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Gutierrez nails shot

Patrick Gutierrez (15) scored 18 points, including the game-winning shot at the buzzer, when Fairfield Ludlowe defeated Staples of Westport, 32-30, on Thursday night. (Photo by Bill Bloxsom)

Patrick Gutierrez knocked down a buzzer-beating basket from the baseline and coach Brian Silvestro’s Fairfield Ludlowe boys basketball team defeated Staples of Westport, 32-30, in Fairfield on Thursday night.
Gutierrez’s bucket came after Ludlowe inbounded the ball with nine seconds left in regulation and Danny Santella reversed his dribble to create space and found him open on the left wing.
Gutierrez, who scored 18 points, took the ball to the baseline, where he stepped back and swished the net from 12-feet out over the outstretched hand of Staples’ Pete Rankowitz.
“Pete is a good friend of mine and he had his hand in my face, but I just got clear enough to get the shot off,” said Gutierrez, who is counted on to do much of the Ludlowe scoring with Connor Peterson sidelined with a calf sprain.
“It was a team effort. Darren Lee is a sophomore and came in for Connor and responded well.”
To win for the fourth time in nine starts, Ludlowe had to find a way to outpoint Staples’ James Frusciante, who tallied 26 of his team’s 30 points, including a reverse layup with 3:26 remaining.
That gave Staples a 27-26 lead, its first since Frusciante buried a 3-pointer to open the game.
“We didn’t have one player to guard him, and we went with the 2-3 zone because we didn’t match up with them one-on-one,” Silvestro said.
“It wasn’t Nolan Richardson’s 40 minutes of hell  (at Arkansas), but we didn’t sit back in the zone. We challenged the shooters and then recovered and reset
“We wanted to get the ball to Patrick, but doing it was a problem. Danny made the pass and Patrick used his length to get the shot off.”
See the next edition of the Sun to read about the unsung heroes who made the victory possible.

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