With his team ahead 59-53 with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game against Stamford, 6-foot-5 Saeed Soulemane found himself out on the break ahead of Stamford defenders and went in for a thunderous dunk attempt. It was senior night at Norwalk, and the senior Soulemane was looking to bring the house down with an exclamation point play. The effort failed and Soulemane landed flat on his back, but after the game — an 82-69 win by Norwalk — he laughed about the play.
“I thought I had it, but it didn’t go my way,” Soulemane said.
Norwalk coach Tom Keyes says there are times when he’d like to see his players take the easy basket and not go for the extraordinary play, but Keyes said he was happy Soulemane went for the dunk.
“It’s good to see him going up and being aggressive,” Keyes said.
Keyes warned his players prior to the game that Stamford needed to win its last two games to reach the state playoffs.
“Stamford is better than their record indicates,” Keyes said. “They still had their state tournament hopes alive tonight. So tonight was a playoff game for them and their players came out and responded with intensity.”
Stamford kept the game close thanks in part to deft ball-handling, Keyes said.
“I thought our offense was really good in the first half. I don’t think we were as good with our defensive intensity in the first half. Part of that was because Stamford just did a great job of picking apart our press.”
Senior Nick Boccanfuso said Norwalk’s defense was the difference in the second half.
“Our defense picked up tonight and I think we did a good job stopping them. Not so much in transition, but in a half court set we did a good job,” he said.