Darien boys basketball tops Staples for third straight win
The Darien Blue Wave boys’ basketball team defeated the Staples Wreckers 67-55 on Tuesday night in Westport.
Just like they did in the previous game against Ludlowe, the Blue Wave (6-9, 3-9 FCIAC), which has a three-game win streak, got out to a strong start and never looked back.
“That was a big win. That’s a team (Staples) that they play hard. They wanted it as bad as we did. We just ended up on top,” said Darien head coach Charoy Bentley.
After Staples (3-13, 2-10 FCIAC) took a 2-0 lead 20 seconds in, Justin Jordan’s layup with 7:05 left in the quarter tied the game at two. A free throw from Jack Tierney gave Darien a 3-2 lead with five minutes left in the quarter.
In a low scoring first quarter, the Blue Wave finished the quarter on an 11-4 run including three-pointers by Henry Williams with 4:39 left in the quarter and Justin Jordan, whose three with 1:40 left in the frame capped the scoring. After one, Darien led 11-6.
“We were able to keep the lead throughout the game. We stuck together,” said Jordan.
The Blue Wave extended their lead in the second quarter, Will Rolapp and Jordan connected on three-pointers and Peter Bredahl made a layup with 6:49 left in the half to give Darien a 19-6 lead.
“We run what coach tells us to, we like to get our shots when they are there and make our teammates around us better,” said Rolapp. “If we do that we can win so that’s our goal.”
Staples cut the deficit down to 11 at 21-10 two minutes into the third quarter, AJ Konstanty drained two free throws and Stedman van Arsdale made a layup for Staples with an Andrew Darby layup sandwiched in for Darien.
The Blue Wave would score the next eight to push the lead up to 29-10. Bredahl and Jordan made layups to make it 25-10 with 5:08 left and then Tierney scored the next four points, including a layup and two free throws.
With Darien leading 31-14 following a Rolapp three-pointer, Staples went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 10, 31-21, with 1:02 left in the half. Ben Pearl made a three-pointer and then converted two free throws.
“They (Staples) have a good coach on their hands. (Luke) Murphy, the freshman’s pretty good, “said Bentley. “They kept fighting. It’s a game of runs.”
Rolapp would hit a three-pointer and Jordan a base-line jump shot in the final minute of the half and at the break Darien held a 36-22 advantage.
They’ve (Jordan and Rolapp) been great. They made my job so much easier,” said Bentley. “When we need, they always show up.”
Staples opened the second half on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to five with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter. Sam Maged opened the half with a three-pointer, followed up by a layup by Jake Thaw. Konstanty then made back-to-back layups to cap the run.
“We played tough for 16 minutes. We dug ourselves to big a hole in the first half and we couldn’t overcome it,” said Staples head coach Colin Devine. “They (Darien) played a complete basketball game tonight.
Darien finished the third on a 9-0 run of its own to take a 45-31 lead after three quarters. Rolapp made two free throws, then Williams scored six straight, including a three-pointer. A free throw by Bredahl capped the scoring for the quarter.
“We knew they (Staples) were going to come back so we had to strategize ourselves at halftime, knowing that they would come back” said Bentley. “We were able to come out with the win.”
Rolapp made two free throws 39 seconds into the fourth to give Darien a 15-point lead. Staples was able to get the deficit down to nine multiple times in the quarter, including as late as with 1:11 left on a layup by Tristan Hochman.
Darien was able to hit free throws down the stretch as Jordan made three of four in the final 1:04 to seal the victory.
“We’ve been playing well together these last few games. None of us have been selfish,” said Jordan. “We’ve been making the extra pass, making our free throws and we played very good defense today.”
Jordan finished with 22 points, while Rolapp added 15 of his own.
The Blue Wave need to win at least two of their remaining five games in order to qualify for the state tournament. They face New Canaan on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Darien High School.
“We need two more to get into the state tournament; I think we can pull it out,” said Rolapp. “We are just going to take it one game at a time and play our game.”