Wamogo completes perfect devastation of BL
LITCHFIELD – So what’s better than perfection? How about perfection with a punch. Perfection with a powerful element of stylish devastation.
Wamogo completed its romp through the Berkshire League and regular season Tuesday night with a 67-31 clubbing of Nonnewaug in front of appreciative home crowd that nearly filled the refreshingly refurbished gymnasium.
The resulting 20-0 record was a fitting conclusion to stage I of a three-act play with the Berkshire League and state tournaments to follow over the next couple of weeks. Why fitting you ask. Simple.
The first outright BL title for the Warriors since 1973 (46 years) and the first unblemished record in the BL since Nonnewaug accomplished the feat in 2012-13 are enough to make it a season to savor up to this point. But it’s the brutally efficient style that has taken this campaign to another level and demanded historical perspective.
Coach Gregg Hunt’s team didn’t tippy-toe to perfection or manage to dodge defeat. The Warriors flat out blitzed the BL in a manner not seen since the 1990-91Thomaston team which went through the entire season undefeated and won the Class S state title while winning its BL games by nearly 30 points a game and never winning by less than 10 points.
The Warriors have won their games by an average of 32 points, only Shepaug coming within 10 points in a 60-51 loss. Try this one on. Nonnewaug (15-4, 14-4) is the second best team in the league and in two games the Warriors won by an average of 39.5 points. Throw in impressive non-league victories over Somers, 63-56, and at-the-time undefeated Classical Magnet, 77-63, and you have a heavy dose of domination.
This is not about the rest of the BL being bad, it is about this Wamogo team being that good. lEven the Warriors are a little bit taken back by the margin of their mayhem.
“We didn’t expect to blow teams out but at the same time the team worked hard during the summer and fall and got better,” said senior All-Stater Garrett Sattazahn.
“We didn’t expect to kill everybody but every time we are on the floor we want to make a statement,” said senior Reid Turtoro who went over the 1,000-point mark with an 18-point effort.
Despite all the one-sided affairs the Warriors have never needed to be pushed to be motivated. There was no boredom or flat nights.
“I told these guys at the start of the season that they would not be punished for doing what we told them to do,” said Hunt. “The kids played hard and hard all the time. We said they would get the minutes they earned even in games like tonight when we were up by 30 points at the half.”
Then there was a year ago that has kept the drive in first gear.
“Ever since losing last year at Mohegan (Division V championship) we have been motivated,” said Ethan Collins who led the way this night with 19 points.
So the BL regular season statement was made one final time in typical Wamogo fashion. This one was over in the first quarter. After a slow start, the Warriors ripped off six points in 30 seconds with Collins converting two passes from Sattazahn and Sean Coffey putting in a bucket for a 6-0 lead.
It would be 12-0 five minutes in and a hellacious, 23-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. It was typical Wamogo. Irritating defense, offensive socialism with a healthy sharing of the ball complete with back-door cuts and everybody taking part especially Collins who had 12 points in the quarter.
The only drama of the game had to do with Turtoro. He entered the night needing 10 points to hit the coveted 1,000-point mark and earned himself a spot on the banner with a 12-footer with 1:34 left in the half.
“It was an amazing feeling when it went down and I was glad to get it out of the way,” said Turtoro. “There are a lot of good players on that board. With a lot of unselfish teammates it is easy to score. “
Turtoro got a standing ovation with a lot of future Warriors holding up 1,000-point signs and then Wamogo kicked it into gear again. By the half it was, 38-10. At one point it was 65-24 in the second half.
At the end the Warriors were able to soak up the perfection. They cut down the net as a smiling Hunt looked on and took the last snippet in front of the faithful. Turtoro, wearing a 1,000 point crown for headgear, signed autographs on his milestone night and the smiles were in abundance. There was an appreciation of perfection and one part of the battle done, a special title.
While the title was hardly unexpected considering the returning crew from last season's Division V title game appearance, it was still a new experience. Hey, 46 years is a long time.
“It’s awesome winning the title,” said Collins. “We knew that the only way we could lose was if we beat ourselves. If we played the way we were capable of playing no one was going to beat us. We knew coming into the season we were a good team.”
Better than good. As Hunt said before the game, “this is a generational team.” There are two legs of the season to go. It is hard to imagine the Warriors won’t grab a third straight BL Tournament title. The state tournament is different.
In Division III lie the likes of Shelton, Naugatuck and Torrington. Yeah, I know. Call the CIAC. In the meantime appreciate one of the most dominating regular season performances the Berkshire League has ever seen.