Knachel (24 points) helps Ridgefield top Greenwich
After seeing its 13-point halftime lead cut to seven points midway through the third quarter, the Ridgefield boys basketball team methodically widened its advantage to register an impressive road win over Greenwich on Friday night.
“That is the word that we use in the locker room,” said Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan following his team’s 65-45 victory. “We needed to methodically stack possessions together. That is the goal, when you coach high school boys basketball; you want to get them to be as consistent as possible.”
Forwards Chris Knachel and Matt DeLuca helped the Tigers pull away in the fourth quarter. Knachel scored a game-high 24 points, while DeLuca added six points and solid rebounding as Ridgefield improved its record to 3-1.
Knachel scored 15 of his points during the second half for the Tigers, who also received 10 points from James Rush, eight from Johnny Briody and seven from Amos Grey.
Ridgefield led 11-10 after the first quarter, before building a 31-18 halftime advantage. Greenwich (1-3) was paced by 22 points from guard Chris Genaro, who made two 3-pointers.
“It was a step forward,” GHS coach Chris Lovermi said. “Ridgefield is a good team, a well-disciplined team, and has seen success in past seasons. Effort-wise, we were right there. It comes down to discipline and limiting mistakes and they were a little more disciplined and that was the difference.”
A free throw and a layup from Genaro cut Ridgefield’s lead to 37-29 with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter. But two foul shots by DeLuca were followed by Matthew Knachel’s layup off a steal, putting the Tigers ahead 42-31 with 1:25 to go in the period. Chris Knachel’s layup with 1.9 seconds left boosted Ridgefield’s lead to 44-31 going into the final eight minutes.
Chris Knachel then added eight points in the fourth quarter for the Tigers, who played solid man-to-man defense throughout.
“It really starts on the defensive end for us,” said Chris Knachel. “Getting stops and when we get stops, we can run out on the break. That is where the energy comes from and once we get going, we are hard to stop. Overall, it was a great defensive effort for our team.”
Said McClellan: “We talk about 32 minutes of defense and making it hard on them. Road FCIAC games are always tough to play. Greenwich always plays really hard and we were worried about their offensive rebounding and aggressiveness. I thought we stayed with the game plan and received multiple efforts on defense.”