NORWALK -- It certainly wasn't pretty, but the Brien McMahon boys basketball team finally found its way into the win column, scratching its way to a 53-51 victory over equally-struggling New Canaan Friday night at the Mary Kehoe-Ralph King Gymnasium.

Sophomore Larry McKinney scored 10 points, including a 6-for-10 effort from the foul line, pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds and also had three assists for McMahon, which improved to 1-6 overall.

McMahon out-scored New Canaan 14-6 in the second quarter to take a 25-15 lead and never trailed after that, holding off a late charge by the Rams (1-6) with a solid effort from the foul line.

"It's wonderful," McMahon head coach Mo Tomlin said. "It always feels good to get the first one out of the way."

New Canaan, a young team still trying to find its way following a coaching change during the off-season, received a standout performance by sophomore guard Willie Burger, who poured in a game-high 27 points while nailing four 3-pointers.

But that was the extend of New Canaan's offense with just one other player -- senior Nick Dupuy (eight points, 13 rebounds) -- making any kind of contribution.

The Rams also hurt themselves with 25 turnovers, a good number of which came on offensive fouls and traveling violations, and suffered through a dreadful night on the foul line, going just 3-for-15.

"That's been the story of our season," said New Canaan's first-year head coach Mike Halley, who took over following the retirement of longtime coach Jeff Bussey. "The free throws killed us tonight. At any level of basketball, from AAU to the pros, it's all about making layups and free throws. We didn't do either one well tonight."

McMahon experienced the opposite sensation. The Senators hit just five field goals in the fourth quarter, but made up for it at the line by hitting on 9 of 15 from the stripe.

McMahon might have even won the game at the line, going 18-for-30 on the night.

"That was good to see because we've been terrible at the line over the past few games," Tomlin said. "New Canaan definitely could have won this if we didn't hit our foul shots. We've been working on them, and just discussing the mental aspect of the game."

Unlike New Canaan, the Senators also showed great balance offensively, getting points from all nine players and double figures from McKinney, Timmy Hinton (11 points) and Jimmy Martinez (10 points), who scored on a key inside basket off an inside feed from McKinney to put the Senators up 47-43 after Burger hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night.

"That's how you get Ws in this league," Tomlin said.

McMahon's press defense, led by junior Andy Mitchell (three steals, three assists), forced 11 turnovers in the second quarter when the Senators built their lead.

"Every one of the games we've been in this year, which has been every one except for two, our defense has proved itself," Tomlin said. "Our defense has been the most consistent part of our team. We're small, but we're quick and aggressive, and that helps."

New Canaan used a 12-2 run to start the second half to tie the game 27-27. Burger scored seven of those, including one of his 3-pointers.

Dupuy, who helped get New Canaan back in the game in the second half with strong work on the defensive glass, hit a spinning layup off a pass by Connor Kilbane (four rebounds, four assists) to tie it again at 35-35 with 6:40 left. But McMahon responded with a 6-0 run, including five points by Hinton, to take a 43-38 lead and hung on down the stretch with its foul shooting.

McMahon led 53-48 with 16 seconds left before Claude Chardonnet hit a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.

McMahon 53, New Canaan 51

NEW CANAAN (1-6)

Connor Kilbane 1 0-0 2; Nick Depuy 4 0-6 8; Andrew Read 1 2-3 4; Chris DeWaele 1 0-0 2; Willie Burger 11 1-6 27; Claude Chardonnet 2 0-0 5; Henry Lavieri 1 0-0 3; Peter McAleer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 3-15 51.

McMAHON (1-6)

Larry McKinney 3 6-10 12; Darkym Stroud 1 2-4 4; Timmy Hinton 4 3-4 11; Shakah Moore 2 0-0 4; Andy Mitchell 2 2-3 6; Jimmy Martinez 3 4-7 10; Kyle Jordan 1 1-2 3; Zack O'Connor 1 0-0 2; Justin Walker 1 0-0 2.

NEW CANAAN 9 6 16 20--51

MCMAHON 11 14 8 20--53

3-point FG: NC-Burger 4, Chardonnet, Lavieri; Fouled out: NC-Depuy; BM-Hinton.

Records: New Canaan 1-6, McMahon 1-6.