New Milford basketball gets on track against Wolcott

NEW MILFORD - The New Milford High boys basketball team got its first win under new coach Al Tolomeo just before the New Year and are looking for the victory to be a springboard into the rest of the season.

After a tough start, New Milford went on the road and posted a 60-53 victory over Wolcott for its first win of the season. Matt Muckerman led the Green Wave with 15 points while Matt Brevard added 14 and freshman point guard Da’quann Proctor added 12.

INew Milford has had a tough schedule to open the season. The Green Wave headed out to Hartford to take on Bulkeley to start the 2016-17 campaign and lost 68-50. A loss to Fairfiedl Warde (5-0), ranked No.8 in the state followed and then New Milford dropped a heartbreaker to rival New Fairfield, 60-59, and fell to senior-laden Brookfield 79-55.

Despite the slow start to the season the Green Wave and coach Tolomeo remained upbeat and it showed in the performance against the Eagles.

“Great kids and the work ethic has been phenomenal,” Tolomeo said. “We are trying to put in a new system and build a culture of going out and competing every day while making it a good experience for the kids, their families and the community.”

Tolomeo has experience in building programs and also in helping run one of the state’s best. He was the coach at Oxford and helped the Wolverines get up and running as a varsity program and he has put in a couple stints as an assistant at St Joseph, including time under legendary high school coach Vito Montelli, who has 878 career wins and coached St. Joseph for 50 years.

“I’ve been around and seen a lot and we want to build a program in New Milford that the players, school and community can be proud of.”

Tolomeo got the New Milford job just about three weeks before the season was set to start so it has been a bit of a whirlwind beginning but it has worked out for both sides.

“We are very lucky to have Al as our new coach,” New Milford athletic director Keith Lipinsky said. “He brings a lot to the table with his experience as a former stand out player and experience and knowledge as a coach. He also has a positive attitude and energy and a great ability to connect with the kids.”

Tolomeo’s first New Milford squad is a little short on experience with just four seniors and only one with any considerable varsity experience. Throw in a freshman starter at point guard, and there are bound to be some growing pains, but the Green Wave and their new coach are excited to work through it.

“We play a lot of sophomores and juniors and kids without a lot of varsity experience so a lot of this season is about building a culture for these guys,” Tolomeo said. “The kids have been great, our schedule didn’t help us to start but we are getting better every day and I told the kids the hardest thing we are going to do is get that first win. After we get that everything will start to fall into place.”