Jesuits defeat Lancers to capture Classic

The Jesuits' Dave Zielinski (11-right) was the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic MVP��. (Photo by David G. Whitham)

The Jesuits’ Dave Zielinski (11-right) was the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic MVP.
(Photo by David G. Whitham)

The top-ranked Fairfield Prep basketball team held on to its standing by winning its Holiday Classic at Alumni Hall.
Coach Leo Redgate’s Jesuits improved to 4-0 on the season and did it with balanced scoring and tough defense.
Prep defeated Notre Dame of Fairfield, 83-52, in the final on Dec. 28.
Dave Zielinski scored 18 points versus the Lancers to earn tourney MVP honors.
Prep had opened the Classic with a 109-64 victory over Fairfield Warde on Dec. 27.
Tommy Nolan, who earned a spot on the all-tourney team, led five Jesuits who scored in double figures with 21 markers. Ryan Murphy scored 19 points, Paschal Chukwu 14, Ryan Foley 14 and Keith Pettway 13.
The ability to score from anywhere on the court, and to put the ball in the hands of multiple players to do so, makes defending Prep a nightmare.
The Jesuits opened their season with a pair of Southern Connecticut Conference victories — 75-42 over Branford High and 87-59 over Amity of Woodbridge.
They did this without Chukwu, their 7-2 Providence College-bound center who was resting an injury.
In the Classic final, the Jesuits blazed to a 25-8 first quarter lead. The score was 53-20 at the half, and six Jesuits scored in double figures and 11-of-14 players who took the court found their way into the scorebook.
Zielinski, a senior co-captain, knocked down four 3-pointers. Ray Featherston (11 points), a junior guard, and Pettway (10 points), a senior guard, had two buckets each from long range. Chukwu and sophomore backcourt ace Murphy had 11 points apiece. Nolan, a junior guard, scored 10.
Coach Vin Laczkoski’s Lancers (1-3) were led by all-tourney selections Jaylen Jennings and C.J. Davidson.
Jennings, a senior forward and co-captain, scored 21 points and Davidson, a junior guard, seven.
In its tourney opener, the Lancers came back from a 43-39 deficit after three quarters to defeat Fairfield Ludlowe 56-52.
Jennings scored 17 points, junior forward Jake Heaton 13, Davidson eight and Jordan Pettway and Joseph Cantey made three-point baskets.
Ludlowe (1-3) rallied after trailing 16-11 after one period to play Notre Dame even (13-13) in the second quarter, and then put together a 16-8 run in the third stanza.
Mark Malone, who was an all-tourney choice, scored 17 points to lead coach John Dailey’s Falcons.
The senior co-captain hit three shots from beyond the arc, and junior Matt Doyle and junior Darren Lee also made 3-pointers.
Doyle finished with 15 points and freshman Hayes Kelchner scored six.
Coach Ryan Swaller’s Warde (1-3) team bounced back from its loss to Prep to knock off Ludlowe, 60-50, in the consolation game.
Ludlowe took a 13-9 lead at the first break, and it was 30-27 Warde at the half.
Ludlowe won the third period, 15-12, to close within 42-38 with eight minutes to play.
Giancomo Brancato, a sophomore, scored 16 points and was 8-for-9 from the foul line to lead Warde.
The Mustangs were 15-of-17 from the stripe with Nick Cotto perfect in five attempts to finish with 10 points.
Brandon Bisack made a trio of 3-pointers, Chris Smaldone had two treys, and Mike Pehota and Cotto one each.
Cotto was named all-tourney.
Ludlowe was led by Lee, who had 15 points, with three treys, Malone with 12 points and Chad Peterson with eight.
In Warde’s loss to Prep, Cotto scored 18 points, Brancato 17, Bisack 10 and Kavon Polk seven. Cotto, Terrance Walken and Bisack made 3-pointers and Cotto was 5-for-6 from the foul line.
What’s next
Fairfield Prep will take on second-ranked Hillhouse High of New Haven at Alumni Hall on Friday, Jan. 3, at 7 p.m. The Jesuits play host to Notre Dame of West Haven Tuesday at 7. Notre Dame will host Stratford High on Tuesday at the Reilly Auditorium at 7.
Warde will play host to Greenwich on Friday and Darien on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Ludlowe will visit Trumbull High Friday at 7 p.m.

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