Game #9-183: Drexel Dragons at Fairfield StagsDecember 16, 2012 4:00 pm
Arena at Harbor Yard
The Fairfield-Drexel game begins with a moment of silence for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, twenty-five miles up the road. Earlier in the day, my eleven year-old son's game also started with a moment of silence; Ian and his fifth grade teammates stood awkwardly in their baggy uniforms. Here in our first trip of the season to Webster Bank Arena, Fairfield University's home court, Ian is still wearing his black and red jersey, number 44. It is two days post-Sandy Hook. Two days of stunning, confusing news. Two days waiting, as President Obama will say later tonight, for the "good guys" to come.
The starting five for the Stags and Dragons take the floor, young men from as nearby as New Haven and as far away as Croatia, who are ready to ignite emotion in a subdued arena. They are the best guys we can find today.
On the game's first possession, a foul-line jumper from Fairfield's Needham rolls around and around on the rim. Needham contorts his body to coax the ball through the basket. Drexel inbounds and sprints the ball into the front court where Ruffin misses a shot from the block. Sidibe, a Stag freshman we've been curious to see, swoops in for the rebound. He hands the ball to Needham who walks it back to Fairfield's end. Everyone in the arena seems to breathe. For the moment we are moving again in southwest Connecticut.
Ian runs his finger down the program looking for the name of the player who was his counselor when he attended Fairfield's basketball camp this summer.
"Found him, Dad," he says. "Marcus Gilbert, from Delaware." Gilbert doesn't play in the first half, and from where he sits on the last seat on the bench we can guess he won't play much all season. But at halftime we watch him during the lay-up lines. He shoots the ball with lazy accuracy and slaps hands with his teammates as he returns to the end of the line.
Before halftime is over, the public address announcer introduces a group of second graders from Coleytown Elementary School who race on to the court to play an unreferee-ed version of basketball that in its exuberance looks more like half-court rugby. While their parents stand on the baseline shooting video on their phones, the second graders scramble after the ball in the wide open space of the painted floor. Ian and I can't tell which team is which. All we can see are small children running.
at FAIRFIELD 69, DREXEL 58
DREXEL 3-7 (0-0) -- D. Lee 4-15 5-6 15; D. Ruffin 5-11 0-2 10; F. Massenat 2-9 7-7 11; D. McCoy 4-6 0-0 8; D. Thomas 0-1 0-0 0; K. Abif 2-3 2-3 6; T. Allen 4-10 0-1 8; A. Younger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-55 14-19 58.
FAIRFIELD 7-5 (1-1) -- C. Nickerson 5-7 1-3 12; M. Barrow 4-6 3-3 12; K. Matthews 2-3 0-0 4; A. Sidibe 2-3 1-2 5; D. Needham 6-9 6-6 20; D. Wade 6-12 1-2 15; J. Mikulic 0-2 1-3 1; C. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-43 13-19 69.
Three-point goals: DREX 2-10 (F. Massenat 0-2; T. Allen 0-3; D. Lee 2-5), FAIR 6-14 (D. Wade 2-5; D. Needham 2-4; C. Nickerson 1-2; M. Barrow 1-1; J. Mikulic 0-2); Rebounds: DREX 31 (D. McCoy 8), FAIR 23 (A. Sidibe 6); Assists: DREX 5 (D. Ruffin 1), FAIR 11 (C. Nickerson 4); Total Fouls -- DREX 16, FAIR 18; Fouled Out: DREX-None; FAIR-None.