Seniors Toto, Gregorio lead Law to first victory
After struggling for the first part of the season and desperately searching for its first victory, the Jonathan Law boys’ basketball team earned that elusive first win with a 75-61 triumph over Kaynor Tech-Waterbury in the first round of the Joel Barlow Holiday Tournament last Tuesday night.
The Lawmen jumped out to a five-point lead after one quarter before going up 37-24 at halftime.
Law’s offense was clicking early thanks in part to seniors Nick Toto and Dan Gregorio. Toto poured in a game-high 34 points, while Gregorio scored 20 points.
“Both big guys (Toto and Gregorio) played really well during the Kaynor Tech game,” Law coach Mike Hoggatt said. “We played great team defense and had a 21-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Nick Toto and Dan Gregorio score most times they touch the ball down low. It was great for both of them to have a good offensive game.”
In the third quarter, the Lawmen scored 26 points to add to their double-digit lead and went into the fourth quarter with a season-high 21-point lead.
The big third quarter pretty much put the game away and the Eagles were well on their way to the first win.
“It was very important for us to get a win under our belts before we move into the killer SCC schedule we have,” Hoggatt said. “I am glad that we got the win against Kaynor and the fact we played well against Barlow in the championship game.”
Law’s Aaron Gambardella chipped in with 12 points.
Kaynor Tech’s Trekel Douglas scored a team-high 20 points, while Dalton Hester finished with 12 points.
The Lawmen outshot Kaynor Tech from the free-throw line. The Eagles were 13-of-20, while Kaynor was 8-of-19.
Law earned a berth in the finals against the host team Joel Barlow for a shot at the tournament championship, but the Falcons took home the title with a 67-57 victory.
Barlow advanced to the finals with a win over University-Hartford, 67-51, the previous night.
The combination of Nelson Diaz (16 points, 15 rebounds), Tommy Auer (13 points) and Phil Moriber (13 points) led the Falcons to the championship. The trio combined for more than three quarters of their team’s total offense. Diaz was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
Law was again led by Gregorio and Toto, who combined to score 27 points.
Barlow outscored Law 17-12 in the first quarter, but the Lawmen responded in the second (17-14) and trailed by only two points at halftime. It was more of the same in the third and the Eagles tied the game at 46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Law, Barlow pulled away in the final quarter, outscoring the Lawmen 21-11 to capture the title.
“We played really well for three quarters against Barlow,” Hoggatt said. “We deserved to win the game until the fourth quarter. We reverted back to our bad habits of taking bad shots and turning the ball over. We turned the ball over three times in a row during the fourth and shot 2-of-20 from the floor during the last eight minutes. Barlow took it to us and we folded down the stretch.”
After the holiday break, the Lawmen (1-5) return to the court on Jan. 7 when they host Guilford at 7 p.m. looking to build on their first win.
“The tournament was great to participate in this year,” Hoggatt said. “We will definitely be going back next year… all four teams were pretty well matched. They also had a JV tournament in which our younger guys won both games. It was a confidence-builder on all levels.”