Boys basketball: Ridgefield knocks off Trumbull, 48-45

The Trumbull High boys basketball team lost its second-round Class LL state tournament game to a familiar opponent on Thursday night.

Ridgefield High came to town, and after losing to Trumbull on Senior Night and during the FCIAC playoffs, the 22nd-seeded Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals with a 48-45 victory over coach Buddy Bray’s sixth-seeded Eagles.

Ridgefield (13-9), which had already upended No. 11 Xavier of Middletown with a 53-52 overtime decision in the first round, will next take visit No. 3 Hillhouse (20-2) in New Haven on Monday, March 14.

Trumbull had a shot to tie the game at the end of regulation, but Eddie Giovannini’s 3-pointer was off the mark. The rebound went out of bounds to the Tigers with 0.8 seconds left, and Matt Saporito took the inbounds pass and threw the ball down the court as time ran out.

“We got exactly what we wanted, how we drew it up,” Bray said of the play designed during a timeout with 10.8 remaining. “Eddie took the shot and it didn’t go in. He’s been making one big shot after another all year.”

Trumbull led 7-6 after one period, trailed 21-19 at the half and Ridgefield took a 34-30 lead into the final quarter.

The Eagles took a 42-41 lead when Jack Moore found Chris Lyons cutting to the basket for a hoop with 3:15 left.

It took Ridgefield four times on its next possessions to regain the advantage.

Lyons had a block, Saporito missed a pair of free throws (6-for-17 for the Tigers in the game), Chris Longo missed a free throw, and then Saporito passed to Zach Esemplare out of a double team and the junior scored on a layup.

Trumbull missed a shot before Joe Newborn’s three-point play took the Tigers’ lead to 46-42 with 1:14 remaining.

Ben McCullough scored two points off a block to block pass from Lyons, and the team’s traded free throws to keep it a three-point game.

Trumbull got the ball down low to McCullough, whose shot came off the rim with 25.4 seconds on the clock.

Trumbull’s press forced a traveling call to set up the last shot.

Ridgefield double teamed Moore, who got the ball to Giovannini.

“Moore is a special player,” Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan said of the Eagle senior. “We finally were able to limit his touches. He’d beat us twice already and we wanted to leave it up to someone else.”

Lyons led Trumbull with 14 points. Moore, J.J. Pfohl and McCullough scored eight points each.

Chase Levesque had 12 points for Ridgefield.

Saporito scored 11, Longo nine, Brenden McNamara eight and Newborn five.