WASHINGTON — Wamogo won its fourth straight Berkshire League Boys Basketball Tournament with a 70-61 over Nonnewaug Friday night in a trademark display of offensive and defensive precision.
Matt Mazzarelli came off the bench to score 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second and third quarters, helping to pull the Warriors from a 32-28 half-time lead to a 54-41 bulge at the end of three.
Team mainstay Ethan Collins picked up his second and third fouls in the second quarter and a fourth in the third, finishing out with 12 points by the half and 17 for the game, despite sitting on the bench for much of the time Mazzarelli was doing his star turn.
“We did pretty well without Ethan today,” said Wamogo coach Gregg Hunt.
Credit Mazzarelli, teamwide talent and precision for that.
“The guys are willing to accept their roles,” Hunt said, translating to lightning quick swarms of defenders around Nonnewaug ball carriers all game and pinpoint passes that carved up the Nonnewaug zone.
The Chiefs, with plenty of talent of their own, hung on to a 13-12 deficit near the end of the first quarter, then saw their threat fade with a three and a drive by Mazzarelli between a forced pass out of bounds.
Led by a couple of steals and back-to-back 3’s by Jon Khazzaka (16 points), Nonnewaug closed to 31-28 in the second quarter, only to see Mazzarelli end another period with a trey.
The Chiefs pride themselves on their defense, but the Warriors sliced through their press with relative ease in the second half, finding pass recipients cutting past would-be traps while Wamogo’s press wreaked havoc for would-be Nonnewaug dribblers.
Nonnewaug’s Tyler Lindberg (team-high 18 points) was a factor in keeping it close in the first quarter and scrapping back to 66-59 with a minute left in the fourth.
But Wamogo discipline and foul shots by Mazzarellie and Ben Roy kept the Chiefs at bay.
“I was in a shooting slump in the middle of the season, but I got my confidence back,” said Mazzarelli.
“It’s crazy,” said senior Collins. “When I came in, I never thought we’d win four straight BL tournaments.”