Fairfield Prep holds off Ludlowe
Fairfield Ludlowe tried its best to ruin Fairfield Prep’s party, but Connor Peterson could not beat the buzzer with a put-back attempt and the Jesuits survived with a 57-56 win in the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic consolation game Friday evening at Fairfield University’s Alumni Hall.
Fairfield Prep (5-1), which suffered its first loss of the season in the opening round against eventual tournament champion Fairfield Warde, led by 14 points in the third quarter and had a 57-52 lead with 53 seconds left in the fourth.
But Prep senior standout Terry Tarpey (30 points) was forced to the bench with an ankle injury with a minute left, leaving plenty of open space for the Falcons (1-4) to make a furious comeback.
Senior Mark Cerulli scored to pull Ludlowe to within 57-54 after Prep was called for a five-second violation under its own basket.
Peterson (19 points) came up with a steal on the ensuing inbounds pass and hit two free throws after being fouled to make it 57-56 with 13.7 seconds remaining.
Prep sophomore Dave Zielinski threw the next inbounds pass out of bounds in the face of some tough pressure by the Falcons, giving Ludlowe the ball with a chance to win or tie.
Ludlowe tried to set up a shot for Cerulli on the outside, but Prep denied it. Senior Justin Berardino (19 points) finally got off a shot from just inside the arc on the left side, but the ball bounced off the rim.
Peterson was right there to grab the rebound, but instead of tipping it back toward the basket in one motion, caught the ball, landed on his feet and then attempted a putback. The ball found eventually found its way through the netting, but not before the final horn sounded.
With four underclassmen among the eight regular players, Prep felt fortunate to escape with the victory.
“If you look at all the turnovers were making in the fourth quarter, it was our sophomores and freshmen who were making them and no one else. We’re playing a lot of kids who have never been out there before,” Prep head coach Leo Redgate said. “We’re very young, so every game is a learning experience. I’m not so concerned with wins and losses right now as long as we continue to improve. To me, it’s all about building for the future and how hard we’re playing at the end of the year.”
Initially, Redgate was reporting that Tarpey would miss at least three weeks with his injury, sustained while going for a rebound. But Tarpey’s return appeared more promising as he walked out to center court to accept his award as a member of the All-Tournament team.
Either way, Redgate is confident his team can continue its winning ways.
“You never want to see your best player get hurt, but this happens in sports,” he said. “On the positive side, this is an opportunity for some of the younger kids to show what they cane do.”
Tarpey scored a game-high 30 points, including a 10-for-11 effort from the foul line. No one else scored over six points for the Jesuits.
Ludlowe’s Berardino was also named to the All-Tournament team along with Arkel Miles and Daniel Upchurch of Notre Dame and Matt McTague and Michael Wright of Warde. Wright was the tournament MVP.