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Northwestern edges Nonnewaug to close in on share of BL title

POSTED February 22, 2016
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Northwestern guard Anthony Case made some big plays down the stretch to lead Northwestern over Nonnewaug.

WOODBURY - The Northwestern Regional boys basketball team scratched, clawed and fought its way to a crucial road victory over Nonnewaug on Monday night and now the Highlanders are a win away from another Berkshire League title.

Tucker Kreh scored 12 points for Northwestern (16-3, 15-2 Berkshire League), including a layup off an inbounds pass with under 20 seconds to go to put the Highlanders ahead for good, in a 49-46 victory over Nonnewaug in Woodbury.

“I wasn’t the first option, we were looking to get it into Devin (Warren) for the three-ball,” Kreh said. “I set the pick and I rolled and I had the layup.”

The play was set up by a steal Northwestern senior guard Anthony Case. Nonnewaug was looking to run the last minute off the clock to take the last shot but Case poked the ball free and got the Highlanders the possession that resulted in Kreh’s bucket.

“When I put it up I thought it might be a little short but once I saw it go through the net it was great,” Kreh said.

Kreh’s hoop gave the Highlanders the lead, but the Chiefs had their chances. Nate Firlings was fouled on the ensuing possession but missed two free throws with 12 seconds to go. Anthony Case then made one free throw with 11 seconds on the clock to push the lead to three and after a timeout, Nonnewaug inbounded from mid-court.

Jacob Matta got off a 3-pointer from the corner but it bounced off the rim and time ran out, giving the Highlanders a crucial win.

“We knew we had to play some hard defense with no fouls,” Kreh said. “It was a high intensity game.”

Nonnewaug (15-4, 15-2) entered the game in the drivers seat. It had won eight straight since a 54-46 loss at Northwestern on January 22 to take control of the BL race and a win Monday would have clinched the league title outright. Now the Chiefs have to take care of Wamogo at home on Thursday to earn at least a share of the title.

Northwestern trailed 37-30 halfway through the third but closed the quarter on an 11-4 run to tie the game, 41-41 entering the fourth.

“I thought we wanted it and played really hard,” Northwestern coach Doug Sebach said. “Both teams played hard enough to win, we just happened to get the points at the end to get the lead.”

Nonnewaug had its last lead of the game at 46-44 after a steal by Firlings led to a layup by Nick DeCicco with 1:40 to go. Case made two free throws for Northwestern with 1:25 to go and then came up with the key steal to set up the game-winning sequence.

“Our guys have a lot of heart and we deserved it tonight,” Sebach said. “I told the team coming in it was going to be a battle and it was, all four quarters.”

Kreh and Devin Warren each scored 12 points to lead Northwerstern. Anthony Case had 10 and Alex Case had seven. DeCicco had 13 for Nonnewaug. Jacob Matta added 12 and Firlings had 11 for the Chiefs.

Each team managed just two field goals in the fourth quarter with the Highlanders going 4-for-6 from the line while Firlings missed Nonnewaug’s only free throws of the quarter.

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