Fairfield Prep romps in Class LL tournament play
It's not every day that Fairfield Prep center Paschal Chukwu is posterized by an opponent's dunk.
And the way Prep responded to Bryant Morander's dunk Wednesday night, might discourage future foes from trying to throw down on the 7-footer again.
The top-seeded Jesuits outscored No. 17 Newington 28-2 in the second quarter and rolled to a 75-38 win in the Class LL second round on Wednesday night at Alumni Hall in Fairfield.
"I thought we played very good in spurts," Prep coach Leo Redgate said. "I didn't expect us to win by this margin."
Five different Prep players reached double figures as Tim Butala and Ryan Murphy each scored 15, and Thomas Nolan added 14 points. The Jesuits will host No. 9 Ridgefield in Friday's quarterfinals -- their third straight trip to the state quarters.
"It's a great feeling," Butala said. "We've had some great experiences there in the past. Hopefully we can have some similar results Friday."
Timmy Blair led Newington with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. The Indians finished their season 14-8.
Newington and Prep traded the lead for much of the first quarter. Blair's 3-pointer at the 2:45 mark boosted Newington's lead to 9-6.
After layups from Chukwu and Butala gave Prep the lead back, Morander soared over Chukwu for a thunderous dunk, giving Newington an 11-10 lead with 59 seconds in the first, and whipping the Indians and their faithful into a frenzy.
"It was a nice play by him," Butala said.
That was the Indians' last lead, as Prep exploded. Murphy's jumper gave the Jesuits a 12-11 lead after one. Prep then scored the second quarter's first 16 points, keyed by fast-break baskets off Chukwu's and Butala's rebounds. Chukwu finished with 15 rebounds, and Butala grabbed six.
"You could see that Paschal turned up his game after that," Nolan said. "After that moment, we really turned it up and started playing great defense."
At one point, Butala scored seven straight on Prep's elongated run, and Nolan also scored Prep's final eight first-half points as the Jesuits led 40-13 at halftime.
"We started attacking more," Butala said. "We turned the tempo up more ... we were able to get numbers in the fast break."
"That's the type of basketball we need to play for four quarters," Redgate said.
Led by a hot-shooting third quarter -- the Indians hit three third-quarter 3-pointers -- Newington cut the Jesuits' advantage to 44-29 late in the third quarter.
"In this time of year, you're going to have seniors that are not going to quit," Redgate said. "I told the guys at halftime `you're going to get a punch.'"
But Prep answered with a 20-0 run. Dave Zielinski scored seven of his 10 on the spurt, and Chukwu recorded four dunks, including a pair of alley-oops from Murphy.
"When we're running, and we're distributing the basketball, we're a very good team," Redgate said.
Class LL second round
Isiah Young 0 0-0 0 Zach Morris 3 1-2 8 Michael Koss 0 0-0 0 Jordan Aprea 0 0-1 0 Timmy Blair 6 1-1 15 Marcus Guadarrama 3 0-0 7 Bryant Morander 4 0-1 8. Totals 14 2-6 38.
FAIRFIELD PREP (22-2)
Rich Sekerak 3 0-0 6 Keith Pettway 1 1-2 3 Ryan Murphy 5 4-4 15 Thomas Nolan 5 1-1 14 Dave Zielinski 5 0-0 10 Ryan Foley 0 0-0 0 Quinn Lincoln 0 0-0 0 Chris Kelly 1 0-0 2 Anthony Palazzolo 0 0-0 0 Rich Van deBerghe 0 0-0 0 Colton Smith 0 0-0 0 Tim Butala 7 0-0 15 Paschal Chukwu 4 2-2 10. Totals 31 8-9 75.
NEWINGTON 11 2 16 9--38
FAIRFIELD PREP 12 28 11 24--75
3-pointers: N--Blair 2, Guadarrama, Morris; FP--Zielinski 3, Nolan 3, Butala, Murphy.