Terryville remains unbeaten in BL with rout of Lewis Mills
TERRYVILLE – Along with his teammates, Terryville’s Jacob Johnson is referred to by his nickname in the introductions at home games.
Johnson’s moniker, "Mr. Everything," could not have been more fitting on Friday night.
The senior scored 18 points, dished out eight assists and added four steals in leading the Kangaroos to a dominant 70-45 victory over Lewis Mills in the battle for first place in the Berkshire League.
In fact, it would’ve been fair to call all of the Kangaroos’ players by that name.
They were that good.
Junior Shea Tracy nailed seven three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points and Tyler Trillo finished with 12. Terryville (7-1, 6-0 BL) jumped out a 20-6 advantage after one quarter, 35-16 at the half and never trailed.
The Spartans (6-2, 4-2 BL), who now trail Terryville by two games in the league, never had a chance.
“I told the guys at halftime that we’ve finally grown up as a team, mentally and physically,” Terryville head coach Mark Fowler said. “We played really well, especially defensively. It was an outstanding team effort.”
Tracy hit four straight three-pointers at one point, with one coming at the second quarter buzzer and three straight at start of the third to open a comfortable 44-17 advantage. However, he was more excited about his team’s defensive effort than his stellar shooting.
“We came out focused on defense first,” Tracy said. “The key was everyone trusting each other. As well as we shot the ball, it wouldn’t have mattered if we did not defend. This was a big game and we wanted to make a statement.”
The statement was loud and clear. The road to the BL title is going through Terryville.
Amazingly, this was the Kangaroos’ second closest BL game this season (the first was an eight-point win on opening night at Northwestern). In their prior three contests heading into Friday, they outscored Wamogo, Shepaug and Litchfield, 230-110.
Fowler points to their two out-of-conference games, a two-point loss at Cromwell and a 12-point win at Plainville, as critical learning experiences.
“Playing bigger and more physical teams showed us where we need to be,” Fowler said. “The big lesson we learned was our level of play on defense had to improve. It has, and tonight we really played lockdown defense.”
Lewis Mills, meanwhile, learned on Friday it still has a long way to go to compete on Terryville’s level.
“We know (Terryville) is the top team and tonight was going to be a measuring stick,” said Lewis Mills head coach Todd Kozak, whose team was led by Spencer Maloney's 17 points. “Is the gap between us 30 points? Probably not.
“Terryville has played in big games before and we have young players not used to a game like this yet,” Kozak continued. “They will be, though.”
Terryville's experience, on the other hand, was visible.
"Our guys have played together for a long time and have had some struggles," noted Fowler. "Their experience showed (tonight). They were ready to play from the start and knew what to expect."
As for the "Mr. Everything" nickname?
“My old Spanish teacher actually came up with it and came up with ones for all of us,” explained Johnson, who is eight points away from 1,000 in his career. “It’s just something we have some fun with.”
Whether it’s nicknames, suffocating defense or precise shooting, the Kangaroos, eight games in, have had a lot of fun so far this season.
Their party doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.