Darien closes regular season by drubbing Norwalk
DARIEN — Playing in their final home game of the season, the Darien seniors put an exclamation point on their careers Wednesday night.
The Blue Wave drubbed Norwalk 79-45 in a game that was never really close, finishing the regular season at 10-10.
“We came out, we fought hard, we got out to a big lead and we didn’t blow it,” Wave senior Justin Jordan said. “They were saying, ‘It’s only Darien,’ so that fired us up at halftime. They kind of fell apart and we just kept going.”
While Darien failed to qualify for the FCIAC tournament with a conference record of 7-9, there are few teams hotter heading to states as the Wave closed out the season winning seven of their last eight.
“We just picked it up,” said junior Will Rolapp, who had 14 points in the win. “We had some tough losses early in the year to some big-time teams, we’ve made a run at the end of the season and we’re feeling good going into the states — we’re hot.”
And that heat was evident early on Wednesday as Darien jumped out to a 44-21 lead at the half. The Wave’s largest lead came in the third quarter at 43 points, largely behind eight 3-pointers in the contest.
“We came out and had a good game plan and we were hitting our shots,” Rolapp said. “It’s home court and everyone was playing well; we were meshing together.”
During the third quarter, knowing the game had become non-competitive, both coaches scrambled to get in as many players as possible.
Norwalk’s (12-8, 10-6) leading scorer ended up being Jahmai Green, who finished with 13 points on four 3-pointers, all in the second half.
“We weren’t ready to play tonight, Darien was,” Norwalk coach Tom Keyes said. “(Darien coach Charoy Bentley) had them ready and they made a lot of good shots. I’m not taking them away from Darien, they’re a really good team, I just wish we were able to be better prepared for the game.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jordan, Darien. The senior had a game-high 23 points and connected on three 3-pointers. His final two came in the third quarter right in front of his own bench to energize the already-leading Wave.
“My teammates got me wide-open looks,” Jordan said. “We were passing the ball great tonight, played great defense … we did everything great.”
TURNING THE PAGE
It was ugly for the Bears, but it’s over, and now their attention turns to Saturday and the FCIAC playoffs.
“It’s varsity basketball, if we’re not ready to get over it and get excited about Saturday then we’ve got a lot bigger problems,” Keyes said. “We worked hard all season, our body of work put us in the FCIAC tournament. I’m not making excuses for tonight, that was absolute garbage what we did tonight, but by the time this is in the newspaper it’s a new day and we’re 0-0 and we’re worried about the FCIAC tournament.”
DARIEN 79, NORWALK 45
NORWALK (12-8, 10-6 FCIAC)
Tyrique Langley 3 2-2 8; Zyaire Sellers 3 3-4 9; Xavier Vines 1 2-2 5; Dylan Polka 0 2-2 2; Jahmai Green 4 1-2 13; Conner Mastropietro 1 0-0 3; Jadyn Grant 0 1-2 1; Joseph Benincaso 1 0-0 2; Sergio Thermidor 0 0-2 0. Totals: 14 11-16 45.
DARIEN (10-10, 7-9 FCIAC)
Justin Jordan 8 3-3 22; Will Rolapp 5 2-4 14; Jackson Vaught 1 0-0 2; Arthur Xanthos 1 1-2 3; Henry Williams 5 0-0 13; Jack Tierney 3 1-2 7; Ryan Darby 6 0-0 12; Sean Collins 0 0-0 0; Andrew Darby 2 0-0 4; Jackson Roberson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 32 7-11 79.
DARIEN 23 21 24 11—79
NORWALK 11 10 7 17—45
3-pointers: N—Vines, Green 4, Mastropietro; D—Jordan 3, Rolapp 2, Williams 3.