If the Fairfield Warde boys basketball team thinks it can compete with the FCIAC's best, it'll have to get tougher.

Bassick won its second straight to open their season with a dominant 65-44 win over the Mustangs on Friday night in Bridgeport.

"I think tough is a good word," Warde coach Ryan Swaller said. "They're very athletic."

Senior guard Devin Coleman led all scorers with 17 points and had seven assists and junior Demetrius Thomas added 14 with six rebounds as the Lions won their fifth straight against FCIAC opposition.

"I think we were a little quicker than them in the first half," Bassick coach Harrison Taylor said.

Russell Jones scored nine with seven rebounds, Jerond Rogers added eight and Pashien Young scored seven points with three steals as well for Bassick.

"We like to get the flow of the game going so we can get out in space," Taylor said. "Pressure defense broke the game open."

Warde (1-1) was steered by seniors Michael Wright and Sal Siciliano. Wright scored seven and grabbed 14 rebounds and Siciliano tallied seven points with 10 rebounds as well. Senior guard Matt McTague was the only Mustang in double figures, with 10 points

"I think they out-toughed us in every aspect of the game," Swaller said. "We didn't play our game tonight."

The Lions showed definite signs of maturation, as the Lions used a 10-2 run at the end of the first quarter to jump out to a 21-12 advantage after a period.

"We let them control the game from beginning to end," Swaller said. "We just were along for the ride here."

That advantage peaked at 14 at halftime as the Lions closed the half on an 11-3 run that included a pair of highlight reel dunks from Thomas. The first came on an alley-oop pass from Coleman, and the second was an emphatic two-hand jam off a missed shot.

"We tried to play their game tonight," Swaller said. "We didn't give our best."

Bassick's lead grew to 21, 45-24, midway through the third period, but the Mustangs countered with a 9-0 run that got Warde to within 12.

"They got complacent," Taylor said.

But a 4-point play from Coleman that started a 14-4 run for Bassick essentially put the game away.

"It was a big play," Swaller said. "Four points in one possession is tough, especially when we're down."

Swaller thinks getting a tough-minded team, like Bassick, could be a good lesson for his club.

"A game like this opens our eyes," Swaller said. "The toughness, the intensity, playing in an environment like this is only going to help us grow."

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