Despite falling to McMahon in its opening game on Wednesday, Fairfield Ludlowe boys basketball coach Brian Silvestro was excited to play in his team's home opener Friday night against defending Class LL champion Central.

As it turned out, the Falcons had reason to be excited after their game with the Hilltoppers.

Ludlowe got 26 points and nine rebounds from senior guard Erik Krumins, including 17 in the second half, as the Falcons surprised Central 54-52.

"I'm very excited for the team," Silvestro said. "They earned the win."

Junior forward David Kinsley scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds and junior guard Mark Cerulli added 11 points as Ludlowe made Silvestro a winner for the first time as a varsity head coach in just his second game.

"The kids on the bench were in a celebratory mood after it ended," Silvestro said. "I'm really pleased with the poise we showed in the game."

"We came out with enthusiasm," Krumins said.

The win also marked the Falcons' first in 13 games, dating back to Jan. 8. Ludlowe lost its final 12 games a year ago, five of which were decided by five points or less.

"It took the experience I had from last year," Krumins said. "I didn't want to lose another close game."

Central fell to 1-1, despite 20 points and seven rebounds from junior Josh Wilkerson. The Hilltoppers dropped a contested game for the first time since March 17, 2009. Central's lone loss a year ago was due to a forfeit.

"We don't have any veterans right now," Central coach Barry McLeod said. "The kids have to get together and play better."

The Falcons used a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to break a 44-44 tie. Ludlowe got baskets from Krumins, Kinsley and Cerulli on the run to open up the largest lead of the game by either side.

"(Kinsley) did a lot of dirty work inside," Silvestro said. "We hung tough."

The Hilltoppers battled back behind layups from Rohan McNeil and Willingham, and a 3-pointer by Yaaser Abduluh, which cut Ludlowe's advantage to 53-52 with 34.9 seconds left.

After a free throw by Ludlowe's Kevin Bentivegna, Central had one final chance to score, but could not generate a shot on its final possession as Ludlowe's Justin Berardino intercepted a pass by Central's Tyler Ancrum in the waning seconds of the game.

"Our goal is to outwork the opponent every night," Silvestro said. "Tonight it translated into a win."

"At the end of the game, not getting a shot off, is tough to swallow," McLeod said.

Krumins added a steal and a block, as he took over offensively, despite a back injury.

The senior guard was able to lead the Falcons despite a rough shooting night by his fellow senior guard, Bentivegna, who managed just nine points, and just three field goals for the game.

"When his shot is off, I've got to take over," Krumins said. "He'll come back strong."

"Erik is a rock out there," Silvestro said.


Tyler Ancrum 1 0-0 3 Easton Riley 0 0-0 0 Kimani Geer 4 2-2 12 Moriba Keita 2 1-3 5 Josh Wilkerson 8 3-4 20 Yaaser Abdulah 2 0-0 6 Sheridan Webb 2 0-0 4 Rohan McNeil 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 6-9 52.


Kevin Bentivegna 3 2-4 9 Erik Krumins 10 5-6 26 Mark Cerulli 4 2-3 11 Patrick Gutierrez 0 0-0 0 Justin Berardino 0 0-0 0 Maxx Keane 0 0-0 0 Luke Clifford 0 0-0 0 David Kinsley 4 0-0 8. Totals: 21 9-13 54.

CENTRAL..........................13 14 12 13--52

FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE.........13 11 18 12--54

3-pointers: C--Geer 2, Abdulah 2, Wilkerson, Ancrum; FL--Bentivegna, Krumins, Cerulli.

Highlights: FL--Krumins scored 12 of his 26 points in the third quarter. Bentivegna's free throws with 14 seconds sealed the game for the Falcons.