WESTPORT — The preschool teacher in Stamford needed a way to differentiate between two students named Nick with the last initial “L.”

Since he already carried the nickname “Nico” at home, the teacher began referring to Nick Laveris as “Nico,” leaving Nick Laudati as “Nick.”

No matter what the teacher called them, the two Nicks became fast friends, remaining so even as one moved out of town.

Coaching the FCIAC senior varsity team, Trumbull coach Buddy Bray was faced with a similar dilemma as he coached the Western Division All-Stars.

Bray opted to just run plays called “Nick” and see which player responded.

The two joined seniors and juniors from every other team in the FCIAC in the second annual FCIAC Junior/Senior All-Star Games at Staples on Thursday night.

The East won the up-tempo senior game 117-116 on a deep 3 at the buzzer by Darien’s Zak Swetye.

Swetye scored 32 points leading the East. Marcus Fox scored 33 points to pace the West.

New Canaan senior Tyler Sweeney, who is headed to play Division III ball in California at Occidental College, played for the east.

“The FCIAC is really tough and every player in the FCIAC takes every game very seriously, so a night like this is fun,” Darien and Eastern Division coach Charoy Bentley said. “It is good for the kids. They want to have fun and show everyone what they can do outside of their programs. It’s a good time.”

In the junior game, the Eastern Division won 138-120. Trinity’s Dutreil Contavio scored 23 points, leading a balanced attack for the West. Max Sussman of Staples knocked down 11 3-pointers, scoring a game-high 35 points for the East.

Laudati moved out of Stamford soon after nursery school, but his parents stayed close with the Laveris family as the two students moved through different school systems.

The two friends have played against each other many times on the court and the baseball diamond, but never got to be teammates until Thursday when they both suited up for the Western Division.

“I actually got my name because of him,” Laveris said. “We were both Nick L. and they needed a way to tell the difference between us so my mom told them to just call me ‘Nico.’ We have always been playing against each other, so, it will be fun to be playing with him.”

Laveris continued: “It has always been fun playing against him because he has always been that huge kid that everyone is afraid of. (Laudati stands 6-foot-9) But to me he is just always Nicky. It’s really cool we have gone through the FCIAC together and get to play on the same team tonight.”

Laudati, who won a FCIAC title with Ridgefield, said getting to play in an all-star game is a fun way to end the year and getting to play with his old buddy made it even better.

“Our parents are best friends, especially our moms. It has been nice over the years playing baseball and basketball. We have shared sports and have kind of stayed connected,” Laudati said. “It’s been annoying playing against him because he’s such a good knock-down 3-point shooter and so dangerous.”

“My senior year has been surreal,” Laudati said. “Not just for basketball but our whole senior class has been amazing. We won FCIACs, hockey won states, football made state finals. It is still so insane to think about how we won FCIAC this year.”

The pair of friends joined all the seniors in their last night on a FCIAC court with smiles, a little friendly trash talk and plenty of dunks and long 3s.

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports