Day owns night: McMahon guard hits three, sinks Ridgefield

Eric Day spoiled the comeback.

Day's three-pointer with nine seconds to play provided the winning margin as the Brien McMahon boys basketball team turned back Ridgefield, 44-43, on Friday night in Norwalk.

Down 40-33 with under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers rallied to take a 43-41 lead on Joe Newborn's three-pointer with 1:20 remaining. Neither team scored again until Day drilled his go-ahead trey to put McMahon in front by one point. Following a timeout, Ridgefield was unable to get off a shot before time expired.

"They out-executed us down the stretch," said Ridgefield head coach Andrew McClellan, whose team is now 6-5 overall this season. "They did not out-play us, they did not out-grind us, but they out-executed us."

McMahon entered the final quarter with a 38-32 lead and was ahead 40-33 with 5:30 left before the Tigers started their comeback. Newborn drove to the basket and was fouled. He hit the first free throw and missed the second, but Nick Laudati grabbed the offensive rebound and scored to make it 40-36.

On McMahon's ensuing possession, Chris Longo stole a pass and took it the length of the court for a layup that whittled Ridgefield's deficit to 40-38 with five minutes left.

After both teams missed three-pointers and McMahon added a free throw, the Senators turned the ball over on a double-dribble. Off an inbound play, Zach Esemplare threw a pass to Laudati under the hoop for a layup that made it 41-40 with 2:38 to go.

McMahon then sat on the ball and ultimately missed a shot. Ridgefield came down and Newborn buried a three from the left elbow with 1:20 left to put the Tigers ahead, 43-41 — their first lead since a 14-12 advantage two minutes into the second quarter.

McMahon missed a three-pointer and Ridgefield grabbed the rebound and chewed some clock. James St. Pierre was fouled but missed both free throws, and McMahon wrestled the rebound away from Ridgefield with about 20 seconds left.

Following a timeout, Day then hit the three-pointer that gave McMahon a 44-43 lead with nine seconds remaining. On Ridgefield's final possession, Newborn drove down the middle and kicked a pass out to Longo, who was well defended as he drove the baseline. Longo tried to get rid of the ball, but McMahon was able to corral it as time expired.

"I thought we were going to do it," said Laudati, who led Ridgefield with 18 points. "We haven't really been able to come back from a lead at all this year. I think this is the first game that we really kept fighting and didn't give up. It's just devastating to have that shot go in at the end."

Longo added eight points for the Tigers. Newborn contributed seven points and Esemplare and Alex Price each had five points.

Press Sports Reporter Rich Kaufman contributed to this story.