It is likely a game that Fairfield Prep folks will be talking about for years to come.
If you didn’t hear, the Jesuits stunned Xavier 61-59 on Friday night at Alumni Hall in the Class LL quarterfinal. For the full rundown on that game, click here.
The numerous story lines lend themselves to dig deeper, and that is what I feel compelled to do. This game had:
a.) A raucous crowd, with a vocal student section for both sides
b.) Xavier overcoming a 10-point deficit with a 14-0 run over the course of two minutes.
c.) Prep’s Terry Tarpey taking over at the end, willing his team to victory by scoring his team’s final eight points, including the game-winning shot.
d.) A court storming from the Prep “Bomb Squad”
Honestly, the environment felt like an NCAA tournament game, only better because of the intimacy of Alumni Hall. Prep coach Leo Redgate also agreed that the game had a college feel to it.
“It reminded me of Holy Cross/Fairfield U or Boston College/Fairfield U double overtime games in the Joe DeSantis days,” he said. “To see the electricity from both sides…I’m so proud of the students for coming out.”
I spoke with Tarpey after the game, and the Junior Bomb Squad (a group of youngsters with t-shirts) were chanting “MVP! MVP!” while Bob Birge and myself interviewed him. Tarpey is becoming the Jimmer Fredette of the Connecticut high school basketball scene, doing whatever it takes to lift his upstart Prep team to victory.
I like Prep as a favorite to beat Ridgefield in the semis. The Tigers likely can’t match up to Prep’s athleticism. It’s certainly two differing styles, when you consider that Prep will try to get up and down the floor and Ridgefield will be methodical in its pattern offense.
The key will be to see which team can get the other to play its style. I think the only thing Prep MUST do (which is easier said than done) is protect the basketball. If Prep can do that and contest Ridgefield’s jump shots, the Jesuits will win.
ND advances too
It wasn’t as easy as any of us thought, but Notre Dame advanced to the Class M semifinals with a 50-45 win over Stonington on Friday night.
The Lancers’ guard play has been stellar thus far in the tournament, and it has carried them to the semis. ND draws Trinity Catholic in the semifinals in a game that should be excellent.
I still think that ND is on a collision course for the finals with Career, but the Crusaders could give ND fits, especially since Stonington did.
However, it’s hard to believe that a team that lost to Fairfield Ludlowe will beat ND in the state semis.
For more info, and updates on Prep’s semifinal game, follow me on Twitter. Take good care.