WOODBURY – The Lewis Mills held off a tenacious fourth-quarter comeback by the Nonnewaug boys basketball team, as the Chiefs fell 53-50 on Monday.
Nonnewaug trailed 22-21 at the half, but Lewis Mills surged ahead to take a 43-30 third-quarter, lead. But the fourth-quarter Nonnewaug comeback came down to free throws. Lewis Mills was 6-for-10 from the line in the quarter, while Nonnewaug was 0-for-4.
“I think if we would have made our free throws, it would have been a different ballgame,” Nonnewaug head coach DeVonne Parker said.
After the game, Parker told his Chiefs to keep their heads up, learn from their mistakes, and get right back to practice on Tuesday.
“We’ve been having a lot of bad third quarters, so today was a plus,” Parker said. “I see a lot of effort, I see a lot of heart, I see a lot of improvement. I’m pretty satisfied, besides the free throws.”
The Chiefs opened the season by losing its first seven games and have been playing .500 ball since then. However, Nonnewaug needs to win each of its final three games to secure a spot in the CIAC Division IV tournament.
“We have to take them one game at a time,” said Parker, whose team plays against Thomaston on Thursday. “We didn’t have Ryan [Cleary] the first time we played Thomaston and we still had a good game.
Cleary missed the Chiefs’ first eight games as he recovered from a broken arm. Nonnewaug has been 3-3 since Cleary’s return to the line-up, but that includes a forfeit win over Gilbert.
“I’m not expecting any letdown,” Parker said. We’re going to play hard against Thomaston and just move on.”
Lewis Mills raised its record to 14-3.
Nonnewaug went on a 9-1 run behind Jacob Firlings’ five points and James Gengenbach’s four points. Jason Porcelli came off the bench to replace Peter Rickenbach, who fouled out with 3:34 left to play, and nailed a jumper and a three-pointer to make it a 46-44 game.
After a layup by Lewis Mills’ Jackson Lord, Firlings hit from three to cut Lewis Mills’ lead to one.
Matt Geissler went 4-for-4 from the line to seal the win for Lewis Mills, though Cleary hit a long-distance 3-pointer to cut Lewis Mills’ lead to two with 3.2 seconds left to play.
Cleary led all scorers with 16 points. Firlings had 10, and Jarrett Michaels scored 8.