Glastonbury's Adam Molusis defends Manchester's Troy Butler as #55 Jack Hennessy looks on during the Guardians 68-64 loss on Jan. 25
Slowly but surely the boys’ basketball team at Glastonbury High School is getting healthy and building a noticeable rapport on the court.
The Guardian, who have been ravaged by injuries and illness, went toe-to-toe with a stacked team from Manchester before falling 68-64 last Tuesday, Jan. 25 at GHS.
“We’re playing much better. That’s a game we could have lost by a lot before and tonight we could have won,” said GHS head coach Jim Vaughan. “We just have to figure out ways to win close games but we are putting ourselves in position to win. I’m pleased with our progress, but not pleased with losing.”
Missed free throws and untimely turnovers doomed the Guardians, who were coming off an impressive 22-point win over Newington three days earlier.
Leading 40-38 heading into the fourth, Manchester committed their seventh foul of the half, sending Glastonbury to the foul line early in the frame. However, the home team shot 6 of 15 from the charity stripe over the final eight minutes and 11 of 23 overall in the game.
Vaughan said the missed freebies were crucial and could have been a result of fatigue, adding, “We haven’t played in a lot of games like this that were close and meant this much, so we may have tightened up a little. It’s a learning experience. I thought we outplayed them but we just didn’t make key plays when we needed them.”
Junior Trey Tennyson led the team with 14 points, nine coming from downtown. Tennyson scored four straight points on consecutive layups to start the second quarter after receiving a pair of incredible inbounds passes from Jordyn Sams. A free throw from Jack Hennessy gave the Guardians their biggest lead of the night at 14-9 before Manchester chipped away and the teams exchanged the lead 11 times in the first half.
A pair of free throws and a deep three pointer from Dan Cantafi put Glastonbury up 40-34 late in the third before Manchester went on a 10-0 run spanning the final minute of the third and the first few minutes of the fourth.
Red Hawks senior Troy Butler took over in the fourth, scoring 16 of his game-high 26 points over the final eight minutes.
Owen Peterson and Adam Molusis traded buckets midway through the fourth quarter to keep the game close, but the struggles at the line were too much to overcome.
Peterson finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Molusis scored 13 and dished out four assists.
Despite the outcome, Vaughan liked how the team played offensively, “Our execution is pretty good. It’s just a shame that right when it mattered they came up with two or three straight offensive rebounds and we missed two or three one-and-ones. That was the difference.”
The loss came on the heels of the team’s best win of the year, as 52-30 triumph over Newington on Jan. 21.
Molusis, who is the team’s primary ball handler, had an outstanding all-around game with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals in the win over the Nor’easters.
The senior point guard was one of many players that missed time earlier this season when the team suffered a five-game losing skid.
Sams, who is a stout defender and had a pair of steals against Manchester, and freshman David Smith are also back in the lineup, giving Vaughan a deeper rotation.
Vaughan added that he believes more players are shooting with confidence and the longtime could see the team making a push in February, “[The players] haven’t quit, it’s a credit to them. We’ve played some really good teams and our schedule will open up a little bit. We’re playing better, so I’m optimistic how the second half of the season will be.”
Following the loss to Manchester, the team responded by easily defeating Harding 57-32 on Jan. 26 to pick up their third win of the season.
In the 25-point triumph, Molusis scored 13 points, Smith added 11 points, and Peterson posted 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists as the team posted their largest victory of the season.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin