TERRYVILLE >> For the second time this season, Terryville and Northwestern played a close game that was decided in the final quarter, for the second time the Kangaroos came out on top, this time 50-44.
“There’s a misconception that people think we should win every game by 30 points, Northwestern is the second best team in the league, we should be proud,” said Terryville head coach Mark Fowler. “We proved tonight we can win tight games.”
The Highlanders (8-3) defense made it very difficult for the Kangaroos’ “Big 3” of Jake Johnson (12 points), Shea Tracy (12 points) and Tyler Trillo (11 points) to get into any kind of rhythm.
“We were really communicating on defense,” said Northwestern head coach Doug Sebach. “We talked about taking away their outside shots away.”
Johnson, a senior, was held to two points in the first half.
“They were switching on the screens,” said Johnson. “We had open looks but they weren’t falling.”
After Terryville (11-1) took big leads, seven in the first quarter and then again seven before the half, the Highlanders clawed back, cutting its deficits to one, 12-11, after the first quarter and then to three, 21-18, at half. The Kangaroos knew they had to make changes to its offense.
It was in the locker room where sophomore Ian Schmidt spoke up and reminded Fowler of something that would help lead the Kangaroos to the win.
“I got to give Schmidt credit, he reminded me of a play that I totally forgot we had,” said Fowler.
Schmidt’s reminder got the offense going, especially for Zach Graham.
“We got eight points off of that play,” said Fowler, “and Zach had six of them.”
“They kept a guy at the point and we had two guys open down low,” said Johnson.
Graham, a senior, finished with 11 points, a season high, with eight of them coming in the second half.
“I was just opened,” said Graham who led the Kangaroos with six points in the fourth quarter. “Shea (Tracy) is great at getting in the paint and dishing us the ball down low.”
Sebach was fine with allowing the Kangaroos to score in the paint.
“We figured if we didn’t give up the three’s, we’ll take our chances,” he said.
Though the Kangaroos figured out another way to score the Highlanders wouldn’t go away quietly, down 13 points with two minutes and the Kangaroos with the chance to run away with the game, the Highlanders’ Steve McGrath scored on a layup and then after forcing a turnover Zach Tuxbury drilled a three-pointer to cut their deficit to eight going into the fourth quarter.
The Highlanders kept fighting but couldn’t stop the Kangaroos under the basket.
“They definitely motivated to win this game,” said Sebach of his team’s will to fight back. “They left it all on the court.”
Ricky Persechino led the way for the Highlanders with 13 points and McGrath added 11 in the loss.
Northwestern will play out of conference opponent University on the road Thursday night.
“We’ll have to talk about tonight and see where we’re at,” said Sebach.
Terryville remains undefeated in Berkshire League play, 10-0, and every team they will play until the end of the season, they have already beaten.
“This was a big one for us, it gives us some space in the league,” said Fowler. “We made big plays with the game of the line.”
Terryville 50 Northwestern 44
At Terryville High School
Terryville 12 9 15 14—50
Northwestern 11 7 10 16—44
Terryville (50): Tyler Trillo 5-1-11; Luke Boylan 1-0-2; Shea Tracy 5-0-12; Taylor Donofrio 0-0-0; Jake Johnson 5-2-12; Sean Huria 1-0-2; Zach Graham 5-1-11. Totals: 22-4-50.
Northwestern (44): Ricky Persechino 5-0-13; Zach Tuxbury 3-0-7; John Lippincott 2-0-4; Will Scharmburg 1-0-2; Teddy Bremmer 2-3-7; Steve McGrath 5-0-11. Totals: 18-3-44.
3—point goals: T—Shea Tracy 2. NW—Ricky Persechino 3; Zach Tuxbury; Steve McGrath.
Records: Terryville 11-1; Northwestern 8-3.