The Warriors spearheaded a comeback effort in the fourth quarter, but a controversial call affected the outcome against New Milford.
By Marlon Pitter
When James DeCrisantis drained a 3-pointer to give Hall the lead late in the fourth quarter, it seemed like a game-winner for the Warriors – until it wasn’t.
The senior co-captain made a jumper from well beyond the arc to put Hall ahead of New Milford, 75-74, with five seconds left, but his teammates on the bench were assessed a technical foul for entering the court in celebration of the shot.
John Fitzmaurice, who finished with 17 points, made both technical free throws to put the Green Wave ahead 76-75. After being fouled on the ensuing possession, Eric Habjan converted two more attempts from the charity stripe, putting New Milford (2-0) ahead 78-75 with four seconds remaining.
Daidrien Ramos missed a buzzer-beating attempt to send the game to overtime, ending a back-and-forth clash for the Warriors as they fall to 1-2 on the season Wednesday night in West Hartford.
“It was a great high school basketball game,” said Hall head coach Bryan Moretti. “They did not need to call [the technical foul]. Let’s let the kids decide the game.”
As a team, Hall made 14 3-pointers. The added range of Ramos and Max Boyd (three 3-pointers each) to DeCrisantis’ shooting gave the Warriors the ability to stretch the defense and drive to the basket as defenders closed out on shooters, Moretti said.
Looking to improve on a three-win season last year, Moretti said the offense has improved and the team has competed well against good opponents, but the defense still has work to do.
“Offensively, nothing really changes,” he said. “We have to get better defensively. … We’re giving up too many easy shots.”
Hall began the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run, trimming the deficit to 61-60 with 7:15 to play. New Milford scored four straight points to go up 65-61 minutes later.
Down four with 21 seconds left, Boyd hit a 3-pointer to draw the Warriors closer at 73-72. The Warriors forced a jump ball on the ensuing inbound, but the possession arrow favored New Milford. Hunter Skelly made a free throw to put the Green Wave up 74-72 with 16 seconds left.
As both teams entered the bonus in the fourth quarter, the Green Wave did more with their opportunities from the line. In the last five minutes of play, New Milford shot 12-for-16 (75 percent) as opposed to 3-for-7 for Hall (43 percent).
The teams deadlocked at 17 apiece after the first quarter with Tyler Bowe’s nine points carrying the load for the visitors.
The Green Wave and Warriors broke out offensively in the second quarter, scoring 24 and 23 points respectively. The teams traded three-pointers for nearly three minutes in the latter half of the second quarter.
With 13 seconds left in the half, Josian Morales sunk a free throw to complete a three-point play and give New Milford a 41-40 lead at the break.
Both teams continued short scoring runs in the third quarter, keeping each other at arms’ reach throughout.
The Warriors trailed 61-55 entering the fourth quarter after Eric Diaz made a 3-pointer for the Green Wave with 1:08 left in the third.
DeCrisantis led all scorers with 21 points on seven 3-pointers for Hall. Onyx Erazo, Boyd, and Ramos followed with 17, 18 and 13, respectively.
Bowe led New Milford with 20 points. Morales chipped in 13.
Neither team led by more than six during the game.
Hall will travel to Simsbury (1-1) to face the Trojans Friday night at 6:45 p.m.
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