After 41 wins in 42 tries, Waterford boys' basketball has lost two straight

Middletown — It is called the great unwritten script in sports for many reasons, not the least of which is this: Even those for whom winning has become habit aren't ever immune to losing.

Example: The basketball kids of Waterford High School, who had authored an almost video game-like stat of 41 wins in their last 42 games entering this season.

And now the Lancers have lost two in a row.

The latest came Thursday night in the Art Kohs Classic at Xavier, a 54-47 loss to unbeaten Glastonbury, a team Waterford had beaten in this tournament the last two years.

"I keep thinking about a freshman team I was coaching that was 1-14 one year," Waterford coach Bill Bassett said. "You remember that you just have to keep working on things until the dam breaks. It will. We'll put this together."

Meantime, Bassett is left trying to explain a 27-turnover night and 0-2 start to the season, after consecutive years of 25-2, 26-1 and two state titles.

"Some of our guys are adjusting to new roles and there are going to be some bumps," Bassett said. "Our play in the second half was much better. I thought our defense was pretty good all night, actually. And Glastonbury did a fantastic job of defending us."

The Tomahawks (3-0) have started their season by taking down two defending state champions: Waterford in Division II and Farmington from Division III. And it's not like the Lancers have opened with a pair of softies. Glastonbury (Division II) and Trumbull (Division I) each made the state semifinals last year.

Still, Bassett knows nobody will — or should — feel sorry for his team.

"I've been trying to explain that the target on our backs is twice as large now," he said. "That's a tribute to all the guys who came back to root us on tonight (several program alums were in the crowd). And I'm guessing Glastonbury really wanted this game because we had beaten them two years in a row. They did a really good job."

Tom Shea led Glastonbury with 18 points and Tate Kuiper added 10. The Tomahawks used a 13-2 run in the first half to snap a 7-7 tie and take a 20-9 lead.

Liam Kane, whose 3-pointer brought Waterford within five late in the third period, led Waterford with 13 points. Ryan Bakken, two weeks removed from quarterbacking the football team in the playoffs, added 12.

"We saw some things we liked," Bassett said. "I thought (sophomore) Sean O'Connell came off the bench tonight and did a great job for us. So did (junior) Trevor D'Amico. We'll be OK. We just have to keep working."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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