MERIDEN — The Wilcox Tech boys basketball team picked up its sixth win of the season with a 71-53 CTC victory over Platt Tech on Friday night.
“We played tough,” Wilcox Tech head coach Randy Farkas said. “Platt Tech, we’ve seen them play and we knew they played tough and they won’t quit, but they actually gave us more of a game than we actually expected.
“They are very well coached and they really put out a performance tonight. They made us work.”
The Indians (6-3) rode a strong first half in which they forced a number of turnovers out of their 2-2-1 press leading to a pair of and-ones by senior forward John Soto (15 points) and senior guard Derek Strillacci (9) and a commanding 23-11 lead early in the second quarter.
Platt Tech played the Indians even for the rest of the half thanks to 10 second-quarter points by junior guard Isaac Dagraca (23 points).
After the Panthers cut the deficit to eight, Wilcox senior guard DJ Ransom rattled off four consecutive points to give him 15 in the half and the Indians a 37-25 lead at the break.
Dagraca would pick up right where he left off with an and-one of his own to open the second half, cutting the Indians lead to 10.
Wilcox responded with a 7-2 run to push the lead to 15, capped by a nifty euro-step layup by Ransom on a fast break.
The Panthers applied some full court pressure, which helped cut the lead to single digits, but Ransom answered again with an and-one to put Wilcox back up 12 at 47-35.
However, Ransom picked up two charges in the third quarter, giving him four fouls entering the final quarter of play.
Eventually, the Tribe’s leading scorer picked up his fifth personal with 6:30 to play on a loose ball foul after a Dagraca 3-pointer cut the Wilcox Tech lead to eight.
“I probably would’ve rolled with him either way,” Farkas said of his decision not to sit Ransom with four fouls. “They somehow assessed another foul to him; I thought he only had three. He picked up a cheap one somewhere, but there was no way I could take him out at that point.”
Ransom finished with 21 points despite hitting just 1-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc.
After Ransom’s departure, Dragaca took over, scoring seven straight to narrow the Platt Tech deficit to six points with 5:32 to play.
However, Wilcox Tech sophomore guard Isaiah Thomas (9 points) reignited the home crowd with an acrobatic and-one to push the Indians lead back to 11 with 5:07 to go. The play sparked a game-clinching 16-4 run for the Indians.
“It was huge,” Farkas said of the Thomas bucket. “He actually made it on almost three guys. He attacked probably when he shouldn’t have, but he made a great finish and the free throw on top of it.
“That gave us a nice little cushion to kind of hold the ball a little if we need to.”
The Indians will be on the road next Tuesday as they take on Wolcott Tech in Torrington with a chance to extend their winning streak to four.
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