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Scrappy Norwalk High Falls to St. Joseph

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk High School’s boys basketball team pushed undefeated St. Joseph to the brink Wednesday before falling short, 50-45, in a Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference game in Norwalk.

The Cadets closed the game on a 9-0 run to slip past the Bears, who led for almost the entire second half. St. Joseph improved to 13-0 overall and 11-0 in the league, while Norwalk fell to 8-6, 6-6.

“My guys don’t have too much experience in winning games like this,’’ Norwalk coach Tom Keyes said. “Maybe we’ll learn from this, and we’ll get another shot at St. Joseph or a team like St. Joseph at the end of the month, and we’ll learn how to close out a tight game.”

Rasheen Thompson scored 13, all in the second half, to lead the Bears. Ra’Von Shular added 10, while Saeed Soulemane added eight and Roy Kane Jr. had seven. Timajh Parker scored 12 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, for St. Joseph.

Norwalk led 45-41 after Kane completed a three-point play with 3:37 to play. St. Joseph turned the ball over and Norwalk missed an opportunity to convert. St. Joseph's Patrick Hopkins scored on an offensive rebound, and Jonathan Dzurenzd tied it with two free throws with 2:31 left. Parker’s putback with 1:20 left gave St. Joseph the lead for good.

In a recurring theme, Norwalk went cold from the floor in the final three minutes, missing six straight shots. Trailing 48-45 with 10 seconds remaining, Thompson’s deep three-point attempt missed the mark. Parker grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws with 6.0 seconds left to ice it.

Norwalk made seven three-pointers but missed a ton of easy shots, hitting just 38 percent from the floor. “These kids can make those shots,’’ Keyes said. “Sometimes you miss shots, but we still played pretty good defense. If we didn’t play good defense tonight, we would’ve lost by 25.”

Both teams struggled to find offensive continuity. Thompson stepped up big for Norwalk in the second half, scoring seven straight points to give Norwalk its biggest lead, 31-24, midway through the third quarter. But Norwalk managed just one more field the rest of the quarter, and Parker came alive in the fourth to carry the Cadets to victory.

“We felt before the game we could play with teams like St. Joe,’’ Keyes said. “We just need to stay focused and stay positive and continue to work hard.”

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