Stamford routs Rams
STAMFORD — It was fitting that as time expired Stamford’s Jay DeVito stole a New Canaan pass and calmly finger-rolled his 22nd point into the basket.
After all, DeVito’s scored 16 of his team’s 20 first half points, just missing New Canaan’s total by a point though two quarters.
It was, however, when the heat was off DeVito and the offense opened up that Stamford was able to pull away, beating the Rams 52-35 at home Tuesday night.
“We struggled in the first half, obviously Jay carried us,” Stamford coach Danny Melzer said after his team led by only three at the half. “He shot the ball really well from the outside, he was reading screens well, for whatever reason we got off to a slow start. New Canaan came ready to play I was very impressed with them, their effort — they played really good defense.”
Melzer made several adjustments at the half, including switching from a man-to-man defense to a zone, trying to limit the Rams’ (1-4, 0-1) attack.
“We made a couple of adjustments at halftime and those worked out,” Melzer said. “We went to a zone the second half which we hadn’t all year — I think they scored only two or four points on our zone in eight minutes; that was crucial for us. But it was a hard-fought victory, I’m proud of the guys.”
Around the time Stamford (4-1, 1-0) started making its run New Canaan’s Kyle Smith exited the game with shoulder injury when he knocked away a pass. Those two events, in Ram coach Mike Evans’ mind, were very much related.
“That’s not coincidence,” Evans said of Stamford gaining momentum following the departure of New Canaan’s do-it-all senior. “Kyle has endless energy and he’s a warrior — his shoulder popped out and he refused the trainer — so no it’s not coincidental, guys follow his physical lead; he’s quiet but he’s loud in action.”
Once the Stamford defense started getting stops the offense opened up outside of DeVito. Backcourtmate Yan Carlos Marte scored five quick points in the third and the Black Knight post-players were able to find easy looks with the Rams’ focus on their guards.
“We need contributions from everybody,” Melzer said. “We need our bigs; they are crucial to this team, they’re a work in progress, a lot of them are getting acclimated to varsity basketball but they had a big presence and a bunch of rebounds when we needed them to. We’re still working, a lot of us are brand new to varsity basketball, so it’s a work in progress but I’m happy so far.”
Being a work in progress is something Evans knows a little about. His biggest goal is to shed the losing mentality that has come with New Canaan basketball, and while his team was on the short end Tuesday he’s willing to settle for the moral implications.
“The guys didn’t come into an outside environment like this and back down,” Evans said. “It’s a win for New Canaan in a way; I’m not a moral victory guy, but in my position you have to be.”
STAMFORD 52, NEW CANAAN 35
NEW CANAAN (1-4, 0-1)
Nick Crovatto 1 2-2 4 Brian MacCalla 1 0-0 2 Tyler Sweeney 4 1-2 10 Austin Bell 1 0-0 3 Mike Svagdis 0 1-2 1 Kyle Smith 3 1-1 7 Jack Havard 0 4-4 4 Jackson Selvala 1 2-2 4. Totals: 11 11-13 35.
STAMFORD (4-1, 1-0)
Nico Laveris 5 0-0 12 Jay DeVito 8 4-5 22 Yan Carlos Marte 1 3-4 5 Tevin St. John 4 1-2 9 Nii Pobee 2 0-0 4. Totals: 20 8-11 52.
NEW CANAAN 8 9 7 11—35
STAMFORD 11 9 16 16—52
3-pointers: NC—Sweeney, Bell; S—Laveris 2, DeVito 2.