Trailing TMT Norwalk 29-21 with less than three minutes to play, things looked bleak for the New Canaan fifth grade boys red team.

TMT seemed content and able to play keep-away for the balance of the game, one that saw a third quarter three-point New Canaan lead evaporate.

New Canaan had other ideas, as two baskets by Chris McLallen and one by Ryan Connelly pulled New Canaan to within 29-27 with 5.3 seconds left in the game. After a New Canaan timeout, Norwalk was charged with a five-second violation, giving New Canaan head coach Felix Belgrove one chance to tie or win the game.

After calling his last timeout, Belgrove drew up the play and New Canaan executed it to perfection, as McLallen—who scored a team-high 10 points in the game—was left open in the corner for a potential game-winning three-pointer, one that seemed to be destined to send New Canaan to their first win of the season from the moment it left McLallen’s fingertips.

Destiny, however, was not on New Canaan’s side on Sunday night. McLallen’s shot rimmed out, and Norwalk grabbed the rebound, preserving a dramatic, heart-stopping 29-27 win for TMT.

New Canaan started the game cold from the floor, missing its first five shots and falling behind 3-0 early in the first quarter. A turnaround jumper from Travis Sturcke got the Red 5’s on the board, and a put-back layup from Ryan Tonghini pulled New Canaan to within 1 point at the close of the 1st. Excellent play on both ends of the floor from point guards Connor O’Donnell (2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Connelly (2 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals) kept New Canaan within striking distance of TMT throughout the opening stanza.

Despite baskets from Tonghini and O’Donnell, TMT opened things up in the second, building a 13-7 lead at the midway point. Solid defensive play from Jerome Roscoe (3 rebounds, 1 steal) and Colin Tiscornia (3 rebounds, 1 assist) helped New Canaan eventually turn the momentum, as McLallen would hit two baskets and a free throw to cut the Norwalk lead to 13-12 with 1:38 left in the second quarter. TMT hit the last two shots of the quarter to take a 17-12 lead into the half.

New Canaan’s defense flexed its muscled after the intermission, as their zone defense gave Norwalk fits, holding them to a single point in the third. Matt Salmini (2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Tonghini (2 points, team-high 8 rebounds) and Bear Morris (4 rebounds, steal) controlled the glass for New Canaan as the Red 5’s on an 8-0 run to take the lead. Baskets on consecutive possessions by Sturcke (6 points, 5 rebounds), Cooper Dinan (2 points, 4 rebounds) and Salmini gave New Canaan its first lead of the game, 18-17, with 3:20 left in the third. Another Sturcke hoop extended New Canaan’s lead to 20-17, until TMT was finally able to stop the bleeding with a lone free throw to end the third quarter scoring, and pull to within 20-18.

An 11-1 TMT run would give Norwalk a 29-21, setting up New Canaan’s comeback that ultimately fell inches short of completion.