WINSTED — Fans who saw Wamogo’s boys basketball team beat Northwestern 45-40 for the Highlanders’ first Berkshire League loss (16-2, 16-1 BL) came away thinking they saw the two best teams in the league regardless of records.
The Warriors (13-4, 12-4) have four league losses, by a total of eight points, including a 53-51 overtime loss to Northwestern a month ago.
Thursday, both teams offered their full credentials.
“We’ve played two great games,” Wamogo coach Gregg Hunt said.
“It was nerve-wracking,” an older woman complained to her husband on the way out.
Yup — just the way great games should be.
Captains Garrett Sattazahn (game-high 19 points) for Wamogo and Zack Penn (team-high 13 points) for Northwestern carried superb supporting casts through four quarters in which the biggest gap was three points until the very end.
If the point totals seem low, it’s because each side played defense as well as its amazing offense. Northwestern used its bigger size to block shots and turn them into steals. Wamogo’s full court press after every hoop took its toll in a hot gym.
On offense, Penn, a 6-4 wide-body with the skills of a guard, spun and faked into the basket time after time to lead the Highlander charge. Sazzazahn, a 6-2 guard with the skills of a forward did the same for Wamogo.
Northwestern’s edge was its size. Wamogo’s edge was outside shooting.
“The first time we played, we were 6-for-25 from outside,” said Coach Hunt. “This time, we were 7-for-16.
The edges tied the score at 22-22 at the half, flipping back from a 34-31 Northwestern lead on a Jayson Reola layup on a pass from Penn with 7:25 left to a 35-34 Wamogo lead on two drives by Sattazahn with 5:53 left.
Finally, it was Wamogo’s outside shooting that forced the gap. Sattazahn and Reid Turtoro hit back-to-back three’s around a Mike Neumann five-footer for a 41-36 Wamogo lead.
Reola and Penn got it back to 41-40, but Penn was called for a charge with 1:19 left and Sean Coffey (14 points) traded in the break for a 43-40 layup with 39 seconds left, then made two foul shots with seconds left to seal the win.
Next week’s BL Tournament promises to be just as good.
Wamogo 45, Northwestern 40
(at Northwestern High School)
WAMOGO 10 12 7 16 – 45
NORTHWESTERN 7 15 10 8 – 40
Wamogo (45): Sean Coffey 5-2-14; Reid Turtoro 4-0-9; Cole Higgins 1-0-3; Ethan Collins 0-0-0; Garrett Sattazahn 7-2-19; Jasper Brodhead 0-0-0; Eric Fowler 0-0-0; Totals: 17-4- 45.
Northwestern (40): Chris Nanni 2-0-4; Jayson Reola 3-1-7; Ben North 2-1-6; Mike Oley 3-0-8; Mike Neumann 1-0-2; Zack Penn 6-1-13; Totals: 17-3-40.
3-point goals: W – Coffey 2; Turtoro; Higgins; Sattazahn 3. NW – North; Oley 2.
Records: Wamogo 13-4; 12-4 Berkshire League. Northwestern 16-2; 16-1 BL.