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Upstart Fitch boys throttle New London 84-67

Jan. 12—NEW LONDON — It was a perfectly reasonable narrative entering the season to suggest the champion of the Eastern Connecticut Conference would be named "St. Bernard" or "New London."

And then came Friday night at Conway Gym. Final score: Fitch 84, New London 67.

"The kids are excited," Fitch coach Charles Silvan said. "You can see it in their reaction."

The Falcons (8-2, 3-1 ECC Division I) led 9-0, 22-7 and 39-23 in the first half and didn't let the lead shrink under six the rest of the way.

Sophomore guard JJ Robinson led the Falcons with 30 points. Former New London guard Xavier Goode (also a sophomore) added 27. To reiterate: That's a pair of sophomores. ECC coaches will not rest easy.

"The mindset tonight was to come in and get a 'W,'" Robinson said. "This is a tough environment. There were a lot of people in here. But whether we were playing in front of four or 1,400, we just wanted to win."

Fitch shot 9-for-12 in the first quarter and made all four of its 3s, including two from Malakai Saab, who finished with 19.

"The name of the game for us is transition," Silvan said. "We try to change it up as much as possible and not give them the same look."

New London (7-3, 2-2) trailed 43-27 at the half, but used a 15-5 run in the third period to get as close as six, 57-51. But from there, Fitch used a 16-1 run to make the fourth quarter uneventful.

"This was a mental win for us," Robinson said. "But there's a long season to go."

Devan Williams led the Whalers with 24 points. New London hadn't played since last Friday's 67-61 loss to St. Bernard.

"The kids showed a lot of belief in themselves tonight," Silvan said. "That's a very good New London team."

This was Fitch's fourth game in the last eight days. The Falcons narrowly lost at St. Bernard on Monday night.

But when asked about any future prediction about his team or the season, Silvan replied as bluntly as possible.

"We'll find out at 8 a.m. (Saturday)," Silvan said, alluding to Fitch's practice time, with no real time to celebrate anything from Friday night.

New London returns home Tuesday night to play Bacon Academy. Fitch and New London will play again in the regular season.

m.dimauro@theday.com