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Norwalk Holds Off Greenwich in Defensive Battle

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk High boys basketball team has been looking to make a statement to the rest of the conference that the Bears are for real this season. They might finally have made it after handing Greenwich just its second loss of the season in a thrilling defensive battle, 45-36.

It was a night that saw each team grind out every point, shot, rebound and block – and a halftime score of just 19-15 in favor of Norwalk. The Bears finally pulled away in the fourth, finishing the game on an 11-0 run. The finish was an emphatic response to a Greenwich comeback after the Cardinals took a brief 30-29 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We try to prepare our team the best we can to win. We knew Greenwich was going to bring a tough zone defense and we felt we were ready,” Norwalk first-year head coach Tom Keyes said. “We just played straight-up man-to-man defense – nothing gimmicky or special. I hope this is a morale booster and I’m hoping this is something that gets the guys excited about playing defense the rest of the year.”

Greenwich’s zone defense slowed Norwalk’s speedy offense down, but the Bears were able to adapt. The Bears were not afraid to drive to the basket, owning points in the paint on the evening.

Rasheen Thompson led the charge, getting to the free throw line four times in the fourth quarter, making five foul shots. Thompson tied for a game-high 13 points and led the team with five assists.

Freshman Roy Kane Jr. continued to put up impressive numbers off the bench, also scoring 13 points – 11 of which came in the first quarter. Kane pulled down nine rebounds, a team-high.

Greenwich’s Alex McMurray scored nine straight points for the Cardinals from the third into the fourth quarter, but Norwalk finally slowed him down. Norwalk’s defense was rock-solid in the final minute, keeping Greenwich from taking any easy shots.

“We knew it was going to be a battle in the paint with Greenwich’s two big men [Sem Kroon and Greg Donlic]. They’re tough and we knew both teams would have to play good defense,” Thompson said. “This win is great, but we just have to keep moving forward — our season is nowhere near over — and play one game at a time.”

Norwalk (7-3) travels to Wilton on Thursday for a 7 p.m. game.

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest Main Street Connect coverage of Fairfield County sports. Like The Daily Norwalk on Facebook .

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