Suffield boys’ basketball defeats Stafford in double OT
By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Jan. 18, 2012
It was one of those games that players will likely tell their grandchildren about - a seemingly routine Tuesday night match-up that turned into one for the record books.
At the start of the 2011/2012 season, Suffield High School boys’ basketball coach Dan Gatto set simple goals for his team. “Be competitive in every game and have good practices,” he said. And on Jan. 10, the extra effort on the practice court shone through in a 65-59 double overtime victory over Stafford.
Prior to tip-off, Gatto commented on his expectations for the night. “This is going to be a good game. The last time we played [Stafford], it was very close the entire time.” After losing the first match-up with the Bulldogs on Dec. 14, 32-28, the Wildcats hit a hot streak and went on to secure four hard fought wins against Canton (35-54), Woodstock Academy (67-62), Gilbert (65-61) and Somers (67-50).
Stafford’s Tim Artruc took the tip-off and scored first, but the Wildcats came back scratching and clawing, and at the end of the first quarter, the score stood in favor of Suffield, 16-11, due in large part to the offensive efforts of guards Tyron Williams (junior, #12) and Ed Danek (senior, #33).
Fouls plagued both benches in the first half: Suffield with six and Stafford with nine. The first half ended in favor of the Wildcats, 25-17.
Defense proved to be Suffield’s secret weapon in the third quarter. Senior forward Steve Roncaioli (#34) was relentless, leading the team in blocked shots and securing Suffield’s lead, 33-27.
Stafford struck back in the fourth quarter, when senior David DeLeon hit shot after shot, including a three-point swish with less than a minute left, bringing the game even at 43-43, initiating the first OT.
With four minutes of OT put on the clock, Suffield came out strong, but Stafford’s three-point accuracy continued, ending the first OT at 48-48.
Again, fouls challenged Suffield in double OT. “After Roncaioli fouled out,” Gatto said, “we replaced him with sophomore Troy Hastings (#35).”
It all came down to defense and determination, and which team best withstood the grueling OT test; the Wildcats’ prevailed, 62-56.