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Update: The semifinal-round game between Newtown and Amity has been scheduled to be played at neutral site Shelton High on Wednesday, March 14, beginning at 7 pm. This update was made by the ciac on the morning of March 13.
Once again, the Newtown High School boys’ basketball team pulls off an upset on the road and advances in the state tournament.
The No. 21 seed in the Division II bracket, Newtown defeated the No. 13 Wilton Warriors 57-54 in the quarterfinals, on March 12, earning a trip into Connecticut high school’s D-II March Madness Final Four.
The Nighthawks, who previously upset No. 12 Ledyard and No. 5 Pomperaug of Southbury in the bracket, now take their chances against No. 9 Amity of Woodbridge in the state semifinals. The game is scheduled to be played on Wednesday, March 14, at a site and time to be determined (check back for updates and visit the D-II bracket page on casciac.org for complete tournament information).
Another win on the dark road uniforms will mean a trip to the championship game against either No. 2 Immaculate of Danbury or No. 6 Glastonbury.
Newtown’s road warriors overcame the host Warriors, NHS Coach Tim Tallcouch’s former team, behind 16 points from Robert DiSibio and 15 off the hands of Todd Petersen.
Riley Ward scored nine, and Evan Eggleston and Nick Weiland had six and five, respectively.
The Hawks made nine 3-pointers; Petersen hit four, DiSibio three, and Eggleston a pair from beyond the arc.
Petersen had a handful of shot blocks and Newtown played half-court game on offense for much of the night as the Hawks limited the Warriors, who had scored 74 and 63 in their previous two state playoff games, to just 48 points through four quarters.
Shea Talbot and Ryan Escoda came off the bench and contributed. Ward’s dribbling skills were on display throughout the night.
Scoring highlights included a baseline drive and reverse layup by Weiland, some strong attacks against the teeth of the D by Ward, and accurate long-range knockdowns from Newtown’s two tallest players, 6-foot-3 DiSibio and 6-foot-5 Petersen.
Newtown led 17-10 after the first quarter as the teams traded 3-pointers in the final minutes, and 23-20 at halftime. It was 37-36 Wilton heading to the fourth.
The Warriors built a 37-32 lead with 1:05 left in the third. Newtown turned that around for a five-point lead of its own, 47-42, as DiSibio hit a clutch front end one and one foul shot, and subsequent freebie to cap the 15-5 run with 4:19 left in the fourth.
Wilton fought back to tie the game and both teams had looks in the final minute to break the deadlock, included a Warrior attempt at the buzzer
In OT, a Petersen block and DiSibio rebound led to Weiland being fouled and hitting one of two foul shots for the first point of extra play.
Wilton went up 52-49 before the Hawks got their first field goal of overtime about halfway through the four-minute abbreviate period, a 3-pointer from Petersen, knotting the score again. DiSibio made a free throw for a 53-52 Newtown edge with 1:34 left.
Petersen’s defensive rebound led to Ward being fouled and sinking both attempts from the charity stripe with 54 seconds remaining.
After a DiSibio rebound on the defensive end, another Ward free throw made it a two-possession game with 41 seconds to go.
The Warriors cut the lead in half, making it 56-54 with a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left.
Weiland hit one of two foul shots for the game’s final marker, with 18 ticks left on the scoreboard clock.
Wilton had two late possessions with chances to tie, and the final attempt was off the mark at the buzzer.
In a handful of returns to his old stomping grounds, Tallcouch had never on in Wilton’s field house, but getting the victory in this game was very rewarding for the coach given what was on the line.
“I’d lose 100 times if I can win one to get to the state semis,” Tallcouch said. “This one’s extra special for me.”