STAMFORD—At first glance, the records of the Stamford and Westhill boys basketball teams would not indicate a close matchup was afoot but anyone who knows city hoops knows records mean little in this rivalry.
Westhill jumped out to an early lead, holding the advantage until the second half when Stamford finally got on top.
The Black Knights (12-5, 10-3 FCIAC) seemed in control in the final minutes but a couple turnovers and Westhill (3-14, 2-11) found itself with a shot to tie the game with 1.8 seconds remaining only to see the final desperation shot miss wide.
Stamford escaped with a 61-58 win, capturing the first leg of the City Championship with a matchup with Trinity Catholic looming next week.
Stamford had the ball with 1.8 seconds left, inbounding under the Westhill basket. The inbounds pass was tipped by D’Aeren Carson and picked up by Rayshawn Gibson who stepped back behind the 3-point line launching a shot that missed to the right.
It was not how Stamford coach Zach Smith drew up the inbounds play.
— Scott Ericson (@EricsonSports) February 13, 2018
“I was just upset with the last play. I drew up a play and apparently we thought the game was over and that could have easily been an and-one 3,” Smith said. “We got a win and it is always good to beat Westhill. We didn’t play our best, I don’t think we were mentally ready to play but we got the win and we’ll take it.”
Westhill coach Howard White said his team followed the game plan early on but got away from what made it successful.
“We started off the game playing the way we set the game up to play,” White said. “Then guys get away from what we want to do as a team and tarte doing what they want to do and you see what happens. You can’t do that. What was working was us moving without the ball and hitting spots and those were turning into layups. Then, guys want to go one-on-one or dribble through a press and you can’t do that.”
Sam Lombino scored 12 points on four 3s and Wyklend Turenne put in 15 for the Vikings.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jelani Jackson, Stamford. Jackson led all scorers with 22 points but none of his baskets were as big as the two 3s he knocked down in the fourth quarter.
“Westhill played great. They played really good defense but I think we underestimated them a little, too,” Jackson said. “Glad we got the win. It is kind of hard adjusting to that matchup zone they play. We were able to adjust better in the second half.”
Stamford was 17-19 from the free throw line in the second half.
STAMFORD 61, WESTHILL 58
STAMFORD 10 16 17 18–61
WESTHILL 16 13 9 20–58
STAMFORD (12-5, 10-3) Jaden Bell 4 3-4 13; Josh Thervil 1 6-8 9; Harry Constantine 2 0-0 4; Jelani Jackson 5 5-5 22; Tevin St. John 1 7-8 9; Tyheim Burgess 1 0-0 2; Tyler Landsiedel 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 24-28 61
WESTHILL (3-14, 2-11) Gabe Yaghoubian 1 3-6 5; Jack Schlachtenhaufen 2 1-2 5; Sam Lombino 4 0-0 12; Wyklend Turenne 7 1-3 15; D’Aeren Carson 1 0-0 2; Eli Stockman 3 3-4 9; Rashawn Gibson 0 0-0 0; Jonathan McCullen 0 0-0 0; Anthony Scott 0 2-2 2; Jakai Barnes 3 2-3 8; Stanley Villard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-21 58
3-point field goals: S—Jackson 3, Thervil, Bell 2; W—Lombino 4
Fouled out: W– Yaghoubian