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Norwalk Falls Short Against Stamford

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk High’s boys basketball team suffered a devastating blow to its chances of reaching the league playoffs Tuesday with a 64-56 road loss to Stamford High.

The Bears slipped to 9-7 overall and 7-7 in the conference. Norwalk entered the game in ninth place in the chase for one of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s eight playoff berths.

Norwalk trailed by 16 points in the third quarter, 46-30, but rallied at the start of the fourth. The Bears scored eight straight points and trailed 50-47 with 6:21 remaining. They trimmed the lead to 52-50 on a three-pointer by Jabari Dear with 5:42 remaining.

That was as close as the Bears would get, however, and they managed just three field goals in the final 4:38. Dear scored 16 points to lead Norwalk, and Delshawn Wilson added 10.

“We’re inexperienced at winning games like this,’’ coach Tom Keyes said. “We’re going to keep working hard.”

Norwalk was hurt by the absence of center Saeed Soulemane, who missed the game for undisclosed reasons. The Bears missed Soulemane on the inside, especially with his rebounding. Kwazee Rice, another inside force for Norwalk, also sat out with a knee injury.

“We wanted to press, but a short bench really hurts you,’’ Keyes said. “When you sign up to play for the varsity, we need to be able to count on you for the big games. We’re disappointed we couldn’t get a win in this one.”

Some of Norwalk’s usual top scorers struggled. Rasheen Thompson, the leading scorer, recorded only six points. Freshman Roy Kane Jr. managed just five, and Ra’Von Shular also had five. Norwalk attempted just four free throws.

“Their man-to-man was very good and they mixed in some other defenses,’’ Keyes said. “We didn’t have an inside presence as much as we would’ve liked, and I think that’s where we had an advantage against them.”

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