Boys hoop: Ridgefield rallies to knock off Central

Some comebacks begin inauspiciously.

With Ridgefield trailing host Bridgeport Central by 10 points early in the third quarter of Wednesday night's boys basketball game, Chris Longo drove down the middle for a layup that cut the Tigers' deficit to 33-25.

After that, Ridgefield scored all but 11 of the game's final 44 points to rally for a 58-44 victory over Central.

The strong second half was a stark contrast to the opening two quarters, in which the Tigers struggled to score and rebound. Central used a number of second-chance opportunities to lead 12-7 through one period and 29-23 at halftime.

"I didn't think anything worked [in the first half]. I didn't think we were focused; I didn't think we played inspired; I didn't think we played together," said Ridgefield head coach Andrew McClellan, whose team is now 7-5 overall this season. "Thankfully, [Central] didn't shoot well from the outside so the game was always within reach. And then as soon as we started to play even decent, then we pulled away."

Following Longo's layup, center Nick Laudati added a put-back to get Ridgefield within six points, 33-27, with 5:38 left in the third quarter. After a couple of missed shots by both teams, Central's Jordon Edmonds stole the ball at half court and took it all the way for an uncontested layup. Longo then was fouled on a layup and converted both free throws to make it 35-29 with 4:12 left in the quarter.

Longo drove baseline and hit a nifty reverse layup to bring Ridgefield within 35-31, and Ryan Malley then sank a jumper from the right side of the foul line to trim Central's lead to two points.

On Central's ensuing possession, Malley stole the ball at halfcourt and passed to Longo for an easy, wide-open layup that tied the game at 35-35 with 1:55 to go in the third. Ridgefield then outscored Central, 23-9, the rest of the way.

"We just executed a lot better than we did in the first half," said senior guard Joe Newborn, who led the Tigers with 13 points, including 10 in the second half. "It all kind of revolves around [the seniors]. When we're scoring then everyone gets more confident and it leads to everyone scoring, too."

Longo and Laudati each added 10 points for Ridgefield. Alex Price finished with eight points, while James St. Pierre had seven points and Zach Esemplare scored six points.

Press Sports Reporter Rich Kaufman contributed to this story.