RIDGEFIELD — The matchup between the Stamford and Ridgefield boys basketball teams featured a pair of offenses capable of lighting up the scoreboard, and it played out that way for the opening eight minutes as the Tigers built a narrow 21-15 lead after one quarter.
But then the Black Knights — who scored 101 points in a season-opening win — went cold. Very cold. ‘Couldn’t buy a bucket’ cold.
Ridgefield’s stifling defense held Stamford without a basket for the first seven minutes of the second quarter, steadily built a lead and prevailed 71-46 on Friday night. James St. Pierre scored 31 points for the Tigers (3-0), who stayed unbeaten and perhaps made a statement with the rout.
“We had to make some adjustments after the first quarter to their speed. They are electric off the bounce,” Tigers coach Andrew McClellan said. “I think the kids got accustomed to that; we try to play for 32 minutes and I thought we had a bunch of 6-0, 8-2 spurts.”
Stamford never regained its offensive flow after the opening stanza, with missed layups and a 5-for-19 effort at the foul line for two culprits. The Black Knights (1-2) got 14 points from Jay Jaudon.
The fourth quarter looked similar to the second as Ridgefield entered leading 52-37 after a mini run from the visitors to end the third. The Tigers went on a 15-0 run to slam the door completely shut as St. Pierre finished 12 for 12 from the stripe.
McGarrity added 14 points for Ridgefield.
“Stamford has a lot of quick guards and I thought our coaching staff gave us a really good game plan,” St. Pierre said. “We packed in the paint, put ball pressure on their guards and forced them into making some bad decisions.”
The Tigers entered 2018-19 as a bit of a mystery with a largely new rotation, but they looked no different from the team that finished with the best record in the league last season, or the won that won the FCIAC the season before.
The same formula of team cohesion and preparedness at both ends of the floor is brewing early on during the 3-0 start.
“People leave and we don’t often (have) the hyped guys,” McClellan said. “We just have a bunch of kids who play hard and together; sometimes at the beginning of every season that doesn’t look as good as some of these other guys who are going to college here or there.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
James St. Pierre, Ridgefield: Buried four 3-pointers in the opening quarter to spark the offense.
The Tigers will look to stretch their unbeaten start against Bunnell in a holiday tournament starting Wednesday. Stamford faces RHAM on Thursday at a tournament in West Haven.
“Stamford going into the season they were ranked really high in the polls and the rest of the league,” St. Pierre said. “We knew we were the better team going in, but we wanted to prove ourselves and it was really relieving to know that all our practice goes into play.”
RIDGEFIELD 71, STAMFORD 46
STAMFORD (1-2): Josh Thervil 2 0-1 6 Tyheim Burgess 1 2-2 4 Jalem Lindsey 2 1-4 3 Jay Jaudon 7 0-6 14 Danny Simms 2 2-4 6 Manny Azolin 3 0-1 6 Damani Taylor 1 0-0 3. Totals: 18 5-19 46.
RIDGEFIELD (3-0): Matt Misurelli 1 2-2 4 James St. Pierre 7 12-12 31 Luke McGarrity 4 5-6 14 Matt Knachel 2 1-1 5 Cameron Andry 1 0-0 2 Derek Szpawkoski 2 0-1 4 Matt DeLuca 1 0-0 3 Ryan Garson 1 0-0 2 John Briody 1 0-0 2 Nicholas Hall 2 0-0 4. Totals: 24 20-22 71.
STAMFORD 15 4 18 9 — 46
RIDGEFIELD 21 11 20 19 — 71
3-pointers: S—Thervil 2, Taylor; R—St. Pierre 5, McGarrity, DeLuca.