Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team has certainly been competitive in its four games of the season, but the team is yet to get that first taste of victory.
The Nighthawks dropped each game by a single-digit margin, falling by just two points in the season opener against New Fairfield. Although the first contest was the closest on the early season, Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch has seen progress from game to game.
“I think we’ve improved every game that we’ve played,” Tallcouch said after a 59-50 setback to visiting Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport on December 30. “The kids work hard and that’s all I could ask for.”
After a 37-33 setback at Pomperaug of Southbury on December 23, the Hawks hosted the Hoops For Heroes Tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project December 27 and 30. The Hawks lost to eventual tourney champion Wilton 62-53 in the opener, then dropped the decision to Kolbe in the consolation game a few days later. Newtown held a six-point lead in the third quarter but saw Kolbe battle back then pull away late to overcome a monster 32-point effort by Newtown’s Julian Dunn, who was named to the All Tournament Team. The Hawks led early on in the game with Wilton before the visiting Warriors stormed back and seized control.
Kolbe didn’t take over in the consolation game without a big fight. Dunn answered a Kolbe 3-point play the old-fashioned way with one of his own, hitting a basket and foul shot for a 31-30 Newtown lead late in the third. The Hawks trailed by just three, 35-32, heading into the fourth.
Kolbe kept Newtown a bit out of reach throughout the final period. After Kolbe went ahead 40-33, the Hawks trimmed a handful of seven- and eight-point deficits down to five but couldn’t get any closer of those times.
Behind Dunn, the next leading scorer for Newtown was Mike Davis with nine points. Davis and Dunn had 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Jake Ball dished out six assists, and Dunn came away with four steals.
“I’m pleased with the effort. We’ve just got to figure out a way to close out some games,” Tallcouch said.
Newtown is scheduled to have its next chance when FCIAC team Trumbull visits for a Saturday, January 4, tip-off at 7 pm. Then comes a rematch with Kolbe, on the road, on January 7. Abbott Tech comes to Newtown for a January 10 game, and Brookfield visits on January 14 as the Hawks begin the first of 13 straight tilts with South-West Conference foes.
“Good things are going to happen,” Tallcouch said.