FCIAC quarterfinal Saturday

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The end of Stamford vs Westhill.
The afternoon matchups provided little in the way of excitement but the two evening games more than made up for it with both games coming down to the final possession.

The best day of basketball until we get to Mohegan Sun drew pretty solid matinee crowds and two capacity crowds for the night caps.

Here are some thoughts on the games with links to the game stories.

RIDGEFIELD 58, McMAHON 45

Ridgefield did what it does and did it well.

They worked the offense until the high percentage shot was there, played solid defense, rebounded and took care of the ball.

In the second half, McMahon started cheating over screens and not minding themselves away from the ball and the Tigers put on a back-cutting clinic that would have made New Canaan coaching legend Don Usher proud.

If you are not playing defense off the ball, Ridgefield is going to dissect you and that’s what happened today.

Patrick Racy did his job inside, Charlie Irwin ran the point with few errors and got to the hoop off the dribble all day and Zac Ward knocked down a couple big shots.

Ward is the top defender on the team but the entire Tigers defense was on point Saturday, rarely letting McMahon penetrate and limiting them to one shot on most trips.

The Senators have some good athletes,  Larry McKinney is an All-FCIAC first teamer, but were not equipped to face a locked in Ridgefield team the way they execute.

Sideshow in this game, The Tigers Lair booing the Wilton team when they walked into and out of the gym. Also, the lone woman holding a sleeping child, who was doing verbal battle with the Tiger’s Lair most of the game. Good stuff.

CJ Byrd throws one down. Photo/ Bob Luckey

CJ Byrd throws one down.
Photo/ Bob Luckey

GREENWICH 70, WILTON 62

When I just read the final score I had to check to make sure it was right because this in no way felt like a single digit game. It wasn’t really, Wilton made it closer at the end with the Greenwich subs on the floor.

Wilton did not want to see two teams in the tournament, Ridgefield or Greenwich. They got Greenwich and it went pretty much as expected.

Wilton is at its best as a counter punching team, taking advantage of other team’s sloppiness or a defense which allows shooters space. Greenwich is not sloppy and plays really good defense.

Really good defense.

Wilton’s Eric Houska was blanketed by Jon Palmer all afternoon and was clearly frustrated on the court. Houska was lucky an official did not see his transgressions against Palmer after a couple of whistles.

CJ Byrd split his lip in the game and had a butterfly applied so he could keep playing. He went to the bench just moments before Alex Wolf went to the bench in foul trouble, leaving the Cardinals without their best two scorers with the game still tight in the second quarter.

Tommy Povinelli stepped up at that point, scoring 11 in the quarter and 19 for the game.

Greenwich vs Ridgefield should be fun for fans of fundamentally sound, defense first, hard nosed basketball (me).

Stamford High School basketball players Jay Devito (#2), left, and Kweshon Askew (#5), right, celebrate their one point victory over cross-town rival Westhill as Westhill's CJ Donadson (#3), foreground, puts his hands to his head in disbelief at the end of their FCIAC Boys Basketball Quarterfinal. Photo/ Bob Luckey

Stamford High School basketball players Jay Devito (#2), left, and Kweshon Askew (#5), right, celebrate their one point victory over cross-town rival Westhill as Westhill’s CJ Donadson (#3), foreground, puts his hands to his head in disbelief .
Photo/ Bob Luckey

STAMFORD 55, WESTHILL 54

Packed house for this city rivalry and they were treated to a tremendous game.

Stamford played a box-and-1 on Jeremiah Livingston as teams have been doing and it worked at times but Livingston is good enough to score 27 anyway.

The Vikings, as they did in the regular season meeting, took a lead but saw it slowly slip away because of poor shot selection and turnovers.

Part of the credit has  to go the Stamford D, which was tough in the second half.

Jay Devito hit a big 3 but it was Kenny Wright in the second half who completely took over the game.

He got to the basket, hit a few jumpers and rebounded like some kind of rebounding machine (it’s late and it’s been a long day).

Hugely impressed with crowds from both Stamford and Westhill and this is the first time I have seen the Black Knight Nation out cheer the Purple Pack. Great showing by them.

Really great atmosphere for this one with two engaged, loud student sections and the rest of the gym full and involved as well.

Central's Sha'quan Bretoux, right, tries to drive past St. Joseph's Jonathan Dzurenda. Photo/Christian Abraham

Central’s Sha’quan Bretoux tries to drive past St. Joseph’s Jonathan Dzurenda.
Photo/Christian Abraham

CENTRAL 57, ST. JOSEPH 55

Tyler Ancrum picked up two quick fouls, spent most of the first half on the bench, picked up his fourth in the fourth quarter and returned to the pine and Central had trouble finding a groove with its point guard resting.

As talented as Central is, without Ancrum they have nobody to drive the bus.

Once Central took the lead in the second half it felt like they were going to pull away but they could never get much separation from the Cadets.

Arkel Ager-Lamar played very well for St. Joe’s, knocking down 3s and getting to the basket but could not get off a shot as time was winding down and thee upset bid fell short.

In the past, a No.1 that comes close to losing, rebounds with a strong showing in the next round and up next, Central gets Stamford Tuesday in the semis.

Not as many students but another packed house with high energy for this game, too.

 

Scott Ericson

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