FAIRFIELD >> The Crosby boys basketball team has never been shy about speeding up the pace in games, playing uptempo.
Fairfield Prep loves that style too. Trying to slow down the Jesuits was a problem all night long for Crosby. Top-seeded Prep shot over 60 percent from the floor through three quarters to eliminate No. 8 Crosby 84-68 Monday night in the Class LL state quarterfinals at Alumni Hall.
“I thought we played a really good game against them,” Crosby coach Nick Augelli said. “That’s a great team. They shot like 70 percent.I told my team that if we played any other team besides Fairfield Prep tonight, we would have come out with a win I think.”
It’s the sixth straight year the second-ranked Jesuits (24-1) have reached the LL semifinals, all under head coach Leo Redgate. The Jesuits face No. 4 Weaver on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
“Weaver has not only had an incredible season, but it’s been an inredible run for those players,” Redgate said. Weaver has been to three straight state finals, one in Class S and two in Class M.
Rich Kelly led five Jesuits in double figures with 16 points. The team finished with 12 3-pointers, nine in the first half.
“I think we made the extra pass, which allowed us to get a wide-open three,” Redgate said. “I think people feel the best way to play with us is to slow us down. I don’t think any of that works. If we have good defensive games, I think we are a tough team to beat. Our offense almost is always there.”
Crosby (19-6), the runners-up in the Naugatuck Valley League, shot 75 percent (9 of 12) from the floor in the first quarter to stay close. But a 16-4 run in the second quarter put Prep up 47-35.
“We love that (uptempo). The more open the floor is, the more that plays into our advantage. I’d ather play that style of basketball and lose a game than not play that style and win a game. I don’t think it’s exciting the other way (slow-down style).”
The Bulldogs grabbed 14 rebounds in the third quarter alone to help get as close as six points (57-51). Then Prep, the reigning SCC champion, tried to offset that deficit by going big.
Robert Haskins teamed with Patrick Harding underneath in the final quarter. Haskins picked up seven of his eight points as Prep began to run clock and force the Bulldogs to come chase them.
“I threw everything at them,” Augelli said. “I threw a man-to-man, a 2-3 zone, a 1-3-1 zone, a trap, a man-to-man trap, a zone trap. They are a great team, very patient. When you have the best player in the league running your offense (Kelly), we couldn’t deny him the ball. I don’t feel bad about losing to them at all.”
Jeremiah Kendall led Crosby with 24 points. Matt Gerics, Prep’s defensive stopper, held high-scoring guard Jordan Booker to 10 points.
FAIRFIELD PREP 84, CROSBY 68
Crosby 24 16 12 16 – 68
Fairfield Prep 26 21 14 23 – 84
Rory Judusingh 4 4-4 13, Jerimiah Kendall 10 4-6 24, Perns Brinkley 3 2-3 10, Dan Jones 3 1-3 7, Daquan Sinisterra 6 0-0 14. Totals: 26 11-16 68
FAIRFIELD PREP (84)
Rich Kelly 5 4-4 16, Philip Vlandis 3 0-0 8, Matt Gerics 4 0-1 11, John Kelly 5 2-3 15, Patrick Harding 5 2-4 12, Bobby Haskins 3 2-3 8, Senay Bellete 6 0-0 14. Totals: 31 10-15 84
3-point goals: Crosby 5 (Judusingh 1, Brinkley 2, Sinisterra 2); Fairfield Prep 12 (Kelly 2, Vlandis 2, Gerics 3, Kelly 3, Bellete 2); Records: Crosby 19-6; Fairfield Prep 24-1