First it was Ryan McAleer. Then it was Alex Gibbens.
Two players making steals in the final seconds of games, then having the presence of mind to get off a shot for deep 3-pointers that go in, giving New Canaan an incredible pair of victories.
The latest miracle shot last Friday by Gibbens gave New Canaan its eighth victory in nine to not only put the Rams at 12-3 overall, but also in contention for an FCIAC title — yes, a league crown.
Not bad for teams that went 4-16 and 5-15 the last two seasons, respectively.
“We took our lumps the past two seasons at the varsity level, so it is a credit to these kids for sticking with it, and believing in the process. We were competitive in most games, but we still hadn’t learned how to win close games,” New Canaan coach Danny Melzer said.
NC wins 51-49 with Gibbens 3-pointer #6 pic.twitter.com/D8Jwa87qY7
— New Canaan HS Basketball (@NCHSBasketball2) February 2, 2019
The return of five starters who went through those rough seasons certainly helped this year’s cause. On Friday, the Rams lost leading scorer Matt Brand to a head injury, trailed McMahon by as many as 11 points, yet came all the way back and won on Gibbens’ buzzer-beater.
And now, a decade after last qualifying for postseason play, New Canaan is currently the No. 6 seed in Division IV. It controls its own destiny to host a couple of playoff games.
“To think we may have an opportunity to host a state playoff game is really exciting, but we know we still have work to do,” Melzer said.