When Tyler Arbuckle is scoring points, St. Paul is tough to beat.
The Joel Barlow boys basketball team got to see that for itself in Monday night’s Division III state tournament first-round game in Bristol.
Arbuckle poured in 23 of his game-high 28 points in the first and third quarters, helping St. Paul outscore Barlow, 40-23, in those two periods.
Although Barlow made a late run, 11th-seed St. Paul had built enough of a cushion to come away with a 60-51 victory and advance to a second-round game Thursday at sixth-seed Torrington.
Barlow, the 22nd seed in Division III, ended its season with an 8-13 record.
With Arbuckle, a 6’2” senior, scoring nine points, St. Paul took a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Barlow then held Arbuckle to two points in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing, 25-17.
But Arbuckle heated up again in the third quarter, adding 14 points to put St. Paul ahead, 48-30, going into the final eight minutes.
“He’s a lefty and very quick,” said Barlow head coach Matt Whelan about Arbuckle. “They have two guys, Arbucke and (Michael) Palmieri, a 5’11” (senior) point guard, who are 1,000-point (career) scorers.”
Sparked by eight points apiece from Danny Mangieri and James Menapace, Barlow played its best basketball in the fourth quarter, outscoring St. Paul, 21-12. But while the rally made the final score more respectable, it wasn’t enough to overtake St. Paul.
“Every time we play it’s hard to get all five guys to play really well,” said Barlow head coach Matt Whelan, whose team lost several starters and top reserves to either injury or early departures this season. “That happened again against St. Paul.”
Mangieri hit five three-pointers and finished with 21 points to lead Barlow. Guard Owen Corazzelli, the Falcons’ lone senior, added 14 points in his final high school game.
“Owen played very well,” said Whelan. “He attacked the basket and finished a bunch of layups, and he also got into the lane and kicked the ball out for open shots.”
Menapace contributed eight points for Barlow, which also got six points from Clark Gilmore and two points from Arnold Wright.
Notes: Palmieri had 11 points for St. Paul.
Whelan said that several eighth graders who are part of a strong incoming freshman class at Barlow made the trip to Bristol to watch the game.
“It was great to see them there,” said Whelan. “That’s encouraging for the future of the program.”