The old saying “never judge a book by its cover” certainly applied for the Newtown High School girls’ basketball team in each of its last two games — a 58-44 loss to Saddle River Day School in New Jersey on January 3 and a 54-40 win over visiting Stratford on January 6. A 14-point loss is a 14-point loss? And a 14-point win is a 14-point win? Not exactly. For starters, Newtown Coach Jeremy O’Connell’s team benefited from its setback to Saddle River in that the team was challenged. O’Connell schedules nonconference games against tough teams in hopes of preparing his group for the postseason.
Newtown High School’s boys’ swimming and diving team, on January 6, returned from a two-week break from meets by easing back into competition with an 89-77 win over the visiting Bunnell-Stratford co-op team. Newtown, after sealing the team win in the 500 yard freestyle race, exhibitioned the final four events and improved to 2-1 this winter. The 200 medley relay team of Michael Poulter, Seth Barrett, Tommy Horan, and Owen Gray kicked things off with a first-place finish in a time of 1:54.2.
Newtown High School’s girls’ and boys’ indoor track teams participated in a South-West Conference Developmental meet at Wesleyan University in Middletown on January 3. Team members had strong performances and many qualified for postseason meets.
Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team fended off multiple comeback efforts by the host Masuk Panthers en route to a 70-62 victory, the team’s third straight win, on January 5. Newtown improved to 4-2 overall, and Masuk fell to 4-2. Every time the Panthers tried to build momentum, Newtown got a key steal, rebound, or basket to maintain the lead. “They made their runs. We hung tough,” Newtown Coach Tim Tallcouch said. “We answered every one of their runs with a run of our own.” The Nighthawks were led by Harrison Depuy’s 17 points and Jacob Burden’s 16. Joe Duero had 12 — on four 3-pointers — Jeremy Doski scored 10, Will Dalton contributed seven, and Dylan Palumbo and Charlie Huegi both added four. Doski had nine assists and 11 rebounds, Depuy pulled down nine rebounds, and Burden had six rebounds. Dalton, Depuy, and Burden each had a trio of steals.
Newtown High School’s wrestling and boys’ basketball teams earned wins on Saturday, January 3. The wrestling squad won the Trumbull Duals, defeating Pomperaug of Southbury 63-9, Daniel Hand of Madison 70-5, Nanuet, N.Y., 70-3, and Trumbull 47-15 in the finals to claim the title. Luca Crudo joined teammate James Leuci in the 100-win club, and Matt Gonzalez moved closer to reaching that plateau. In the four team-versus-team competitions during the Trumbull Duals, Newtown recorded 25 pins. The NHS boys’ basketball team defeated visiting Torrington 86-49. A dozen players got on the score sheet, led by Will Dalton and Jacob Burden with 16 points apiece, and Charlie Huegi and Jeremy Doski with 13 each.
The 2014 calendar year featured a variety of shining moments in the local athletics scene. As has been the case in past years, there were record-setting efforts and championships. The past 12 months also featured more memorable regular-season games, including Newtown High School’s football team preventing an opponent from breaking a state record. A cheerleading squad claimed the spotlight — at the national level. There were also some changes made, including tweaking of the football schedule and approval for new varsity sports programs at the high school. Here’s a look at some of the most notable moments from the past year.
Newtown High School’s boys’ basketball team defeated Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport, 76-65, in the consolation game of the Wilton Holiday Tournament on December 29. Will Dalton led Newtown with 32 points and came up with eight steals; he was named to the All Tournament Team. Harry Depuy registered a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Jeremy Doski added seven assists, and Charlie Huegi had five assists. Newtown improved to 2-2 heading into a Saturday, January 3, visit from Torrington — tipoff is set for 6 pm. On the ice, the Newtown High hockey team played in its second straight overtime contest, this time prevailing for its first win in four games to begin the campaign. Newtown edged the Eastern Connecticut Eagles 5-4 at Dayton Arena on the campus of Connecticut College in New London on December 29. Scott McLean scored the game-winner as part of a four-point night.
Coming off a campaign in which it was narrowly edged out by New Milford for the South-West Conference championship, scoring 130.65 points to New Milford’s 130.9, and only two winters removed from winning the conference crown, Newtown High School gymnastics team is looking to again be in contention to be among the best in the SWC. It will take quick emergence among the team’s sophomores and freshmen, who comprise six of the nine team members, and some turnaround in the health department for Newtown to get into postseason shape.
It may be early in the season, but the Danbury Holiday Wrestling Tournament had a postseason feel as some of the state’s best teams tangled on the mats on December 27. Newtown High, defending Class LL state champion, came out on top in the event which included last year’s Class L champion New Milford, as well as the State Open winners, the tournament hosts from Danbury High. Luca Crudo (113 pound division), Anthony Falbo (170), Joe Accousti (152), and Andy Hubina (195) all won weight division championships to help the Nighthawks capture the team title.
Newtown High School had strong representation for fall season recognition. The following athletes earned All State honors: Cross country: Sarah Mawdsley; Soccer: Clay Gattey (All New England) and Jessica Keller; Football: Julian Dunn, Tim Krapf, and Ben Mason; Volleyball: Kyle Dandrea; Swimming and diving: Kari Djonne, Mary Hufziger, Eliza Eggleston, Amanda Mele, and Amy Martinelli.