The Darien girls’ basketball team led from wire-to-wire, and held off a furious fourth-quarter rally by Bethel for a 51-43 victory last Wednesday night in Bethel.

The Blue Wave, which also overcame St. Joseph 38-33 Friday in Trumbull, had a perfect opening week at 3-0. Their three victories are nearly half of their win total from last year, when they finished 7-14 overall.

Against Bethel, the Wave was strong right out of the gate and played inspired defense to shut down Wildcats’ attack.

Darien led 14-4 after the first period, and the game was closely fought the rest of the way. Bethel used its pressure defense to rally in the fourth quarter, pulling to within one point with two minutes remaining.

But Darien regrouped, played an error-free last two minutes and made the key foul shots to seal the victory.

The Wave was led by seniors Lindsay Dimonekas and Gwen Dolce, each of whom had a double-double. Dimonekas had a team-high 23 points along with 10 rebounds, and Dolce had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Sophomore Aerin Bowman’s efforts on both offense and defense were a major factor in the victory, as she finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and eight blocks.

Other key contributors were Kelly Richter and Maggie Ramsay, both of whom made all their foul shots in the pressure-filled last minutes of the game. Richter also dished out six assists to go with four points, while Ramsay pulled down 12 rebounds and had six points. Olivia Maniscalco had two points, Shea Dolce had four rebounds, and Jillian Vaught had one rebound.

Darien then used a smothering zone defense and a balanced offensive attack, to beat St. Joseph, 38-33, in the first official FCIAC game of the season on Friday.

The game was tightly-contestsed, as neither team held more than a five-point lead in the game.

With both of their centers sidelined, the Wave were short-handed down low, but Ramsay, with major help from Shea Dolce, provided the extra defensive effort and determination needed to overcome the size disadvantage while slowing down the Cadets’ post offense.

The Wave’s team effort on the boards paid dividends as the undersized girls still outrebounded the Cadets 35-32.

Darien also had its most balanced offensive attack of the season.

Even though the girls have yet to find their outside shooting touch, they found enough ways to score in the paint to secure the win. Richter led the way with 11 points to go along with eight rebounds and five steals; Dimonekas had 10 points and 10 rebounds; and Ramsay had eight points and six rebounds. Shea Dolce added seven points and five rebounds, Gwen Dolce had two points and three rebounds, and Maniscalco had three rebounds.