TERRYVILLE — No. 10 Terryville survived scares at the beginning and end of its first round Division V boys basketball test against No. 23 Cheney Tech before pulling away to a 68-56 win at Terryville High School Monday night.
In fact, the first Kangaroo scare came before tipoff, when Terryville center Dylan Matulis came down with a stomach virus and couldn’t suit up for the game. Just 5-11, Matulis, a junior, has been a steady force for the Roos (14-8) all season.
Now, despite a mediocre 8-12 record in the Connecticut Technical Conference, the Beavers were coming to town with 6-5 center Jason Starkweather.
“I was worried,” said 6-1 Jake Rinkavage, a sophomore. “Dylan usually shoots under the basket and I’m normally out there shooting 3s.”
Now Rinkavage was Terryville’s main force under the basket.
The Beavers compounded the concerns with a pair of 3’s by Omar Rios (team-high 19 points) and Xavier McCall (10 points) for a 6-2 lead in the game’s first three minutes.
Then Terryville guard Zach Rinkavage (game-high 20 points) and his teammates began a parade to the foul line, producing eight of Terryville’s 12 points for the first quarter and 26 for the game.
The Kangaroos led 12-8 after one period and 28-14 at the half, with the help of two second-quarter 3’s by Albert Molina (17 points, four 3’s) and six more points at the foul line.
By then, Terryville was 12 for 13 at the line, eight of them by Zach Rinkavage, 8 for 9, 11 for 13 for the game.
“I’ve struggled at the foul line all season,” said Rinkavage, set to play baseball next year at Post University. “I just felt confident tonight.”
So did his brother, under the basket, with the help of his board-crashing teammates.
“He handled their big guy very well,” said Terryville coach Mark Fowler. “And we play big at times.”
In the third period, the foul-line stream stopped for the Kangaroos and started for the Beavers, with 5-for-6 shooting by Rios.
Instead, Terryville found its real game against Cheney’s 3-2 zone.
“We moved the ball well and got some good looks,” said Fowler.
Molina and the Rinkavage brothers all hit treys and the rest of the Roos used their quickness for drives to the hoop.
Before a last-second drive to the hoop by Rios, the game was seemingly sewn up, 46-21, moving toward the final period.
Enter scare two. Cheney Tech, starting three sophomores and two juniors, went on a rampage with six of their eight 3-pointers for the game — three by Kymani Thomas (14 points); two by Anthony Lazure; and one by Rios — plus an 8-for-9 foul shooting display of their own.
The Terryville lead was nine points, 55-46, with two minutes left in the game.
Foul shots came to the Roos’ rescue again — this time, 6-for-8 down the final stretch.
NO. 10 TERRYVILLE 68, NO. 23 CHENEY TECH 56