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Norwalk picks up big win over Ridgefield

Updated 1:19 pm, Monday, January 14, 2013
  • Norwalk's Jabari Dear controls the ball during Friday's boys basketball game at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford on December 21, 2012. Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg, Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate
    Norwalk's Jabari Dear controls the ball during Friday's boys basketball game at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford on December 21, 2012. Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg, Niegelberg

 

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NORWALK -- Fresh off a loss to Westhill Tuesday night in which Norwalk turned the ball over 27 times, the Bears put the onus on protecting the ball during Friday night's contest against Ridgefield.

Led by sophomore point guard Jeremy Linton, Norwalk successfully attacked the Tigers' zone throughout the game and pulled away with a 22-10 edge in the fourth quarter for a 61-47 win, pushing Norwalk (7-2) past Ridgefield (6-2) in the FCIAC Central division.

Second-year Norwalk coach Tom Keyes said the victory was a big confidence boost for the team.

"I think since I've been here we've come close in a game like that a couple of times, but we had to keep believing that if you keep doing what you're doing that big wins are gonna happen," Keyes said.

Norwalk jumped out to a 16-12 lead after one quarter, with senior guard Jabari Dear scoring 5 of his 16 points. Ridgefield senior guard Jeffrey Racy singlehandedly kept the Tigers afloat in the opening quarter, scoring 11 of the team's 12 points, including three 3-pointers.

But Racy never connected from deep again and Ridgefield was shut out from beyond the arc in the last three quarters.

"We didn't shoot well as a team and I think that affected their psyche," Ridgefield coach Carl Charles said."We shoot the ball a lot better than that. We had one series where we must have had five rebounds and we didn't get it to drop."

Center Kurt Steidlwas a steady force for Ridgefield throughout the game, attacking the rim and either converting or drawing fouls. He finished with 18 points and was 6-8 from the free throw line.

"I thought Luke Sweeney did a great job all night guarding Steidl. He's arguably the best kid in the league and I think Luke made him work for everything he got," Keyes said.

The game was close throughout the opening half. The largest lead, 23-18, came on a fast break basket when Norwalk's Roy Kane (16 points) hit teammate Saeed Soulemane with an outlet pass and Soulemane dished to Dear who cut through the lane and scored. After Ridgefield's Patrick Racy (12 points) narrowed the gap to 3 points, Soulemane pushed it back to 5 with a no-look pass that Sweeney put in for a layup.

Ridgefield outscored Norwalk 10-9 in the second quarter, but trailed 25-22 at the half. The Tigers also held the scoring edge in the third quarter, 15-14, as Steidl scored 10 of his team-high 18 points. The Tigers only trailed by two, 39-37, entering the fourth quarter. And when Steidl hit two free throws to open the quarter, the game was knotted -- but for the last time.

Norwalk kept attacking the Tigers' zone, and even when the initial shot didn't drop, follow ups were to be had.

"We got outrebounded," Charles said. "A lot of times we got an initial shot and they got a second shot. We had a couple of defensive mistakes there at the end where we left guys wide open for easy layups."

Kane had two such tip-ins, the second of which put Norwalk ahead 49-43. After Dear scored on a fast break layup to put Norwalk up 51-43, Steidl netted two free throws to bring the Tigers within 6 points. And when Norwalk committed a 10-second violation on the ensuing possession, Ridgefield looked energized for a late run with 2:59 left.

"We knew we could get points, we knew we could score, we just had to play defense and stop them," Linton said.

Steidl scored his (and Ridgefield's) last two points to make it 53-47. Then Norwalk ran the table and scored the game's last 8 points, including a baseline dunk by Kane off an inbounds pass.

"The last game we played we obviously didn't take care of the ball, so that was stressed heavily in practice the last two days," Keyes said. "It just goes to show that if we don't make a lot of mistakes and beat ourselves, we can be a very good team."

cmartin@bcnnew.com

RIDGEFIELD (6-2)

Charles Irwin 0 0-0 0 Daniel Greenberg 0 0-0 0 Zachary Ward 0 0-0 0 Jeffrey Racy 6 0-0 15 Matthew Bartolucci 0 0-0 0 Matthew Brennan 0 0-0 0 Griffin Jones 0 0-0 0 Patrick Racy 6 0-0 12 Andrew Barton 0 0-0 0 Chipper McClelland 0 0-0 0 Kurt Steidl 6 6-8 18 Thomas Haughney 0 0-0 0 Jonathan Hicks 1 0-0 2 Christopher Brewi. Totals 19 6-8 47

NORWALK (7-2)

Saeed Soulemane 4 0-0 9 Roy Kane 5 6-6 16 Jabari Dear 7 0-2 16 Nick Boccanfuso 2 2-2 7 Jeremy Linton 4 0-0 9 Luke Sweeney 2 0-0 4 Totals: 24 8-10 61

RIDGEFIELD 12 10 15 10--47

NORWALK 16 9 14 22--61

3-pointers: R--Jeffrey Racy 3; N -- Jabari Dear 2, Jeremy Linton, Saeed Soulemane, Nick Boccanfuso.

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