Darien picks up critical win on the road against McMahon
NORWALK -- The Darien girls basketball team spread out the scoring in Norwalk on Tuesday night on its way to a 50-34 win over Brien McMahon for its fifth win in its last six games.
With the regular season winding down and so many teams vying for the final few spots in the FCIAC tournament, Darien was well aware of the importance of defeating McMahon.
"I feel great. I think we held everything together tonight," said Darien's Meg Marren, who scored a game-high 14 points. "We're getting close to FCIACs, so hopefully we just keep winning. It's kind of like we have to win right now."
The Blue Wave appeared to be well on their way to turning the contest into a route, as they opened up a 10-0 first quarter lead on the strength of three buckets by Emily Stein.
McMahon, which has only one senior (Karly Barreno) on its squad and three freshman starters (Kayla Croswell, Aleigh Fitzpatrick and Yasmine Walker), struck back with a layup by Fitzpatrick and a trey by Taylor Close to within 10-5. The first quarter would end with Darien extending its lead to 12-5 on a pair of free throws by Kate Bushell.
"It's frustrating because I thought our girls got out of their game a little in the first quarter. Being so young, I think the scoreboard gets to them a little bit. We made a game out of it in the first half," McMahon coach Mark McElween said. "No disrespect to Darien but I don't think they did anything spectacular in the second half; we had so many unforced turnovers and Darien took advantage of it."
Darien essentially sealed the game by the end of the third quarter, as it outscored McMahon 15-8 in the frame to take a commanding 35-20 advantage heading into the fourth.
In addition to Marren, Darien received 12 points from Stein, eight from Bushell and seven off the bench from Lane Davis.
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For McMahon, Kyle Courtney, Barreno and Fitzpatrick dropped six points apiece.
While he was certainly happy to see his team continue its winning ways, Blue Wave (9-6) coach Gary Peterson doesn't believe his team was at its sharpest in this particular victory. Darien is back in action tonight at Norwalk at 5:45 p.m.
"I didn't think that we played a great game; we were a little sloppy and had a lot of turnovers. We played down and we didn't play our best game," Peterson said. "We got it and we had to get it, especially with that logjam in the FCIACs. A win is a win, but we would like it to be cleaner."
With the loss, the young Senators (3-13) have been eliminated from playoff contention, but McElween is hopeful that his group embraces the challenge of playing spoiler to some FCIAC playoff hopefuls. McMahon will try to snap its six-game losing streak tonight at Ridgefield at 7 p.m.
"Right now, we'd just be a spoiler. If we could knock off a team like Darien, Ridgefield or Trinity, which we came close to doing the other day, I think it would be good for us," McElween said. "These girls do play hard, and they have the potential to do it."