Fairfield Warde outscored Norwalk in the second and third quarters of Friday night's game.
Unfortunately for the visiting Mustangs, Norwalk more than doubled Warde's point totals in the other two quarters, as Norwalk won 73-59 behind 22 points from sophomore forward Roy Kane.
Norwalk (6-1) led 18-7 after one quarter and pushed its lead to 15 with 3:31 left in the second quarter when Jabari Dear (18 points) hit a 3-pointer.
The Bears seemed to have the game well in hand, but Warde chipped away at the lead and went on a 14-4 run to end the second quarter. Norwalk's lead was just five at the half.
"Our coach (Tom Keyes) came out and told us this team shouldn't even be in the game with us," Kane said. "We came out hard in the first quarter and once we got that big lead, we started laying off them."
Down 30-15 in the middle of the second quarter, Warde (1-6) was on its heels and in danger of being blown out. But the Mustangs dug in. Sophomore guard Mark Byrne (16 points) and senior forward Max Garrett (16 points) were instrumental in overcoming the early deficit.
"We fought. One of the things we talk about is never quit," Warde coach Ryan Swaller said.
Warde was aggressive on offense and Norwalk helped the cause. The Bears picked up numerous reaching fouls, and Warde made them pay as they made 12 of 16 free throws in the first half.
"They were getting all these free throws, and the thing was the referees were making good calls," Keyes said. "We were fouling way too much. We were reaching in."
Warde got a big lift off the bench from senior center Josh Dow, who routinely crashed the boards and challenged Norwalk's post players on defense. Dow finished with nine points.
"Josh Dow played great," Swaller said. "We needed guys to get rebounds, and that was (Dow). He came in, he took charges, he put his body on the line for the team. He got rebounds for us and brought energy to the rest of the guys."
Dow's aggressiveness gave Warde its lone lead of the game late in the third quarter, when his tip in put the Mustangs ahead 48-47 with less than a minute left.
But Norwalk guard Jeremy Linton responded with one of his three 3-pointers in the game, and Norwalk was back ahead 50-48 as the fourth quarter began.
Norwalk scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from Dear. Warde never got closer than seven in final minutes as Kane and Saeed Soulemane (eight points) had success working a high-low game against the Warde defense.
"We started getting the ball inside against the zone," Keyes said.
Norwalk 73, Warde 59
FAIRFIELD WARDE (1-6)
Terrance Walden 2 1-2 5 Hunter Smaldone 2 0-0 2 Michael Pehota 11-3 3 Mark Byrne 6 3-4 16 TJ Tracey 1 0-0 2 Max Garrett 4 4-4 16 Nicholas Cotto 2 1-2 5 Brian Kerrigan 0 1-2 1 Josh Dow 3 3-4 9 Totals 22 14-21 59
FAIRFIELD WARDE 7 22 29 11--59
NORWALK 18 16 16 23--73
3 pointers: N--Jeremy Linton 3, Jabari Dear 2; FW--Mark Byrne, Max Garrett.