(Westport) The Ridgefield Tigers built up a 49-33 lead with three minutes left and then had to hold on for dear life to defeat the Newtown Nighthawks, 55-49, in the opening round of the Holiday Tournament at Spaulding High School on Monday night.
Hitting the long ones in the final quarter triggered the Newtown comeback as they cashed in on six of them. Josh Engler’s second of three treys brought the Nighthawks to 50-46 with 1:15 to go. Unfortunately, for Newtown, they missed three of their last four attempts, the rest of the way, or they might have stolen this one. No question, though, the Nighthawks did make things very interesting down the stretch.
Doug Delbene (23 points) had a 12-point second period that pushed the Tigers to a 10-point lead (24-14). He was huge in crunch time with two free throws, a layup on an inbounds play, and forcing a turnover, all in the last minute.
Dan Lynch and Josh Engler each had 15 points for Newtown.
John Taglieferri (19 points) dominated the boards for the Tigers and made six baskets from in close. He was a bad matchup for the Tigers all game long.
The tempo was fast throughout with plenty of full-court pressure to deal with. There were a lot fewer whistles than the action may have warranted and turnovers were abundant – 23 for Newtown and 18 for Ridgefield.
The burst of offense in the fourth period was surprising after a 34-27 score after three periods. Fatigue defensively on Ridgefield’s part led to some wide-open Newtown 3-point looks late in the game six of which they connected on.
(All stats are unofficial.)