Bunnell to take unbeaten SWC mark into playoffs

Matt Nolting (pictured, driving), Issac Vann and Ryan Pittman provide Bunnell High coach Pat Yerina with a trio of scoring threats.
(Photo by Kyra Palange)

Before its South-West Conference boys basketball contest with New Milford, the Bunnell Bulldogs honored their five seniors and they in turn returned the favor, leading the locals to a comfortable 90-74 win over the Green Wave.
Junior Issac Vann led the Bulldogs (15-2) with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while seniors Matt Nolting added 20, Adam Samuel had 14 and Tim White had 10 points.
Sophomore point guard Ryan Pittman had nine points with nine assists.
Joey McKay led the Green Wave (6-13) with 17 points while Scott Eherts added 16 and Nick Teixiera had 11 for New Milford.
“We’ve got our seniors, we’ve got Issac (Vann) and Ryan (Pittman) doing a great job out there,” Bunnell coach Pat Yerina said. “We’re glad we got that win, let me tell you that, because we sat at home for six days waiting for this.”
From the opening tip, the Bulldogs caused New Milford fits, causing them to turn over the basketball and create easy layups for Bunnell.
The Bulldog got off to a 6-0 run and never looked back, as they streaked to a 28-12 first-quarter lead behind Samuel’s 10 points.
The Bulldogs continued in the second quarter, as Nolting took over the show with seven of Bunnell’s first nine points.
Vann then began to take over with two layups and a floating jumper through the paint.
Pittman and White added threes to give the Bulldogs a commanding 57-37 lead at the half.
“We’ve got some outside shooting and we have an inside presence with Issac (Vann), Claude (Joseph) and Adam (Samuel),” Yerina said. “They do a nice job inside. We rebounded well. We have certain numbers we like to hit, and if we get it we usually win.”
Bunnell kept rolling in the second half, as Nolting got things started with a fade-away jumper and then Vann took over with a three-point play on a layup and a foul, followed by a thunderous dunk to give the Bulldogs a 68-49 lead.
Vann and Joseph wrapped up the third quarter with layups and Bunnell led 75-57 entering the fourth.
Nolting put the icing on the win for the Bulldogs, scoring seven of their final 15 points to seal a 90-74 win.
“We had 11 wins in conference last year so we’ve carried over since then to right now,” Yerina said.
“Guys did their work over the summer and obviously that’s paid off a little bit. Matt (Nolting) has been starting since he was a freshman, so the guy gets beat-up, beat-up and beat-up but he comes right back.”
Bunnell broke a 34-34 tie at the half en route to a 76-66 SWC road win over Weston High on Monday night.
Nolting knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 21 points.
Vann led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Pittman scored 10 points with seven assists and four steals.
Joseph had eight rebounds to go with his 10 points.
Samuel and Justin Townsend split 12 markers.
Bunnell defeated Brookfield High, 67-52, in Stratford on Saturday.
Vann scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds. Nolting scored 17 points and Pittman scored 10 points to go with six assists.
Bunnell used a 24-12 run in the second quarter to overcome a 17-12 deficit to the Bobcats (6-12).
Joseph scored six points and Samuel and White had five points each.
Bunnell concluded its regular season with a 77-64 road victory over Newtown High on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (18-2, 14-0 SWC) fell behind the Nighthawks (8-11, 7-6) by three points, 18-15, before they took a 33-31 lead into the half.
Vann (28 points), Nolting (19 points) and Pittman (14 points) helped Bunnell score 22 points in both the third and fourth quarters.

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