Darien basketball downs St. Joseph 64-53 on Senior Night

The Darien boys’ basketball team defeated St. Joseph 64-53 on Senior Night on Monday in Darien.
“It’s a great feeling to get the seniors their final win at home. They (the seniors) were happy about the outcome,” said Darien head coach Charoy Bentley.
The Cadets (3-16, 3-12 FCIAC) got off to a strong start. Stephen Paolini got the offense started with a layup and free throw to put the Cadets up 3-0 with 5:13 in the first quarter. They took a 9-6 lead with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
“We came here to win. You come here to win and if you don’t win, you’re not satisfied,” said St. Joseph head coach Paul Dudzinski. “You are supposed to play hard. We’ve been in too many of these close games. We didn’t let it slip away. Darien took it.”
From there, Darien (9-10, 6-9) would close the quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 13-10 lead after one quarter. Justin Jordan converted on three-pointer and a layup around a Mitchell Pryor layup for the Blue Wave run.
“We just wanted to keep digging in, playing our game,” said Bentley. “We knew as the game went on that we would get done what we needed to get done.
Darien got hot from deep to start the second quarter, Henry Williams connected on a three-pointer and Will Rolapp hit two from behind the arc to put the Blue Wave ahead 22-14 with 5:01 left in the half.
“They shot the ball very well. They have great shooters. Number two, number one, number twenty-two,” said Dudzinski. “Their hustle, their shooting, their desire. They wanted it more. They deserved it more.
St. Joseph would finish the half strong, outscoring Darien 11-6 over the final five minutes of the frame. Paul Fabbri, Paolini, and Brian Dineen would knock down two free throws each. Paolini added a layup and Anthony Rainey drained a three-pointer for the Cadets in the run.
“We knew that this team was on a run right now. They’re out of it but they are playing hard and we couldn’t come in underestimating them,” said Williams.
At the break, Darien led 28-25 thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper from Jordan.
Darien extended their lead early in the third quarter. Ryan Darby stated the quarter with a fast break layup. Williams then connected on a jump shot to put the Blue Wave up 32-25 with 4:38 left in the quarter. After Brendan Kade knocked down a three-pointer for the Cadets to pull them back within four with 4:18 to go in the quarter.
“I had a couple rough games shooting the ball the last couple games. I wanted to come out shooting the ball. My teammates did a good job playing defense and getting open looks. I can’t give them enough credit.” said Williams.
The Blue Wave answered right back. Jordan converted on a layup and Williams drained a three-pointer to go up 37-28 with 3:44 left in the quarter.
“The good thing about our team is we can have four or five different people step up at any time,” said Bentley. “Justin (Jordan) handles the ball great. He’s great on offense. Great on defense. Same with Will Rolapp. We have JT (Jack Tierney). He stepped up. Andrew Darby coming off the bench, he did a great job,”
The Cadets would not go away. A layup from Paolini and two from William Diamantis trimmed the Darien lead to 37-34 with 2:21 left in the third. The teams would convert two layups apiece to finish the quarter and after three, Darien led by three, 41-38.
Williams came out strong in the final frame. He knocked down two three-pointers for the Blue Wave in between a jumper by Paolini for the Cadets.
“He (Williams) stepped up in a way. He’s one of our best shooters. He was hot today and it’s hard to stop a hot shooter,” said Bentley. “He hit three or four in a row and that is how we were able to pull away a little bit.”
Darien pushed their lead to nine, 51-42, with 5:32 left following a jumper by Jordan and layup from Will Rolapp.
Two Diamantis free throws and a Paolini three-pointer narrowed the Cadets deficit to 51-47 with 4:51 to play. Williams would connect on back-to-back three pointers to put Darien back up by 10, 57-47, with four minutes left.
A layup from Paolini would make it 57-49 with three minutes to go but that’s as close at the Cadets would get.
St. Joseph will finish their season on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Staples in Westport.
“Darien’s a very good program coached by Charoy and his coaches and they do great job,” said Dudzinski.
Darien will host Norwalk on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the regular season finale before they get ready for the Division III State Tournament.
“We are in a lower division so we think we have a good shot at winning it, or at least making a good run,” said Williams. “If we play the way we did tonight, I think that’s a good possibility.”
Darien 64, St. Joseph 53
Monday, Feb. 19, at Darien HS
St. Joseph 10-15-13-15 53
Darien 13-15-13-23 64
St. Joseph: Ace Luzetti 0 0-1 0, Tommy Shannon 0 0-0 0, Steve Paolini 9 4-6 23, Paul Fabbri 1 2-2 4, Brendan Kade 2 2-2 7, Brian Dineen 1 2-2 4, Bobby Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Anthony Rainey 2 0-0 5, Will Diamantis 3 2-2 8, Tyler Dubose 0 0-0 0, Ian Argento 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 12-15 53
Darien: Justin Jordan 6 2-2 15, Will Rolapp 6 0-0 14, Peter Bredahl 0 0-0 0, Cole Anderson 0 0-0 0, Jackson Vaught 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Pryor 1 0-0 2, Henry Williams 8 0-0 22, Jack Tierney 4 0-0 8, Ryan Darby 1 1-2 3, Sean Collins 0 0-0 0, Andrew Darby 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 3-4 64
3-pointers: SJ – Paolini, Kade, Rainey; Darien – Williams 6, Rolapp 2, Jordan
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Darien’s Justin Jordan drives to the hoop during a win over Ludlowe earlier this season. — Darien Athletic Foundation photo

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