By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
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What goes around, comes around.
Last Tuesday night, Amity lost to Hamden 50-49 in overtime, despite recording more field goals (20-19) than the Green Dragons. The difference in the final outcome came at the foul line where Hamden sunk 11 of 26 free throws as compared to only six of 10 by the Spartans. The same exact situation occurred Thursday night when Amity defeated Cheshire 59-52—but this time it was a case of role reversal. The Rams netted 19 baskets while Amity sunk 18 (including seven from three point-land); however, the Spartans were good on 16 of 27 freebies while Cheshire sunk only 10 of 16. Both teams are now 2-2 overall but Amity gets a win in both teams’ first Housatonic Division contest of the young season. The Southern Connecticut Conference contest was played in Woodbridge.
Led by point guard Collin Jordan (who led all scorers with 22 points) Cheshire came out red-hot and quickly jumped ahead 20-12.
According to Amity coach Jeff Nielsen, “Jordan isn’t big but he’s very quick. He came at us all night long. We knew that we had to find a way to stay in front of him and slow down his drives.”
After missing a number of outside shots and falling behind in the first quarter, the Spartans changed their tactics in the second quarter. Instead of tossing up jump shots from the perimeter, they decided to go inside and try to score and/or get fouled. Zac Campbell, who finished with a team-high 17 points, canned 12 of those points during the second quarter as Amity outscored the Rams 17-11 and drew within two points (31-29) at the end of the first half after trailing 25-12 early in the second session.
“I told my guys that Zac had to touch the ball every possession. He did that and was able to cash in on several lay-ups. He kicked our offense into gear and kept us in the game,” Nielsen said.
Following an uneventful third quarter, Cheshire still hung onto its two point lead (40-38) at the outset of the final period. While Jordan dropped in eight fourth quarter points, Dave Ryan matched that by gunning home a pair of threes and adding two free throws. Gardner Broderick also stepped up with 11 of his 16 points. One of his baskets put Amity into the lead and he clinched the win by canning all seven of his fourth quarter foul shots. While he did shoot well from the floor and rang up 15 points, Campbell struggled at the foul line, making only two of his 10 freebies throughout the contest.
Nielsen added, “We began to press Cheshire from the outside. We stayed on their shooters and did not give any good looks. Eric Dietrich is a good three point shooter. He did get 13 points, but only one three.”
In addition to Campbell’s 17 points, Broderick rang up 16 and Ryan chipped in with 15.
“It was nice to see three guys in double figures. We went with a smaller line-up and had very balanced scoring. For the first time this season scored over 50 points. In our first three games, we scored in the 40’s. Once we got the lead, time was running short and they began to foul us. We hit a lot of our free throws and that kept the game out of their reach,” added Nielsen. “This was a big win for us. First, we bounced back nicely from the loss to Hamden. In addition, this was our first Housatonic Division game of the season. You always want to win the home divisional games because it can be tough to win them on the road.”
Both teams heads into Christmas with identical 2-2 records. Amity is back in action on Thursday night at 5 p.m., facing Oxford in the first round of the Candy Can Invitational Tournament, which is being played at Woodland High in Beacon Falls.