Written by Rich Pittera- Fairfield, Conn. Sports
It’s one thing to have five three-point shots in a game. It’s special when two of them are buzzer beaters, but it’s a whole other thing when you break a tie with one on a game winning buzzer beater. That’s exactly what Fairfield Warde’s Mike Wright did in Fridays 52-49 victory over the Notre Dame Lancers on Friday night. “I feel amazing right,” Wright said moments after his game winning shot.
The Mustangs came into the Fairfield holiday tournament hosted by prep as the team with the worst record at 1-2. In the first round of the tournament on Wednesday, in a game where no one thought it was possible for them to win, the Mustangs defied all odds and upset the unbeaten and No. 9 team in the state Fairfield Prep with a 68-76 upset win in overtime.
In Friday’s championship, again as the underdog, Warde pulled off another thrilling upset–winning the tournament for the very first time.
“I absolutely love it,” Warde coach Ryan Swaller said of taking home the trophy. “This is for all the guys who have built this program up over the seven years from coach Walter Fitzgerald (passed away after the 2010 season from Brain Cancer) to now.”
The Warde defense stayed strong against the Lancers throughout the game holding them to only 12 points the first three periods and 13 in the fourth period. More importantly, the Mustangs offense from around the perimeter was spot on all night—Warde as a team sank nine three-point shots and Wright owned five of them with 79 points in the game.
“Wow, I didn’t even know I had that many,” Wright said he was told his stats. “I thought I only had three.”
The Lancers, still looking for their own first Fairfield holiday tournament win, didn’t make it easy for Warde. Arkel Miles, the Lancers big senior, led his team with 19 points and was followed by Dan Upchurch who had 11. However, they were the only two Lancers to reach double digit scoring as second half shooting woes plagued them.
“You’re being kind to say that,” Lancer coach Vin Laczkoski said after one reporter asked whether or not his team had poor shot selection in the second half. “We’re going to rebound from this though.”
Notre Dame will look to get back on track next week when they travel to Danbury to play Immaculate at 7 p.m. Fairfield Warde on the other hand can now look forward to going back to FCIAC competition.
“I think we might be scouted a little more,” Swaller said. “Beating these two teams gives us a lot more confidence in going against other FCIAC teams.”
Warde will test their new found confidence in an away game against Bridgeport Harding on Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Warde…13 10 16 13—52
ND……….12 12 12 13—49
Mike Wright: 17
Matt McTague: 13
Sal Siciliano: 11
Sam Martens: 4
Sebastian Brogan: 3
Joe Bartolemeo: 2
Greg Hyman: 2
Arkel Miles: 19
Daniel Upchurch: 11
Tre McPherson: 5
Earl Coleman: 4
CJ Davidson: 4
Donte Peeler: 2
(FW) Matt McTague—3
(ND) Dan Upchurch—2
(FW) Sam Martens—1
(ND) Tre McPherson—1