Defensive-minded Ludlowe tops Ridgefield

FAIRFIELD -- Last season the focus for the Ludlowe boys basketball team was offense, offense and more offense.

After beating teams year in and year out with a suffocating D, last season the Falcons went on the offensive, literally, looking to run and gun with the best of them. But the formula didn't work as Ludlowe managed just five wins.

But now, armed with that old defensive mindset, the Falcons are once again stopping teams in their tracks -- and winning.

Sparked by 17 points from Matt Doyle, Ludlowe turned up the heat on defense and rolled to a 62-34 rout of Ridgefield Tuesday night.

"I think a big focus for us this season as opposed to last season is our defense," said senior forward Chad Peterson, who scored 12 points and added six rebounds. "Last year we focused on scoring more points and when we were looking to score more, we got away from that defensive mindset and we're trying to get back to that now. We were really focusing on the defensive aspect."

That defense basically won the game for the Falcons in the first half as Ludlowe held the Tigers to just four field goals and 10 points.

"We've been struggling with running offense all year long," said Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan. "We're not confident with the ball, we've been indecisive and we've been in a little bit of a rut where we're not sure of ourselves, but it was their defense that was the difference."

It was Doyle, who added seven assists and seven steals to his 17 points, who single-handedly outscored the Tigers (12 to 10) in the first half and then basically spent the final two quarters playing some of the best defense his coach, John Dailey, has seen him play.

"Matt was terrific," said Dailey. "He played defense tonight, which is something we've really been stressing with him. He put it all together tonight, which was great."

As did Peterson, who normally draws the assignment of defending the opposition's best player. Peterson limited Ridgefield's Will Brady to just five field goals and 14 points.

"Chad always plays lock-down defense and he always gets the team's best player and he guarded Brady terrifically tonight," said Dailey. "He really set the tone for the game and for our defense, which he always does."

Ridgefield, which lost its fifth in a row, fell to 1-7 overall (1-5 in the FCIAC), while the Falcons (4-2 FCIAC) won for the fifth time in eight games, matching its entire win total from last season.

"That's (Ludlowe) a well-coached team, a senior-laden team with lots of experience," said McClellan. "And the biggest difference to me, other than they were way better than us, is that they're a really confident team that knows exactly what they're trying to do and we're searching right now."


Cavan Brody 0 0-0 0, Will Brady 5 3-4 14, Christopher Longo 0 0-0 0, Matt Bartolucci 3 0-1 6, Matt Saporito 1 1-2 3, Nick Class 0 0-2 0, Alex Gabriele 0 0-0 0, Chase Levesque 3 0-0 6, James Hesemeyer 1 0-0 2, Luke Tiberio 1 0-1 2, J.T. Ahern 0 0-0 0, John Wisdom 0 1-2 1, Gus Michilli 0 0-0 0, J.P. O'Hare 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 5-12 34

LUDLOWE (5-3, 4-2)

Matt Doyle 7 0-0 17, Chad Peterson 4 4-5 12, Hayes Kelchner 5 2-2 12, Owen Mockler 2 0-0 4, Darren Lee 1 0-0 2, Thomas Duffy 1 0-0 3, Brendan Mockler 0 2-3 2, Chris Howell 1-1 3, Mason Rush 0 0-0 0, Tim Berardino 0 0-0 0, Aidan Kudzy 0 0-0 0, Frank Lumaj 0 0-1 0, Greg Lawrence 1 0-0 2, Cole Prowitt-Smith 2 0-0 5. Totals: 24 9-12 62

RIDGEFIELD 4 6 14 10--34

LUDLOWE 11 14 24 13--62