NEW BRITAIN - Right from the start, one could tell the Goodwin Tech boys basketball team and Innovation both wanted to win, but midway through the second quarter, the Gladiators gained a 22-point lead and never looked back.
Goodwin Tech’s Josh Peeples ignited a 25-0 run midway through the first quarter and continued into the second until Innovation’s Carlos Gonzalez hit a 3-pointer at the 2:34 mark to end the run.
But the deficit was too much for the Ravens to handle as Goodwin Tech rolled past Innovation 66-47 Friday night.
“We went back and forth, back and forth traded buckets for the first four-five minutes and then our defense suffocated them,” Goodwin Tech assistant basketball coach Joe Freundlich said. “That 25-0 run just speaks to our defense and how good we can be and the kids did their job. We talk about rotation, we talk about communication, and that shows when we go on a 25-0 run. For eight minutes they don’t score.”
Francisco Santiago scored 14 out of the Gladiators’ 25 points in the run and Peeples added five with Tommy Hughes and Xavier Cartagena scoring the six.
Santiago finished with a game-high 28 points, while Peeples contributed 15.
Ramiesh Bogle led Innovation with nine points, while Malcolm Lewis and Daequan Henderson each added seven.
“Today’s game was epic,” Peeples said. “We were full of hype. We had so much adrenaline pumping in our system. Every single day we practice [and] we work hard. We put our hearts out there.”
The Ravens ended the half on a 7-3 run, but Goodwin Tech held a 38-18 halftime lead.
“Every single facet of the game [Goodwin Tech] just completely dominated and outplayed us,” Innovation head coach Matthew Lance said. “Everything - defensive, rebounding, passing, communication. They just 100 percent took it to us right from the beginning.”
The Gladiators were able to make another run at the start of the third period, this time a 13-3 one.
Santiago started it with an easy layup while Peeples and Hughes also added baskets.
The run was split up by a free throw from Andre Sterling and a layup by Bogle.
“We came out extremely slow and soft,” Henderson said. “We didn’t play as intensively as we’ve played in the past. We were just all off. I know we could have done better.”
Innovation scored most of its points in the last eight minutes when the game was well out of reach, getting 3-pointers from Lewis, Henderson and Ptah-Re Mathis.
“They out rebounded us a lot,” Henderson said. “And that just isn’t us. We just need to do a lot better especially with the CRAL tournament coming up.”
Goodwin Tech is currently 16-3 on the season and will play Norwich Tech on Wednesday for its regular season finale. Innovation, meanwhile, falls to 12-8 and will see Aerospace Friday.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org