BROOKFIELD — The Brookfield High School boys basketball team had already clinched a spot in the eight-team South-West Conference playoffs prior to Thursday night’s game, but with four straight wins under their belts, the Bobcats are building momentum — not to mention confidence — with the regular season winding down.

The Bobcats scratched out a 44-37 victory over New Milford Thursday in an SWC game. The shots weren’t falling for either team, especially early on. But as they have done time after time in games like this in recent years, the Bobcats found a way.

“Tonight wasn’t one of our best games,” Brookfield junior sharp-shooting guard David Walker said. “But we’re aggressive, we never give up and we pick each other up. We missed a couple shots, and that’s going to happen, but the good thing is that we bounced back. It was a good win.”

Cam Gleichauf led Brookfield (13-6, 9-3 SWC) with 17 points; he shot 5-for-6 from the foul line in the final two minutes — after New Milford had trimmed its deficit to two — to preserve the victory. Walker chipped in with 14 points. With 15 seconds to go and the Bobcats leading by five, Kenny Blick grabbed a huge defensive rebound, was fouled, then hit both foul shots to seal the deal.

Chris Gesualdi led New Milford (8-10, 5-7 SWC) with 15 points, and Matt Brevard added 14 points. The Green Wave never led, but narrowed its gap to 37-35 with 2:03 remaining when Malik Proctor sank two foul shots, Gesualdi stole the ensuing in-bounds pass and was fouled, and then he sank two foul shots. That, however, was as close as New Milford came.

“We missed shots we should have made,” New Milford coach Al Tolomeo said. “It’s hard to keep fighting and fighting and fighting and never get over the hump.”

TURNING POINT

Leading by two early in the third quarter, Brookfield used an 8-0 run over two minutes to stretch its lead to 10. New Milford continued chipping away from that point, but was never able to fully dig out of the hole. The run was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by Walker and Gleichauf, 40 seconds apart, from the same spot on the wing in front of the Brookfield bench. Gleichauf capped the run with a jumper to put the Bobcats ahead 27-17 with 2:15 to go in the third quarter.

“In the second half, we moved the ball a lot better, we were setting screens,” Brookfield coach John Fleming said, then added with a grin, “We were actually playing basketball in the second half, which was nice.”

PLAYOFF PICTURE

Brookfield will most likely play on the road in the SWC quarterfinals, which are set for next Friday. The Bobcats are set to visit unbeaten Notre Dame of Fairfield in their regular season finale on Tuesday. Last year, of course, Brookfield had been knocked out of the SWCs in the quarterfinals — then made a magical run to the Class M state championship.

New Milford, meanwhile, is one of several teams fighting to claim one of the last couple spots in the SWCs. The Green Wave had scored a huge victory against playoff-bound Pomperaug on Tuesday, but Thursday’s loss could prove to be costly. New Milford is set to visit Daniel Hand of Madison on Saturday for a non-conference game, then finish the regular season at Masuk on Tuesday.

BROOKFIELD 44,

NEW MILFORD 37

NEW MILFORD (8-10, 5-7 SWC)

Malik Proctor 0 2-2 2; Chris Gesualdi 3 7-8 15; Matt Brevard 4 5-5 14; Shane Fedigan 1 0-0 2; Josian Morales 0 0-0 0; Tyler Bowe 0 1-2 1; Eric Habjan 0 0-0 0; Hunter Skelly 0 0-0 0; Anthony Trocchio 0 1-2 1; Steve Davis 1 0-0 2; Chris Pesantez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 16-19 37.

BROOKFIELD (13-6, 9-3 SWC)

Cam Gleichauf 5 6-9 17; Connor Gruda 2 0-0 4; Joe Brown 1 0-0 2; David Walker 5 2-3 14; Jaichi Levi 0 0-0 0; Kenny Blick 0 2-2 2; Gavin Borges 1 0-0 2; Billy Oldham 1 0-0 3; Zach Ballard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 10-14 44.

NEW MILFORD4 11 6 16 — 37

BROOKFIELD9 10 10 15 — 44

3-pointers: NM—Gesualdi 2, Brevard; Bk—Walker 2, Gleichauf, Oldham.

rgregory

@newstimes.com; Twitter @DanburySports