FAIRFIELD >> For a good chunk of Tuesday evening’s boys’ basketball game, Fairfield Warde appeared on the brink of pulling off the upset on the road at Ludlowe.
But behind a team-high 1 5 points from senior Matt Doyle, Ludlowe used a strong second half to pull away and defeat Warde 70-64.
“These games are so tough, you can throw the records out the window, they were really up for the task,” Ludlowe head coach John Dailey said of Warde.
Added Doyle: “We just started playing better on defense, we got more turnovers and that led to our offense.”
Tuesday was also the Coaches vs Cancer game, which had a larger impact this year due to the recent news of Warde junior Giacomo Brancato, who a few weeks ago was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma — a cancer of the lymph tissue in the autoimmune system.
Brancato not only played but started for the Mustangs and scored nine points. He left the game late in the fourth quarter to a standing ovation.
“He’s a fighter, he’s a warrior as I call him, he’s one that just looks to attack, as you saw tonight in the game, he’s not going to change,” Warde head coach Ryan Swaller said of Brancato.
At the game, a majority of the crowd wore T-shirts that were for sale with Brancato’s name and the slogan ‘undefeatable.’
“It’s just great to see the community, both sides, the Ludlowe, the Warde,” Swaller said the two schools coming together.
Warde (1-5) did its best to make it a game as they trailed 33-30 at the half and got within a basket in the third quarter, but critical turnovers and some key plays by Ludlowe late in the contest was the difference maker.
Ludlowe (4-3) finished the third quarter on a 5-0 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Thomas Duffy.
“It’s a game of swings and they just got a good run going in there and we just didn’t take care of the basketball in that situation,” Swaller said.
Ludlowe senior Chad Peterson finished the game with 12 points and gave the Falcons multiple second chance opportunities with some big rebounds.
Warde was paced by JJ Conway’s game-high 17 points, while Marcel Parsons added 16.