Tarpey, defense keys Prep's return to LL semis
Updated 12:13 am, Tuesday, March 13, 2012
FAIRFIELD-- The Fairfield Prep boys basketball team used a familiar formula to get to the Class LL semifinals for the second straight year.
The senior captain scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked seven shots and recorded four assists in his final home game, as the No. 6 seeded Jesuits beat No. 14 New Britain 59-48 in the Class LL quarterfinals at Alumni Hall.
"It's exciting," Tarpey said. "New Britain's a good team, and I'm happy to get the win."
"It's great for the program," Prep coach Leo Redgate said.
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Senior guard Mike Matera scored 11 and junior Tim Butala added 10 as Prep improved to 22-3. The Jesuits advanced to play conference-rival and second-seeded Hillhouse in the state semifinals on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at East Haven High School.
"(Hillhouse) is terrific," Redgate said. "The conference is underrated by people (in Fairfield County)."
New Britain sophomore forward Craven Johnson scored 17, grabbing 10 rebounds before fouling out. The Golden Hurricanes finished their season 14-10, just a year removed from a 5-15 campaign.
"I was proud of their effort," New Britain coach Todd Stigliano said. "It hurts ... but to see what we accomplished is fantastic."
After falling behind 31-29 in the first three minutes of the third, Prep erupted on a 22-8 run between the frame's end and first 2:43 of the fourth. Five different Jesuits scored on the spurt, with Tarpey pouring in six.
"He's a special basketball player," Stigliano said of Tarpey. "You don't see too many people like him. He has all the tools ... and he has every intangible ... and they're a good team."
The run was keyed by the Jesuits forcing Johnson's third foul early in the quarter and good interior defense by Tarpey, Butala and Ryan Blake that led to layups on the other end.
"I got some steals and it led to some transition buckets," Tarpey said. "I think that's where the spark came."
"If you let them clean up on the boards, it's just a fast-break drill," Stigliano said. "A lot of that run ... we got killed on the glass and missed a lot of chippies on our end."
Matera and Prep held senior guard Devonne Nolan-- who scored 30 points in the Golden Hurricanes' second-round, upset win over No. 3 Hartford Public-- to only nine points, and just three in the second half.
"Everyone played really good help-side defense," Matera said.
The Jesuits' run was reminiscent of the 29-8 surge they had in their 62-53, second-round state tournament win over Westhill.
"It's how we play," Tarpey said.
Johnson dominated the first quarter, scoring six, on his way to nine in the first half. Johnson also grabbed six rebounds in the opening 16 minutes.
"He works very hard," Tarpey said of Johnson. "When you work hard, that's how you get rebounds."
But Tarpey scored 16 of his 26 in the first half, eight of which came on a 13-2 run that gave the Jesuits a six-point advantage. Butala and Tarpey also closed the frame with an 8-2 spurt that gave the Jesuits a 27-23 halftime lead.
"I'm very proud of the boys," Redgate said. "There were many times where we could have folded like tents."
NEW BRITAN 11 12 12 13-- 48
FAIRFIELD PREP 11 16 17 15-- 59
Records: New Britain 14-10, Fairfield Prep 22-3.
Devonne Nolan 3 3-4 9 Quadree Rollins 4 0-0 8 Sheveran Hardy 2 3-4 8 Daequane Clark 2 2-26 Craven Johnson 7 3-6 17 Joe Brown 0 0-0 0 Curtis Hyman 0 0-0 0 Totals 18 11-16 48
3-pointers-- FP: 2 (Nolan, Matera); NB 1 (Hardy); Fouled Out: Johnson.