DARIEN — After a wild ending that saw Greenwich barely hang on to a once-comfortable lead, Cardinals’ coach Pat Heaton described it perfectly.

“I told (Darien) coach (Charoy) Bentley after the game, we tried to make it a free throw contest and we both lost.”

Greenwich would win 46-45 over the Blue Wave in Darien Monday night, but either team could have walked away with the win.

Greenwich seemed to be in control late, up eight points with just two minutes remaining, but failed score for the rest of the game, despite having multiple opportunities at the free throw line.

“When you miss four ends of a one-and-one with an eight-point lead with two minutes to go that’ll happen,” Heaton said. “We made two questionable decisions, but more importantly you have to make foul shots.”

Luckily for Heaton and the Cardinals (10-8, 8-7) Darien couldn’t take advantage either.

After a 3-pointer from Justin Jordan put the Wave down one with just 14 seconds left Darien (7-12, 4-11) fouled and ended up with possesion after a missed Greenwich free throw followed by an illegal screen call against the Cardinals.

Riley Stewart, who was the Darien player fouled on the play, then missed the front end of his one-and-one.

Alex Preston was then fouled, but he too missed with nine seconds left. Greenwich would again miss a free throw, giving Darien a chance to scramble and get a shot off, but Preston’s desperation jumper was too late and off line.

“If we could play the last two minutes of a basketball game ...,” Heaton said of his team’s chances heading into the state tournament. “Which has cost us twice, luckily it didn’t tonight. We could be pretty effective down the stretch.”

The Cardinals proved that early, holding Darien to just 14 first-half points while converting with their best scorer rendered ineffective.

“They were really taking Conor (Harkins) out so other kids had to step up,” Heaton said. “And defensively we knew we had to put pressure on their guards to make it hard to see inside. We got lucky that Preston missed a couple easy buckets and we made him work for everything, he’s a great player and fortunately we were able to contain him tonight.”

Darien fired back in the third to make it a one-point game, but Greenwich’s Henry Golden nailed consecutive 3s to put his team back in front.

Darien coach Charoy Bentley was unavailable for comment.

aparelli@bcnnew.com

GREENWICH 46, DARIEN 45

GREENWICH (10-8, 87)

Mike Gianopolous 5 1-4 11 Joseph Lanni1 0-0 2 Henry Golden 3 0-0 8 Robert Clark 3 0-0 6

Conor Harkins 4 0-1 11 Kieran Carroll 2 2-4 6 Patrick McTiernan 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 3-9 46.

DARIEN (7-12, 4-11)

Justin Jordan 3 0-0 9 Alex Preston 4 6-9 14 Andrew Steuber 0 0-0 0 Carter Scott 1 0-0 2

Jackson Ryan 2 0-0 4 Riley Stewart 0 0-1 0 Zak Swetye 5 1-1 14 Will Rolapp 0 0-0 0

Rock Stewart 0 2-2 2. Totals: 15 9-13 45.

DARIEN 6 8 19 12 —45

GREENWICH 12 9 17 8—46

3-pointers: G--Harkins (3), Golden (2); D--Jordan (3), Swetye (3)