It was anything but a picture-perfect performance, but in the end, it was another win for the streaking Danbury Hatters boys basketball team
The Hatters received 19-point games from senior co-captains Javon Hernandez and Denali Burton and defeated a tough Darien Blue Wave squad, 66-59, Monday night at Darien High School.
“I’m happy we got a road win,” Danbury head coach Casey Bock said. “They just beat McMahon so they’re a solid team. (Rolapp and Williams) are very solid players, so I’m happy with the road win, but obviously we could’ve finished a little better and made it a little easier on ourselves.”
Danbury stretched its winning streak to six games while improving to 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the FCIAC, while the Wave dropped below the .500 mark at 4-5 and is 1-5 in the conference.
Both coaches had good things to say about their opponents after the game.
“They’re a really good team, they’re well-coached and they have one of the best players in the league,” Darien head coach Charoy Bentley said. “I’m happy that we stuck with them, but at the end it wasn’t enough. I told them we still have a lot of stuff to work on. We’re almost there. If we keep working hard in practice and listen to the captains and the coaches, we’ll be a good team.”
“They’re solid,” Bock said of the Wave. “Bentley’s a great coach, so they’re a well-coached team and they have two players who can really go. They hit shots, so I’m just glad we could come out of here with a win.”
Darien featured strong games from Will Rolapp and Henry Williams.
Williams scored 14 points and was tough inside with several blocked shots, while Rolapp netted a team-high 18 points, which included nine points on three 3-pointers. Rolapp is rounding into form after missing the early part of the schedule with an injury suffered during the football season.
“He hurt himself in football and he’s still kind of tweaked,” Bentley said. “He’s getting there and still trying to get lift off of that foot. Once he’s fully recovers, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
The Wave showed some resilience against the Hatters. They led 16-12 early in the second quarter and, after Danbury went on a 10-0 run to take a six-point lead, Darien responded and closed the deficit to 30-25 by halftime.
That finish included a run of seven straight points which featured two free throws from Rolapp, a bucket by Williams, and a 3-pointer from Rolapp.
“I called a time out because I had to relax them,” Bentley said. “Danbury’s a tough team and they want to go up and down. We had to slow down the tempo and take our shots and it all started with defense and rebounding.”
Danbury, which outscored Darien 40-23 in the second and third quarters combined, had big games from its three captains: Hernandez, Burton and Keyon Moore, who also hit double digits in scoring with 10 points.
Hernandez caught fire during a 15-2 run to close the third quarter, a rally which turned a one-point lead into a 52-38 gap after three quarters.
“Our defense and hitting shots,” Hernandez said of that quarter. “We were getting stops and then on the offensive end, we were hitting our shots. So the defense was what led us to making a run.”
Hernandez was fouled and hit the floor hard late in the quarter, forcing him out of the game. He returned early in the fourth frame.
“I saw the score was close — it was only 10 or 12 — so I was thinking I just have to put some ice on it for a couple of minutes and get back in,” Hernandez said. “The team needs me — leader, captain, you’ve got to go out there hurt or not.”
“Javon, Denali, and Keyon are our horses and they’re going have to lead us,” Bock said. “(Hernandez) is a winner, so he makes winning plays.”
Darien will now takes its game on the road, as the Wave plays at Stamford on Thursday and at Wilton on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
“As long as we stay healthy and we focus on what we need to focus on, mainly our defense and getting good shots, we’ll be fine,” Bentley said.
Danbury 66, Darien 59
Monday, Jan. 14, at Darien HS
Danbury 12 18 22 14 – 66
Darien 15 10 13 21 – 59
Danbury: Javon Hernandez 6 5-6 19, Keyon Moore 4 0-1 10, Denali Burton 6 4-4 19, Jah Joyner 3 0-0 6, Jaden Cook 0 0-0 0, Darin Rodriguez 2 2-2 6, Raimir Rivera 2 0-0 6. Totals 23 11-13 66
Darien: Derric Andrews-Dixon 2 1-2 5, Will Rolapp 6 3-3 18, Peter Bredahl 3 2-2 9, Miles Drake 2 2-2 6, Henry Williams 6 0-0 14, Cole Anderson 3 0-0 7. Totals 22 8-9 59
3-pointers: Danbury – Hernandez 2, Moore 2, Rivera 2, Burton; Darien – Rolapp 3, Williams 2, Bredahl, Anderson