defense pressure, holding the Litchfield shooters to another single-digit effort and just 13 points for the half.
Johnson opened up for the first four points of the second period.
Near the end of the fourth, he was still leading the defense: three straight steals in the last three minutes, all three converted to points.
Both teams have stiff challenges coming up.
The Kangaroos host 5-1 Lewis Mills on Friday and Gilbert next Tuesday.
Litchfield tangles with a pair of teams that pride themselves on being just as tough as the Cowboys — at Thomaston Friday, at home against Nonnewaug Tuesday.
“There are a lot of good teams in this league,” said Goscinski.
Terryville 71, Litchfield 42
At Litchfield High School
Terryville 18 14 20 19—71
Litchfield 4 9 16 13—42
Terryville (71): Tyler Trillo 1-0-3; Ian Schmidt 2-0-4; Luke Boylan 1-0-2; Shea Tracy 9-0-18; Taylor Donofrio 0-0-0; Jake Johnson 10-4-26; Sean Huria 3-1-7; Jeff Dupaul 2-0-5; Zack Graham 1-0-6. Totals: 29-9-71.
Darrin Newbury 4-2-10; Steve Ringquist 2-0-4; Matt McCarthy 3-2-8; Tyler Mowrey 0-2-2; Spencer Persechino 4-2-10; Ryan O’Neill 1-1-4; Mike Minucci 0-0-0. Totals: 16-9-46.
3-point goals: T—Trillo; Johnson 2; Dupaul. L—O’Neill.
Records: Terryville 6-1 (5-0 Berkshire League); Litchfield 4-3.