NORWALK, Conn. — With the score tied in overtime and Norwalk High’s best inside player out with foul trouble, the Bears turned to senior captain Jabari Dear to deliver in Tuesday’s game against Staples. He didn’t disappoint.
Dear blocked a shot on the defensive end, then raced upcourt and hit a three-pointer to break a 70-70 tie and give the Bears the lead for good en route to a 84-75 win over the Wreckers. Norwalk improved to 3-0 while Staples slipped to 1-1.
Dear scored a career-high 28 points to lead the Bears. Saeed Soulemane scored 17, and Roy Kane added 15 before fouling out early in overtime. Peter Rankowitz scored 24 to lead Staples. James Frusciante scored 21.
Dear's three-pointer with 2:28 to play sparked a 9-2 run that put the game away. He had six points in overtime when the Bears outscored the Wreckers, 17-8.
Norwalk had the game in control late in regulation after Dear hit two free throws with 18.6 seconds left for a 67-64 lead. After a Staples miss, Norwalk’s Luke Sweeney had a chance to ice the game with 10 seconds left. He missed both free throws, however, and Rankowitz hit a three-pointer from 22 feet with a second remaining to send the game into overtime.
Norwalk built a 27-19 lead midway through the second quarter only to see Staples get within 29-26 at halftime. The Wreckers went on a 14-2 run to open a 40-31 lead with 4:24 left in the third quarter before Norwalk rallied to take a 48-46 lead entering the last quarter.
Norwalk visits Trinity Catholic on Friday in Stamford. It plays next week in the Masuk Holiday Tournament in Monroe on Wednesday and Friday.
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