NEW BRITAIN - With the score tied with just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Goodwin Tech was struggling against Ellis Tech.
Gladiators head coach Reuben Charles called a timeout to figure out what adjustments were needed.
Following the timeout, Goodwin Tech went on a 24-6 run, playing strong both offensively and defensively.
In the end, it led to a dominant 67-31 victory over the Golden Eagles on Friday night.
“I had to remind the guys that you had to play hard. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” Charles said. “We had to pick our defense up and that’s what we did. It turned the game around.”
Luis Aguiar had 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half, including all 17 of the Gladiators points in the opening quarter. Francisco Santiago added 13 points of his own.
Goodwin Tech ran the floor, caused turnovers that resulted in offense, dominated the boards and outhustled Ellis Tech throughout.
“From night to night you see different teams,” Charles said. “You basically look for weaknesses with the opponent and you actually try to capitalize on that. With this team, in terms of skill, they were extremely weak so I knew we had to pick our defense up and put a lot of pressure on them. Once we did that the game basically changed. It was the end of the game.”
Aguiar crashed the offensive boards and generated extra scoring opportunities for himself that he finished off.
With a 17-10 lead going into the second quarter, the Gladiators run continued.
Nefaru Murray drew a pair of shooting fouls to begin the second and hit all four of his foul shots.
Santiago had six points in the quarter and drove the lane, consistently using his speed to blow past defenders and finish off layups.
Josh Peeples also had a strong second quarter with seven points, including a 3-pointer.
While Aguiar did it all in the first quarter points wise, six different Goodwin Tech players registered points in the second leading to a 41-16 lead at the half.
Heading into the third quarter, the Gladiators didn’t lose a step and continued to pour on the points.
Santiago led the way with seven points in the third.
Goodwin Tech scored 20 points in the third quarter as a team and continued controlling the game, as Ellis Tech couldn’t get any offense.
Outside of the first quarter, the Golden Eagles were held to single digits in every quarter, six in the second, nine in the third and six in the fourth.
“We definitely stepped up our defense after that first quarter,” Santiago said. “We actually put some pressure on them and started finishing our baskets. We weren’t finishing a lot of baskets and then we started to do so.”
Overall, Nine different Goodwin Tech players scored in the game.
“Everybody played as a unit,” Santiago said. “We’re just like one big family. If you take down one brother, the other brothers come in. We’re looking for a ring.”
Goodwin Tech went 11-for-18 at the free throw line and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers.
Most of the damage, though, was done in the paint for the Gladiators.
For Goodwin Tech it’s another win as it continues the successful start to the season, now 11-1 on the year.
Ellis Tech fell to 3-11 on the year.
The Gladiators will travel to Vinal Tech Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 5:45 p.m.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org