The Darien YMCA’s seventh grade boys basketball team earned a spot in next weekend’s Fairfield County Basketball League’s top division championship game with a 64-61 win over Greenwich in Sunday’s semifinals.
Coach Shawn Grant forced the opponents to decipher an ever-changing variety of defenses and personnel combinations.
Jackson Ryan and Joe Hardison played strong defense on the ball handlers. Alex Preston and Casey Brown were outstanding shot blockers as the last line of defense. Jack Farren, Charlie Sealy and Riley Stewart showed great instincts and athleticism in their ball hawking rotations. Charlie Wright, Will Stevens and Carter Scott showed the ability to play at an excellent level in both man-to-man and multiple zone defenses.
Wright, Preston and Brown combined to provide Darien with the rebounding edge.
Ryan and Preston each scored a game-high 13 points. Ryan, Stevens and Hardison went 6-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line. Sealy lit up Greenwich’s attempts at man-to-man defense, scoring 10. Wright and Brown both muscled their way to eight points each. Preston, Ryan, Scott and Sealy shot a critical 8-for-10 from the free throw line.
The AA championship game is slated for Saturday at 6 p.m. at the neutral site of Pomeraug High School in Southbury as Darien takes on 19-1 Fairfield. Fairfield defeated Darien 69-60 in a Feb. 4 regular season meeting, but Greenwich and Danbury also had both beaten Darien in their regular season match-ups.
The Fairfield team is coached by Billy Lovett who has led both St Luke’s and Weston High to varsity league championships in his career.
Darien had to earn a selection into in the eight team AA field from a possible field of 42 seventh grade teams. Included are travel teams from every town in Fairfield County. On Saturday, Darien demolished No. 2 seed Danbury (23-3) by a 60-44 margin, earning the right to face the No. 3 seed and 22-game winner Greenwich on Sunday.
On the first weekend of December, Darien captured the preseason Joe Coppo Memorial Tournament with a 4-0 run over Newtown, Wilton, Greenwich and Westport.