Wolf dominant as Greenwich exacts revenge on Tigers with 49-45 victory

In a hotly contested battle of wills, the undefeated Greenwich High boys basketball team had one big advantage on Tuesday night against Ridgefield.

Center Alex Wolf.

The 6’10” Wolf scored a game-high 20 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and blocked numerous shots, leading the Cardinals to a 49-45 victory over host Ridgefield.

“Wolf’s triple-double can only be described as a monstrous game,” Greenwich High School head coach Bill Brehm said.

With the victory, Greenwich remained unbeaten this season with a 7-0 record. Tuesday’s game was the second straight loss for the Tigers, who are now 5-2 overall this season. Big Red also exacted revenge on Ridgefield, who beat Greenwich last year in the opening round of the class LL tournament to end their season.

“We have had a lot of trouble with Ridgefield as of late,” Brehm said. “Getting the ‘W’ yesterday was a very gratifying win. The Tiger man-defense did a nice job on CJ Byrd and Alex stepped up big. John Palmer shut down their best shooter (Matt) Brennan and we out-hustled them in the fourth quarter.

The game was intense throughout as neither team had a lead larger than six points. Greenwich jumped out quickly to leads of 7-1 and 9-4, but the Tigers eventually woke up and responded by ending the first quarter on a 10-4 run that had them ahead, 14-13, at the end of the first quarter.

Ridgefield continued to play well in the second quarter, with forwards Matt Bartolucci and Patrick Racy each netting four points and the backcourt combination of Matt Brennan and Charlie Irwin playing good defense on Greenwich guards CJ Byrd and John Palmer. The Tigers led by a score of 24-20 at the half.

Most of Greenwich’s offense in the first half ran through Wolf. The big man not only had a size advantage on the 6’7” Racy in the post, but unlike some other forwards, he decided to use that size discrepancy to his advantage.

Whenever Ridgefield had the pressure on and seemed to be taking control, one of the Greenwich players was able to find Wolf in the post, and he would almost always finish with a bucket inside.

“I thought our guys played as well as they could on defense tonight,” said Ridgefield head coach Andrew McClellan. “Especially when you consider the match-up problem he (Wolf) is, for anyone in the state.”

The third quarter really highlighted Wolf’s dominance. He had eight points in the period on four-of-five shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Three of those boards were on the offensive glass.

But Wolf was not really the story in the game’s pivotal moments.

Ridgefield and Greenwich traded leads early in the fourth quarter, as Racy (15 points) was feeling it from mid-range and knocked down three straight jumpers from 15 feet to give the Tigers a 40-39 lead. Then, Bartolucci, a sophomore, grabbed a big defensive rebound, ran the floor, and eventually got the ball in the paint, where he was able to draw contact and finish for a basket and foul. When he made the free throw, it not only gave him a career-high nine points but also gave the Tigers a 43-39 lead.

“Racy had some great moments on offense,” said McClellan. “With Matt (Bartolucci), you can clearly see his maturation every time he takes the court. He is the hardest worker on our team during practices and it really has paid off in the last couple of games.”

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Greenwich took over after that and ended the game on a 10-2 run. Griffin Golden’s three-pointer put the Cardinals ahead, 44-43, and the visitors then hit some free throws to take a 49-43 lead. The Tigers’ last points came on a shot at the buzzer by Irwin.

“This was a tough loss for us,” said McClellan. “I thought our poise and confidence left us late in the fourth and we just played like we were hoping for them to lose the game. However, I hope that we can learn from this and move on.”

Notes: Irwin finished with 12 points for Ridgefield and Brennan had six. Byrd contributed 12 points for Greenwich, and Tom Povinelli had nine.

Please note: Greenwich Post sports editor Paul Silverfarb contributed to the article

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress