STAMFORD—The very early returns are in and there appears to be a lot of balance among the FCIAC boys basketball teams.
Which should translate to a plethora of close battles to the final buzzer.
The Fairfield Ludlowe High School boys basketball squad played a host of good minutes Thursday night on the road at Stamford High.
But the last two minutes proved harmful for the Falcons as Stamford emerged with a 52-49 triumph before a thrilled partisan crowd at SHS’ Paul Kuczo gym.
“We’ve had so many close games already (three losses by 3 points or less; two wins by 4 points or less),” Ludlowe coach John Dailey said. “Sooner or later we will learn how to finish. We are still learning how to win.”
Ludlowe (2-4 overall, 1-2 FCIAC) led 27-21 at halftime and 37-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Stamford, working hard at both ends of the floor, built a 47-41 cushion with 4:25 to go.
To its credit, Ludlowe remained patient on offense. The Falcons grinded out an 8-0 surge as Patrick Kilbride’s 3-pointer put them ahead 49-47 with 1:42 to go.
“The kids worked very hard on the rally,” Dailey said. “They did a bunch of good things down the stretch.”
However, Ludlowe was in the penalty on fouls. Stamford senior guard Josh Thervil forced a foul and calmly made both free throws for 49-49 with 1:31 left.
Stamford (3-3, 1-2 FCIAC) got the ball back and elected to hold for the final shot.
Black Knights’ sophomore Jay Jaudon (game-high 19 points) scored on a power drive down the lane and completed the 3-point play from the foul line for 52-49 with :04 left.
Ludlowe had a chance as James Bourque was fouled behind the 3-point arc at the buzzer.
But when the first free throw rolled around and out, Stamford grasped the victory.
Ludlowe had just one of its six 3-pointers after intermission and was 3-for-7 from the line. Stamford was 12 of 22 on free throws, forced a number of second half turnovers with aggressive, trapping halfcourt defense and had important baskets off offensive putbacks.
“Our ball pressure was much better. I thought we sped Ludlowe up in the second half,” said Stamford coach Zach Smith. “When we have five guys playing hard on defense we can be very good.”
Jadyn Tabois paced Ludlowe with 15 points including a trio of first-half 3-pointers. Kilbride added 13 points while senior Jeff Meyers chipped in eight.
Jaden Bell had 10 points—all in the first half. Sophomore Danny Simms collected nine points for SHS.
“Learning how to win takes time,” Ludlowe’s Dailey said. “Stamford did a great job on the glass (rebounding). Ultimately, they made one more play than we did.”
STAMFORD 52, LUDLOWE 49
LUDLOWE 11 16 10 12—49
STAMFORD 14 7 15 16—52
LUDLOWE (2-4, 1-2 FCIAC)
Patrick Kilbride 5 1-2 13 Jeff Meyers 3 1-2 8 James Bourque 2 1-3 5 Ian Bentley 0 0-0 0 Sam Sweeney 0 0-0 0 Chris Carlucci 0 0-0 0 Christian Peterson 2 0-0 4 Jadyn Tabois 6 0-0 15 Rowan Keeser 2 0-0 4. Totals: 20 3-7 49.
STAMFORD (3-3, 1-2 FCIAC)
Josh Thervil 1 2-2 4 Tyheim Burgess 1 0-0 2 Jay Jaudon 6 6-9 19 Jaden Bell 4 0-1 10 Manny Azolin 2 1-4 5 Danny Simms 3 3-6 9 Jalen Lindsay 0 0-0 0 Jose Oliva 1 0-0 3. Totals: 18 12-22 52.
3-Pointers: L—Kilbride 2, Meyers, Tabois 3. S—Jaudon, Bell 2, Oliva.