Last season, the Fairfield Ludlowe boys basketball team got ushered out of Alumni Hall with an 0-2 record at the Fairfield Prep Holiday Classic.
Obviously, the Falcons were intent on making amends, using solid performances by seniors Patrick Gutierrez and Conor Peterson and a dominant fourth quarter to post a 55-39 victory over rival Fairfield Ludlowe Friday night in the Holiday Classic consolation game.
Gutierrez scored 15 points to go along with nine rebounds and three assists while Peterson scored a game-high 17 points with eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the Falcons (3-3), who suffered a 65-35 setback against Fairfield Prep in the first round.
Ludlowe led 38-32 after three quarters, then out-scored Warde 17-7 in the final frame. Gutierrez scored five straight points as Ludlowe opened the fourth on a 9-0 run to take a 47-32 lead. Gutierrez hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key then picked off a pass on Warde’s next trip down the court, turning into a fast-break slam dunk with 7:10 left.
Warde (1-5), which lost to Notre Dame of Fairfield 70-62 in the first round, never really threatened after that.
Warde will have a chance for revenge when the two teams meet again on January 29 in FCIAC play.
“It’s pretty nice to get a win against Warde,” Gutierrez said. “This gives us a chance to beat them twice in one season.”
Ludlowe’s defense forced 16 Warde turnovers, including six in the fourth quarter. The Falcons also took care of the ball on offense, giving it away just eight times.
“We played well as a team and played well together,” Gutierrez said. “We got a lead and we made sure we kept it.”
Max Garrett scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds while sophomore Mark Byrne added 10 points off the bench for Warde, who defeated Prep in the championship game last season on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Warde led 14-11 after the first quarter, but the Falcons opened the second on a 16-4 run to take a 27-18 lead. Senior Patrick Gutierrez scored four straight points to put the Falcons up 17-14 and junior guard Mark Malone (nine points) poured in seven straight later in the quarter, including the first 3-pointer of the game.
Garrett scored on a putback to make it 27-20 before Peterson connected on one of two foul shots for his ninth point of the first half.
Senior Stephen Sholz pulled down eight rebounds for Ludlowe and also scored six points. Junior Mike Pehota played an active game on defense for Warde with six rebounds and three steals.