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Cold Start Dooms Hall In Showdown With Simsbury

Hall's Matt Walker let's fly a jumper. Hall vs. Simsbury boys basketball. Feb. 16, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Hall hosted Simsbury in West Hartford Tuesday night in a boys basketball game featuring two of the state’s top guards.

Hall’s Makyle Ramos goes up and over Simsbury defenders. Hall vs. Simsbury boys basketball. Feb. 16, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

By Paul Palmer

Two of the area’s hottest players met head-to-head at Hall High School in West Hartford Tuesday night as the Warriors hosted Simsbury in boys basketball. But it was a cold start that doomed Hall (2-1) as they fell to Simsbury, 62-55.

The showdown between Hall’s senior guard Matt Walker and Simsbury’s Ian Calabrese didn’t disappoint as both guards hit double digits – Walker leading his team with a game-high 20, and Calabrese with 15. But what tripped up Hall was a series of cold spells from the floor.

The Warriors missed their first two shots and turned the ball over on their second possession.That allowed the Trojans to build an early 8-point lead before Alex Momeka’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 5 at the end of the first quarter.

Hall’s Walker said after the game that the slow start put the Warriors in a hole. “Missing a lot of shots in the first quarter hurt us. They played great and really stepped it up.”

Simsbury managed to open a 6-point lead on Jeffrey Coleman’s put back, but Hall found an answer this time. Joseph Dooley’s block was followed by a Hall miss, but Dooley was there to bat the rebound back out to a teammate.

Alex Mogel then drained a 3 to cut then Simsbury lead to just 1 point. But Calabrese would answer with a 3 of his own to push the Trojans lead to four before Walker hit the driving bank shot to make it 20-18 Simsbury before Christopher Kokines added to the lead and Simsbury closed it out 24-18 at the half.

On the first possession of the second half, Calabrese drained a 3-pointer and Simsbury pushed the lead to 9 just minutes into the half. With 2:51 left in the third quarter, Calabrese went down hard after being hit while driving. Clearly dealing with a hand injury, he missed a pair of free throws before taking himself out of the game for medical attention. He would return later in the game.

Simsbury didn’t seem to miss a beat without him, as Jeffrey Papagelis (18 points) hit a 3 to build the lead to 13 with 2:09 left in the quarter.

Hall coach Bryan Moretti decided to go with a full court press to start the fourth quarter and it paid off.Walker would hit a pair of 3s as part of a 14-4 Hall run cutting it to a 2-point game with 4:32 left. But that was as close as the Warriors would get.

Papagelis hit another 3, and Hall missed a pair of 3s and then turned the ball over as they fought to get back in it, but good team play breaking the Hall pressure and timely scoring by the Trojans sealed the game.

Hall will travel to Northwest Catholic on Friday.

Hall’s Makyle Ramos guard Simsbury’s Ian Calabrese. Hall vs. Simsbury boys basketball. Feb. 16, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Hall’s Matt Walker goes around Simsbury’s Thomas Dennehy. Hall vs. Simsbury boys basketball. Feb. 16, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Hall’s William Gaumer on defense against Simsbury. Hall vs. Simsbury boys basketball. Feb. 16, 2021. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

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