Suffield five-game win streak snapped
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Thu., Feb. 7, 2013
Just two weeks ago, the Suffield Wildcats were in a precarious situation, with their season on the line, as their overall record sat at 5-5 after a three-game losing streak. The resilient boys’ basketball team answered with a five-game winning streak, clinching a state tournament berth and putting themselves in position for a deep run in the North Central Connecticut Conference tournament. Their last lost was a three-point loss at Enfield, where they led in the fourth quarter, but could not hold on. The rematch looked much different, as Suffield (10-6) succumbed to the relentless defensive effort of Enfield (13-2), falling 49-36 on Feb. 5.
“Their defense is just so good,” said head coach Dan Gatto. “It never stops; there is pressure on you all the time, and if you can’t handle it, they just get so many more offensive possessions. It’s just tough to keep them at bay. If you give them extra possessions, you’re in trouble.”
Enfield’s full-court trap was not particularly effective versus Suffield, but their half-court trap proved to be problematic, forcing the Wildcats into 18 turnovers. Some of Suffield’s inability to figure out and beat the pressure can be attributed to a few players being forced into the ball-carrier role, as senior guard Tyron Williams was unavailable. Suffield sorely missed Williams’ ball-handling ability and experience breaking the press during the game, not to mention the open looks he creates on offense.
Suffield was led by sophomore guard Gezim Ramadani, who came off the bench to net two three-pointers on his way to 10 points, all of which came in the second half. Junior captain Nolan McCoy tallied nine points, but did not score in the fourth quarter. Senior forward Damien Gunn is the biggest threat when Williams is out, and showed that early on with seven points in the first half. But with the Enfield defense at full bore, he was unable to find his stroke in the second half, going scoreless.
“The thing with him [Gunn] is he can really shoot it and they started taking it away a little bit,” Gatto said. “Then you pressure the ball handlers and it’s hard to get it to him. He looked good, but then they picked up the pressure a little bit.”