Tyler Thomas, Amity rally past West Haven in boys basketball
WEST HAVEN >> Heading into Wednesday evening’s Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision game against Amity, West Haven head coach Harry Bosley was worried about Amity’s Tyler Thomas. Bosley’s worry was for good reason.
Behind 32 points from Thomas, including 14 in the second quarter, Amity rallied with a late free throw to defeat West Haven 58-57 at West Haven High.
The heroics of Thomas briefly took a back seat to the last second heroics of Colin Beaulieu, who drained a free throw with nine seconds to go in the fourth quarter to put the Spartans up for good. A last second shot by West Haven did not go down, propelling the Spartans to the victory.
“It is just resilience,” Thomas said. “We just never gave up. We hit some big shots and made plays on defense. This is pretty big for us. We just came off a loss to Cheshire and we wanted to come back strong.”
Rallying from a nine-point deficit, the Westies again found themselves down six points after Thomas sank a pair of free throws with 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to cap an 8-0 run by the Spartans.
The Westies then traded baskets by Carl Edwards, and Jaden Jones with Amity free throws and got within 57-55 with 24.9 seconds to go on a basket by Jones. After a steal, Jamal Pate hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds to go to even the game at 57.
Amity got the ball up the court and with just nine seconds to go in the quarter, Beaulieu was fouled going to the basket and drained one of two for the 58-57 lead.
“We made one more free throw and did just enough to win the game,” Amity coach Jeff Nielsen said. “We had to go to the bench early with all the fouls that were called and we got production from everyone. Both benches stepped up tonight. We had just enough at the end.”
For West Haven and Bosley, the loss was a bitter one to take as the Westies were in prime position to grab the win, but could not hit key shots down the stretch.
“We got outhustled and outworked tonight,” Bosley said. “They got to all the loose balls. We didn’t start playing until the fourth quarter. We have to play hard from the start.”
Behind four points apiece from Thomas and Jack Nolan in the opening quarter, Amity jumped out to a 14-9 lead. Amity’s defense stymied the Westies in the quarter, forcing six of West Haven’s points to come from the free throw line.
The game opened up in the second quarter, with the two teams combining for 40 points. Thomas had 14 of his team’s 18 points in the eight minutes before the half. Marquel Bookert drained three 3-pointers in the quarter for West Haven.
A pair of free throws by Thomas extended the Amity lead to 29-18 before Josiah Steinman hit a 3-pointer and Edwards connected with a beautiful drive against the Amity defense Edwards then got West Haven within one, 32-31 seconds before the half.
Amity opened the second half with the first six points, highlighted by a long three-pointer by Thomas to extend the margin to 38-31.
West Haven again rallied late in the quarter as a 3-pointer by Edwards with 45 seconds to go and a bucket by Edwards 22 seconds later evened the game at 45. Chris Bierezowiec made sure the Spartans went to the last quarter with a lead as he drained a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining in the third.
Nolan finished with eight points and Bierezowiec added seven in the win. Steinman finished with 14 points and Bookert added 12 in the loss for West Haven.