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TRUMBULL —St. Joseph found another way to pull out a victory when coach Kevin Wielk’s Cadets defeated New Canaan, 72-70, on Vito Montelli Court Monday night. St. Joe’s in now 10-2 overall and a league-leading 9-1 (with Ridgefield) in the FCIAC.

Paul Fabbri scored 30 points for St. Joe’s, which added this tight win to victories against Greenwich (52-51), Norwalk (65-63), Danbury (70-65) and McMahon (77-75).

“We’ve had them all season (close games),” said Fabbri, who added 7 assists and 3 steals. “Everyone is saying the scores are so close, but I think it will really help us in postseason play knowing how to win close games.

“With Jason (James: rolled ankle) out, everyone keeps playing. We had Derek (Long) come in off the bench. We had Tommy Shannon come in with a lift in the third quarter with a big three.”

The Cadets’ Jared Grindrod had 7 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Carson Arkay came off the bench and put together a 6 point, 6 rebound, 2 steal performance.

“We battle and just grind them out,” Wielk said. “That is the style we play with this year. I tell these guys all the time that you never know when your number is going to be called. I believe in all the guys. They all practice to be ready. Every one is prepared. We have good balance and we are deep. We are battle tested.”

The Rams (8-6, 5-5 FCIAC) played for the third consecutive game without high-scoring Alex Gibbens, who is out with an injury. New Canaan got to the midway point of the season with an 8-2 record, but coach Dan Melzer’s Rams lost decisions to Ridgefield and Ludlowe without Gibbens.

“I’m happy with the way we battled to the end,” Melzer said. “The way we battled up here, I’m proud. They could have packed it up but they didn’t. Our defense needs to improve. I was very happy with our offense. I thought we shared the ball well.”

Fabbri scored 8 points in the first quarter to help stake the Cadets to a 22-18 lead.

Christian Sweeney had 9 points in the period for the Rams.

St. Joseph took the score to 37-31 at the half. Fabbri had 7 markers. New Canaan’s Brandon Sechan and Blake Wilson divided 10 points.

The Cadets’ bench came up with a 3-pointer from Hadyn Gourley and a deuce from Derek Long on a turn-around jumper to get up by eight.

Wilson, a freshman. scored on a runner in the lane and a 3-pointer off a n Aaron Fishman assist to close the gap. Fishman kicked it out off a drobble drive to Sechan, who drilled a trey and it was 30-28 at the mdway point of the third quarter.

Fabbri scored the next 7 points for St. Joseph, with Sechan hitting a jay behind a screen from Henry Pohle. The Cadets led, 37-31 with one quarter to play.

Fabbri and Glenn Manigault scored four points each for St. Joe’s to open the frame.

Colin Russon drained three straight 3-pointers around a put back basket by Leo Magnus and it was 45-42 with four minutes remaining.

Sechan followed a blocked shot from Magnus with a 3-pointer off a feed by Russo and it was 47-45.

St. Joe’s responded. Long’s steal led to a breakaway basket by the sophomore and Shannon got after it with the bigs inside and scored on a put back to beat the buzzer for a 55-47 St. Joe’s advantage.

A junior guard, Shannon also scored 7 of the Cadets’ first 10 points in the final stanza, including a 3-pointer off an assist from Fabbri.

The 10-point lead with 4:27 to play vanished on Magnus’ strong dribble drive hoop and two treys from Sechan, the second after Russo drew a charging foul with 1:10 to go.

Fabbri made 6 straight free throws to negate a 3-pointer by Wilson and a brace of freebies by Pohle in the final 10 seconds.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Paul Fabbri scored 30 points for St. Joe’s. A senior captain, the 5-10 guard added 7 assists and had 3 steals. He was lights out from the foul line (8 for 10) in the final period to keep it a two-possession game.

QUOTABLE

“We have a bunch of tough kids on this team and that is why we are No. 1 in the FCIAC (with Ridgefield) right now.” — St. Joseph’s Paul Fabbri

DUST UP

St. Joseph’s Paul Fabbri and New Canaan’s Christian Sweeney hit the floor with 3:27 left in the third quarter. The battle for a loose ball resulted in technical fouls on Sweeney and the Cadets’ Hadyn Gourley.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354

ST. JOSEPH 72, NEW CANAAN 70

New Canaan (8-6, 5-5 FCIAC)

Brandon Sechan 7 0-1 19, Ryan McAleer 1 0-0 2, Colin Russo 5 0-0 13, Christian Sweeney 5 1-2 13, Leo Magnus 4 0-0 8, Aaron Fishman 0 0-0 0, Blake Wilson 3 0-0 8, Denis Mulcany 1 0-0 2, Steven Panzano 0 0-0 0, Jonathon Hall 1 0-0 2, Henry Pohle 0 3-4 3

Totals: 27 4-7 70

St. Joseph (10-2, 9-1 FCIAC)

Glenn Manigault 3 1-1 7, Jared Grindrod 3 1-2 7, Will Diamantis 2 2-2 6, Paul Fabbri 7 13-17 30, Brian Robertson 0 0-0 0, Tommy Shannon 4 0-0 9, Anthony Rainey 0 0-0 0, Derrick Long 2 0-2 4, Carson Arkay 2 2-3 6, Hadyn Gourley 1 0-0 3, Derrick Midy 0 0-0 0

Totals: 24 19-27 72

New Canaan - 18 13 16 23 - 70

St. Joseph - 22 15 18 17 - 72

Fouled Out: NC-Magnus

3-Pointers: NC-Sechan 5, Russo 3, Sweeney 2, Wilson 2; SJ-Fabbri 3, Shannon, Gourley