Doyle sparks Ludlowe to Class LL first-round victory

FAIRFIELD -- Matt Doyle was not about to let Ludlowe's return to the CIAC tournament become another one and done.

Doyle sparked a 14-0 second-quarter run with 11 straight points, which erased a seven-point deficit and became a seven-point lead, as the Falcons won a first-round state tournament game for the first time since 2005, beating New Britain 60-49 Monday night at the Ludlowe gym.

"This was huge. We feel like we didn't play nearly our best against Wilton in the first round (of the FCIAC tournament)," Ludlowe coach John Dailey said. "We talked about playing with some redemption tonight and proving to people that we are still a good basketball team. The first one always seems to be the toughest, so, hopefully, we'll get into a little rhythm now because we've got a real tough one coming up on Wednesday night."

Ludlowe, 16-6, and the No. 8 seed in the Class LL tournament, hosts No. 9 Hamden -- one of two teams to defeat Class LL top-seed Fairfield Prep -- on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the second round.

But to get to Hamden, Ludlowe had to get past New Britain, a team that came in with a losing record (9-11) but over the first quarter and a half, seemingly grabbed every big rebound, battled for every loose ball, made several big shots and held a 27-20 lead with 4:42 left before halftime.

"We weren't stopping the ball in transition early in the game, (point guard, Flavian) LaPorte was doing whatever he wanted with the basketball and they made some shots," Dailey said. "We weren't doing the things we talked about in our game preparation. We gave up 30 points at the half ... that has to be by far the most points we've given up at the half all year."

But just three of those 30 points came over the final 4:42 as Ludlowe went on its 14-0 run, Doyle scoring on two pull-up jumpers, a three from the wing, a drive to the basket and two free throws as the Falcons grabbed a 34-27 lead.

"That last game against Wilton I just wasn't aggressive enough and when I saw the scoreboard, I knew I had to get more aggressive," said Doyle, who finished with 27 points. "I just started going to the basket and we got off on a run."

"They started to get easier transition baskets and he (Doyle) was able to get some easy baskets, which helped him get going," New Britain coach Todd Stigliano said. "We got away from what we were doing on offense. We were executing pretty well, but when we got away from it, we started taking some bad shots and that led to them continuing to get out in transition."

Ludlowe, up 37-30 at halftime, held New Britain to just 19 points in the second half as the Falcons' defense changed the tone and never let the Hurricanes find any kind of rhythm.

"If you make mistakes, like we did, they're going to make you pay," Stigliano said. "They were bigger than us at every position and when they get after you (on defense) it makes every pass harder to make, you have to cut higher or harder than you want, things like that. And in the second quarter, that was the difference in the game."

Still, with just under six minutes to play, Ludlowe's lead was just 50-46, but Chad Peterson and Hayes Kelchner scored back-to-back baskets and Peterson added two free throws to give the Falcons a 56-47 lead with 1:33 to play.

"We just started playing tougher defense. That's what it came down to," said Doyle. "It was good to come out and play hard and get this one."

New Britain (9-12)

Tyree Burns 0 0-0 0, Flavian LaPotre 5 1-2 11, Ubaydullaah Chislum 2 0-1 4, Jose Conde 0 0-0 0, Takari Menyfield 4 2-2 11, Donovan Lighty 3 5-6 13, Andrew Walker 0 0-0 0, Jonathan McCoy 3 1-2 7, Hector Gonzalez 0 1-2 1, Alex Fleeton 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 10-15 49

Ludlowe (16-6)

Owen Mockler 1 0-0 3, Matt Doyle 10 5-8 27, Darren Lee 1 0-0 2, Greg Lawrence 0 0-0 0, Tim Berardino 0 0-0 0, Brendan Mockler 0 0-0 0, Mason Rush 0 0-0 0, Cole Prowitt-Smith 3 1-2 4, Chad Peterson 3 5-6 11, Hayes Kelchner 5 3-6 13, Chris Howell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 14-23 60.

NEW BRITAIN 16 14 12 7--49

LUDLOWE 15 22 9 14--60

3-point goals: New Britain--Lighty 2, Menyfield. Ludlowe -- Matt Doyle 2, Owen Mockler, Cole Prowitt-Smith.