Darien bounced from FCIAC tourney
FAIRFIELD - The top-seeded Trumbull Eagles (19-0 FCIAC) defeated the No. 8 seed Darien Blue Wave (11-8 FCIAC) in the opening round of the FCIAC playoff tournament by a 54-41 margin at Fairfield Ludlowe High School on Saturday.
The Blue Wave managed to stay in contention for three quarters, but the Eagles led throughout the game en route to the 13-point victory. Even so, Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch wasn't taking anything for granted in an FCIAC playoff game.
"Anybody who gets into the top eight in the FCIAC's is a quality team, no doubt," Tobitsch said. "We have 19 teams in our league and we're ready to take on all those challenges, but Darien is a very good basketball team."
The first quarter remained scoreless for over three and a half minutes, with both squads playing sound defense and allowing no open shots. Trumbull's Taisha Lima finally got her team on the board with a layup with 4:15 remaining in the opening quarter. It was the first of her eight points. The first quarter ended with Trumbull protecting a 9-5 lead.
In the second quarter, the Eagles got hot from 3-point ranged, dropping three treys in the quarter alone (two by Alexa Pfohl and one by Kelly Coughlin). Trumbull began to pull away and opened up its largest lead of the game after Lima dropped a buzzer-beating layup to make the score 30-20 heading into the locker rooms.
The third quarter was mostly a stalemate, as Trumbull's lead never got higher than 12 points or lower than eight points. Darien's senior captain Meg Marren dropped five points in the frame.
"We played a really good first three quarters, but fouls really got us in trouble," senior captain Julia Boulton said. "We had the effort there, but we just have to work on execution [for the State tournament] and we'll be good."
Leading 40-29 going into the fourth, the Eagles put the game away with a 10-2 run to start the frame. For Trumbull, Erin Moore and Victoria Pfohl dropped 14 points apiece and Alexa Pfohl score 10 points.
Darien was led by Marren's game-high 16 points and Kate Bushell's eight points.
"It was a tough loss, but we're very happy that we got to FCIAC's," senior captain Nicole Buch said. "I'm very proud of the team, and I thought we played hard. Trumbull is beatable, but they're a very tough team to play."
Tobitsch cited his team's depth as one of the main reasons why the Eagles were able to pull away in the fourth.
"One of the big things is that we don't have one dominant player. I don't even know who our leading scorer was today," Tobitsch said. "We've had six different players lead the team in scoring throughout the year, and everybody should be ready to play when the bell is ready."
The win put Trumbull into the semi-finals of the FCIAC tournament where they defeated the No. 5 seeded St. Joseph Cadets 57-46 at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Tuesday. Trumbull played the No. 2 seeded Ridgefield Tigers in the FCIAC Championship game at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Thursday, but the result was not available at press time.
Darien will look forward to the State tournament, which is slated to begin on Monday. Darien coach Gary Peterson expressed no doubts whatsoever in his team's ability to put its best foot forward in the State tournament.
"We played a good team, we didn't execute like we were supposed to," Darien coach Gary Peterson said. "We're young, we played a tough team, an experienced team. We're disappointed, but we'll be alright."
Darien, the No. 14 seed in the Class L State tournament, will play host to No. 19 Wilton (11-9) in the first round on Monday at Darien High School at 7 p.m.