Melzer picks up first win as Stamford beats McMahon
Published 10:17 pm, Wednesday, December 26, 2012
NORWALK -- Warm milk didn't work. Lunesta failed to do the trick.
Fortunately, Kenny Wright and his Stamford High teammates found the cure for their coach's insomnia.
"We had to go out there and get a win," Wright said.
Following a slow start, the Black Knights used a tenacious defensive effort to come away with a 45-38 victory at McMahon High on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Paul Kuczo Holiday Tournament.
It was the first win of the season for Stamford as well as its first-year coach, Danny Melzer.
"Now he gets to take a deep breath," said Wright, who finished with 13 points. "I have a feeling he hasn't been going to sleep. It always nips at him. I'm glad we got the first win for coach."
Melzer admitted there had been endless tossing and turning as the Black Knights got off to an 0-4 start.
"Every time I lie in bed, it has been difficult," Melzer said. "You are thinking what can we do differently, what can I do differently, what do we need to do to be more successful."
The answer, it turned out, was at the defensive end of the floor.
The Senators (0-5) broke out to an 11-4 lead less than four minutes in. Four of their five field goals were layups, prompting Melzer to take a full timeout.
"Every game it seems like we are down double digits by halftime," Wright said. "We fight back in the third and fourth quarters but it is too late. We got it going earlier today."
It took the Senators 22:06 to score their next 11 points, by which time they found themselves facing their largest deficit, 39-22, with 6:45 left in the game.
"They went to a 2-3 zone and we stopped attacking," said Ken Dustin, the Senators' first-year coach. "We settled for jump shots. We had a lack of intensity."
McMahon did show life down the stretch, getting within five points with 31 seconds left.
"We've been discussing consistency and playing with intensity throughout the entire game," Dustin said. "It is frustrating when you lose. They are still learning. They are not hanging their heads and I'm not hanging my head. We are still working."
Evans Antoine had a breakout game for Stamford, finishing with a game-high 20 points.
"He's tough to figure out," Melzer said. "Sometimes at the start of a game, he misses a couple shots and puts his head down. When he plays with confidence, he can score. Tonight, he found a lot of different ways to do that and I am proud of him."
Larry McKinney led McMahon with 14 points, but half of them came during that opening spurt. The Black Knights responded with a 10-0 run to take their first lead, 14-11. Wright had 6 points in the opening quarter and Antoine added 5.
After making five of their first eight shots -- four of them layups because Stamford failed to get back on defense -- the Senators converted just five of their next 23 attempts.
"My main job has been to make sure we don't get down," Wright said. "Even though we won, I don't think we played as well as we can. I think we could have blown them out."
Stamford will meet Bassick on Friday for the title -- likely with a well-rested coach on the sideline.
"The first win is always the hardest," Melzer said. "Hopefully I won't have to wait as long for No. 2."
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STAMFORD 45, MCMAHON 38
Joe Palumbo 0 0-0 0 Evans Antoine 8 1-3 20 Tamarie Sterling 0 0-0 0 Jelanie Tonge 0 0-0 0 Gianni Carwin 2 0-0 5 Kenny Wright 5 3-4 13 David Gillette 3 0-1 6 Errald Jordine 0 1-2 1 Totals: 18 5-9 45.
Larry McKinney 4 3-4 14 Andy Mitchell 2 1-2 5 Tim Hinton 3 2-2 8 Kyle Jordan 2 1-2 5 Justin Walker 0 1-4 1 Delquan Howard 2 0-0 5 Thomas Clyne 0 0-0 0 Allen Leonard 0 0-0 0 Totals: 13 8-14 38.
STAMFORD 13 11 10 11--45
MCMAHON 11 8 3 16--38
3-pointers: S-Antoine 3, Carwin; M-McKinney 3, Howard.