NEW MILFORD — Al Tolomeo knew early on his team had a matchup problem with Norwalk in Monday’s season opener.
The Bears, with a five-guard starting lineup, were simply too short for his Green Wave to deal with.
As such, Tolomeo put his two biggest players — both standing taller than 6-foot-4 — on the bench and watched as the Green Wave out-ran Norwalk for an exciting and intense 77-75 non-conference win.
Led by Malik Proctor’s 23 points and Matt Brevard’s 20 points, the Green Wave rained down 12 3-point shots on Norwalk’s defense as it bounced back from an 11-point, second quarter deficit.
Tyler Bowe added 13 more, most of which came during a key stretch of the game where New Milford took the lead.
“We just came together and kept our heads up,” said Proctor, a sophomore. “We played together as a team and said we can do it. We just had to keep our confidence high.”
Trailing 21-9 with less than three minutes left in the first half, it was a 3-pointer from New Milford’s Shane Fedigan that ignited some confidence.
The Wave closed out the first half on a 17-7 run to trail by just one at the break.
“They made us change what we wanted to do,” Tolomeo said. “We tried to match up with them and keep up with them the best we could. We like to play fast, too, and we have the personnel to play either way.”
The third quarter saw four ties, but New Milford wasn’t able to get the lead until early in the fourth quarter.
After Norwalk took a five-point lead at 54-49, Proctor drained back-to-back 3s to put the Wave up 57-54.
There would be two more ties and three more lead changes before Brevard sank two foul shots with 19.7 seconds left to give the Wave the lead for good.
Norwalk had a chance to win the game with six seconds left with the ball under its own basket.
After an inbounds pass went to the elbow, though, an errant pass sailed out of bounds, giving New Milford the ball.
“We almost ran it perfectly, but we just didn’t execute at the end,” Norwalk coach Tom Keyes said. “I thought we played a tough game. We came here and it’s a tough place to play and we went toe-to-toe with them. We had a couple of chances to win the game at the end, but just made a couple of errors down the stretch and they made some plays. That’s basketball.”
Tyrique Langley’s return to the program after missing last season was a success as the senior guard netted 22 points, including a 12-for-13 effort from the foul line.
Zyaire Sellers and Joey Benincaso added 11 points each.
Norwalk made only three 3-point shots, but was 28-for-35 from the foul line.
Bowe for New Milford.
While Brevard and Proctor were pouring in the points, Bowe — a forward — owned a key part of the third quarter for the Wave.Read Full Article
Trailing 46-40, Bowe scored off an offensive rebound of a missed foul shot to make it 46-42. When he scored from the low post to make it 46-44.
After a Norwalk turnover he added an 8-footer from the baseline to tie the game at 46-46.
It was also Bowe’s 3-pointer earlier in the quarter that gave New Milford its first tie of the game.
“When one guy plays well, the next guy plays better,” Tolomeo said. “We try to do that to help each other.”
“I would have liked to come away with the win. I liked the effort we gave. It hurts right now, but we have 19 more of these to go,” said Keyes before departing for the long bus ride home.
NEW MILFORD 77,
Zyaire Sellers 5 0-1 11, Jadyn Grant 2 5-6 9, Joey Benincaso 3 4-6 11, Tyrique Langley 5 1213 22, Xavier Vines 2 3-3 7, Conner Mastropietro 2 1-2 6, Izaiah Lopez 1 2-2 4, Jamal Boyd 1 1 2 3, Totals 21 28-35 75
NEW MILFORD (0-1)
Matt Brevard 6 4-5 20, Josian Morales 4 0-0 8, Shane Fedigan 2 0-0 5, Hunter Skelley 1 0-0 2, Anthony Trocchio 0 0-2 0, Malik Proctor 5 8-12 23, Tyler Bowe 4 4-5 13, Christopher Gesuldi 1 3-4 6, Totals 23 19-28 77
NORWALK 16 11 25 23
NEW MILFORD 7 19 23 28
3-pointers: N—Sellers, Benincaso, Mastropietro; NM—Proctor 5, Brevard 4, Fedigan, Bowe, Gesauldi