DARIEN — Thursday night at Darien High School was a breaking point for two FCIAC basketball teams headed in opposite directions.

The Blue Wave came in riding a three-game win streak, while Brien McMahon entered losers of its last two by just a combined seven-points.

It was Darien that stayed hot, taking down the Senators 55-43 to keep pace near the top of the conference standings.

“McMahon played well,” Darien coach Charoy Bentley said. “They tested us, but we were able to pull it out at the end. We made a few adjustments that worked out.”

Up just two points at 36-34 heading into the fourth quarter it was the big men that stepped up for Darien (5-3, 4-1 FCIAC).

“Alex Preston and Theo Moore played very well at the end,” Bentley said. “They were composed, and that got us over the edge.”

Preston had 17 points for Darien and was absolutely dominant on the boards, while Moore added eight points — all in the second half.

Both teams struggled to find offense early with Darien going into halftime leading 22-19, but each side was able to get rolling in the third.

McMahon (4-3, 1-3) was led by guard Eric Day, who scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter.

Late in the third Bentley switched to a box-and-one defense with Jack Richter guarding Day, and the senior was able to effectively limit the sharpshooter’s production.

“Richter is a workhorse,” Bentley said. “Whatever I need him to do, whatever the coaching staff needs him to do, he works. (Day) is a great player, when he gets rolling he’s hard to stop and Richter was able to slow him down.”

When the Senators were able to find offensive success, it started with their defense and getting out in transition, but they were unable to sustain the quick pace against the bigger Blue Wave.

“We rely typically on our defensive pressures,” McMahon coach Ken Dustin said. “When we did that and got up-tempo that’s what we needed, but they took over the pace of the game.”

After starting the season 4-0 before losing its last three, Dustin is hoping toturn games into track meets to get his team back on track.

“We have to do that all game,” Dustin said. “Our defense leads to our best offense, and if that doesn’t happen it gets a little difficult.”

When Bentley took over at the helm for the Wave three years ago, he was greeted by a team full of sophomores, starting five of them.

Now those players are seniors, and the last two-plus years of experience have them seasoned enough to close-out tough conference games like Thursday’s.

“If this was two years ago, when Charoy first started and we were young we would have gotten blown out this game,” senior Zak Swetye (15 points) said. “But we all work hard over the offseason, we all work hard every day in practice and with, Charoy being the great coach that he is, we have come so far.”

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DARIEN 55, BRIEN MCMAHON 43

BRIEN McMAHON (4-3, 1-3 FCIAC)

Eric Day 4 9-10 19 Matt Saint-Louis 5 1-1 11 Aaron McKeithan 1 1-2 3 Brendan Quinlan-Huertas 1 0-1 3 Latrel Stewart 1 0-0 2 Saikwon Williams 1 1-4 3 Justin Forde 1 0-0 2. Totals :14 12-18 43.

DARIEN (5-3, 4-1)

Zak Swetye 6 0-1 15 Jack Richter 1 1-4 3 Alex Preston 6 5-10 17 Theo Moore 3 2-4 8 Henry Williams 1 0-0 2 Jack Tierney 2 0-0 4 Andrew Darby 3 0-0 6. Totals: 22 8-19 55.

BRIEN McMAHON 11 8 15 9—43

DARIEN 10 12 16 19—55

3-pointers: BM—Day 2, Quinlan-Huertas; D—Swetye 3.