Warde boys basketball eliminated from state playoff contention with loss to Danbury
Updated 2:53 pm, Thursday, February 24, 2011
When the Fairfield Warde boys basketball team looks back on its 2010-11 season, it will be impossible to forget all of
the games that it should have won.
The Mustangs let another game slip away, and with it their Class L state playoff hopes as Warde blew a 16-point first half lead, losing a 47-46 heartbreaker to Danbury at the Danbury War Memorial.
"Obviously it is disappointing," Warde head coach Ryan Swaller said. "It's like we lost a playoff game."
Warde lost for the fifth time by two points or less. The Mustangs were led by senior Kadeem Mundle, who scored 11 points. Junior Matt McTague added 11 points as well, and Terrell Walden scored nine for Warde.
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The Mustangs needed to win their final two games to reach the Class L state playoffs, Warde closed its season with a 54-45 win over Darien on Wednesday night.
Warde flew out of the gate, taking a 17-9 advantage in the first quarter. Between the first and second periods, the Mustangs went on a 12-2 run to
see their lead peak at 27-11. Mundle spearheaded the run,
scoring eight of the Mustangs 12 points.
"We came out the way I
expected us to," Swaller said.
However, Danbury answered with a 6-0 run of its own and got back to within 31-24 at the end of the first half.
McTague lifted Warde out of the gate in the second half, with four of his 11 on an 8-2 run which lifted Warde's lead to 39-26 in the second half.
"In the third, I didn't expect us to come out as flat as we did," Swaller said. "We tried to create too much on our own, too much individual and not enough working as a group."
But, Danbury's Corey Dean took over from there. The Hatters' forward, and best player, scored 12 points on Danbury's 16-3 run between the third and fourth quarter, which got Danbury back even at 42.
"I thought he did a very good job rebounding," Swaller said of Dean. "He's a good player."
Walden made a basket, and then Sal Siciliano hit a pair of free throws to give the Mustangs a 46-42 lead, but Danbury's Malik Stevens scored the final four points of the game, including a layup with 1:10 left to put the Hatters up for good. Warde did not score in the final 3:48 of the game.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Swaller said. "Whether it was turnovers or forced shots ... we took ourselves out."
For Swaller, the pain of losing for the fourth time by one point, and eighth time by six points or less, was enough to draw him to blame himself.
"It's got to be on me," he said. "I guess situationally, we don't go over enough."