Fairfield Prep advances to SCC semifinals with win over Lyman Hall
The Fairfield Prep boys basketball team continues to impress even itself.
The fifth-seeded Jesuits overcame an eight-point deficit in the first half to take an 11-point second half advantage, before holding off No. 4 Lyman Hall, 69-67 in the SCC tournament quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at East Haven High School.
"We're very fortunate to get out of here with a win," Prep head coach Leo Redgate said. "But I think it was deserved."
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"We knew it would come down to whoever wanted it more," Tarpey said. "
Lyman Hall was led by sophomore guard Richard Bronson, who scored 14 points.
The Trojans had everything working in the first half and especially the first quarter. Lyman Hall guard PJ Higgins scored all of his 10 points in the first quarter as the Trojans opened up an 18-10 first quarter advantage. Prep closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 18-17 after a period.
"Lyman Hall, I would argue, is one of the best teams in the state," Redgate said. "I was very concerned about the matchup because they are very big and very physical."
"They surprised us how well they could shoot it," Tarpey said.
Prep was bit by shoddy foul shooting for the game, especially in the first half. Prep was 9-20 in the initial 16 minutes from the line, and finished the game just 28-47.
"We had our worst night from the free throw line all year," Redgate said.
The Jesuits' failings at the free throw line allowed Lyman Hall to score a five point lead at the half. However, Prep came out raring to go in the second, opening the half on a 10-2 run to take a three-point lead. Prep led 46-44 after three quarters of play.
"I like to motivate them during halftime," Redgate said. "But I shouldn't have to."
It appeared as though Prep had put the game out of reach in the first 2:30 of the fourth, as the Jesuits opened the quarter on a 14-5 run, taking a 60-49 lead. Senior center Matt Daley scored six of his 12 points on the run and Bier added six as well.
But the Trojans answered with a 13-3 run of their own, to get back to within a single point with 2:48 left. Lyman was led by Bronson, whose dribble penetration made things impossible on Tarpey, who was guarding him with four fouls.
"I definitely didn't want to get a fifth," Tarpey said. "I thought they needed me."
"[Tarpey] didn't want to foul him," Redgate said. "They fought very, very hard back."
After Tarpey made three of four free throws to put the Jesuits up by four, Lyman's Steve Nations hit a 3-pointer to cut Prep's advantage to one again.
"These guys were taking three-point shots from literally 10 feet behind the arc," Redgate said.
However, Bier and Tarpey each made free throws, sandwiched around a basket by Bronson which game Prep a two-point lead. Lyman Hall's Kevin Ruys' attempted 3-pointer hit the back rim and the Jesuits were moving on to the SCC semifinals for the first time since 1995.
Redgate was surprised by Lyman's decision to shoot the 3-pointer instead of going for the tie.
"I thought they would go with Bronson coast-to-coast," Redgate said. "I would have gone for the two ... because I honestly think that they would have beaten us in overtime."
Tarpey contested Ruys' shot at the end of the game.
"He made a lot of shots," he said. "I didn't want him getting an open look."