Fairfield Warde boys basketball loses to Stamford
The faces were different, the turnovers and errant shots plentiful -- even for a season-opening game -- but the one constant at Fairfield Warde High School on Wednesday night was a strong defensive effort by Stamford in its easy 52-28 win.
"It was kind of sloppy," said Luis Bridtter, the most experienced returning player for the Black Knights, who finished with 13 points. "I'm not satisfied. We could play much better. In the half-court we can play much better. At times they outhustled us. But we worked real hard on defense."
The outcome was decided at the outset, as Stamford jumped out to a 14-0 lead as the Mustangs started the game by missing their first eight shots and turning the ball over four times before Kadeem Mundle put up their first points with 47 seconds left in the opening period.
"Defense is our base right now. That's what Mo preaches, defense, defense, defense," said Bridtter, referring to his coach, Jim Moriarty, by nickname.
The Mustangs, in coach Ryan Swaller's debut, was 3 for 16 from the field and turned the ball over 14 times to fall behind at the half, 29-14.
The damage might have been greater if Stamford had not committed 15 turnovers.
"It was a very sloppy first game," Moriarty said. "I thought the defense didn't play too badly. Our offense was good in the first quarter and then didn't play too well after."
The Mustangs opened the game in a zone, but was forced to come out of it behind the outside shooting of Danny Turkvan, who scored a game-high 15 points, and Anthony Davis, who finished with nine points.
"We played good defense and talked on defense pretty well," Moriarty said. "We forced them out of what they wanted to do. We rebounded OK, but not great."
Part of Stamford's offensive problems could be attributed to the absence of point guard Jakai Wilson, who Moriarty said is awaiting word from the CIAC about his eligibility because of a new rule regarding players who entered high school in 2007 and have to matriculate by this spring.
Moriarty said the rule does not affect Wilson's twin brother, Jakay, who played Wednesday night. Stamford learned on Friday about the question with Wilson, who is still allowed to practice with the team.
Stamford started a sophomore, Shy Dix, in Wilson's place.
"Taking your point guard off your team is like taking your quarterback off the team," Moriarty said.
Mundle scored 10 points to lead the Mustangs.
Stamford never allowed Warde the chance to come back, starting the second half with an 8-2 run to open up a 37-16 advantage. After Turkvan hit the first basket, the two teams combined to go scoreless for a span of 3:22, missing 11 shots.
Warde was just 2 for 12 in the period and turned the ball over seven times.
The Black Knights coasted through the final period as Moriarty liberally emptied his bench.
"Danny Turkvan, for his first game in high school on offense played solid," Moriarty said. "For the first game of the year the chemistry was not right. They came out and played zone and we got them out of it, but we weren't running our offense all the way through."