Defense rules: Darien girls basketball tames Ridgefield Tigers, 47-37
The Darien Blue Wave has its sights set on capturing a ticket to the FCIAC tournament in a few weeks. If the Wave does indeed make it to the dance, Friday night’s game against the Ridgefield Tigers will loom large.
Darien delivered a stifling defensive performance, holding the normally-potent Ridgefield offense to just 13 points in the first half, and scored a 47-37 victory over the Tigers at DHS.
With the win, the Blue Wave (6-7 overall, 6-5 FCIAC) leap-frogged over Danbury and Trinity Catholic into eighth place in the FCIAC standings, while Ridgefield (10-4, 8-3) had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
“This is a big game,” senior co-captain Katie Ramsay said. “They only have three losses and we’re trying to make it to FCIAcs, so we really needed to win this game to get some big points today. It was a really aggressive game, but we showed what we can do and this is what we want to keep doing for the rest of the season.”
Darien was coming off a disappointing performance in Wilton, as the Wave defense struggled in a 64-43 loss.
“We focused pretty much solely on our defense,” senior co-captain Christine Fiore said. “We were awful against Wilton. We played a great defensive game against Stamford and then had that downfall against Wilton. Our defense came out amazingly, and that’s something we were lacking in our last game against Wilton. That was a big step up and was a big goal for us tonight.”
Fiore provided a big part of the offense, as she racked up 26 points and went to the free throw line eight times, hitting 12 of 16 shots from the stripe.
Ramsay scored 10 points and was a huge presence in the defensive performance with several blocked shots and steals.
Sophomores Lindsay Dimonekas and Kelly Richter added to the offense — Dimonekas with six points and Richter with five — and those two, senior co-captain Hailey King, and sophomore Gwen Dolce among others, were key to the defensive performance.
“The whole game, we played as a team,” Fiore said. “We talked about it at halftime that if we just kept playing the full game, we would win.”
For Ridgefield, Caroline Curnal scored 13 points, but got into late foul trouble and fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter. Sabrina Grizzaffi also hit double digits with 10 points.
The score was tied at 7-7 in the first quarter when Darien’s defense took over the game. During an 11 minute span, Ridgefield scored just two points on a shot by Curnal, while the Blue Wave scored 19 to take a 26-9 lead. The Tigers scored four in the final minute of the half, but the Wave led 28-13 at the break.
The second half was extremely physical, as the teams battled for every rebound and a march to the foul line ensued. The Wave wasn’t fazed.
“When the games are physical, we all step up more,” Fiore said. “It becomes a situation where they push us and we push back 10 times harder. So I think that actually pumped us up.”
“Towards the end of the game it got way more physical than it should’ve been,” Ramsay said. “There was 15 team fouls in the second half which is kind of insane, but it just shows how important this game was to both teams.”
Darien led 39-23 after the third quarter, but the Tigers kept fighting, getting the deficit to single digits at 44-37 with a minute remaining.
Fiore hit one of two free throws to make it an eight-point lead and a basket by Ramsay in the closing seconds accounted for the final points.
“There was a lot of pressure (in the fourth quarter) and I can’t even explain it,” Ramsay said. “It was probably one of the most physical games I’ve ever played in It just shows we both wanted to win it.”
Darien 47, Ridgefield 37
Friday, Jan. 26, at Darien HS
Ridgefield 7-6-10-14 37
Darien 11-17-11-8 47
Ridgefield: Keara Williams 0 0-0 0, Katie Flynn 0 1-2 1, Kate Wegnel 2 0-2 5, Isabella Giordano 0 0-0 0, Faith Arnold 0 0-0 0, Cameron McClellan 0 0-0 0, Caroline Curnal 5 1-4 13, Megan Klosowski 2 0-0 4, Norah McNeese 1 2-2 4, Sabrina Grizzaffi 4 2-4 10, Claire Tannian 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 6-14 37
Darien: Kelly Richter 1 3-4 5, Gwen Dolce 0 0-2 0, Lindsay Dimonekas 2 2-6 6, Katie Ramsay 4 2-10 10, Christine Fiore 7 12-16 26, Rachel Stobbie 0 0-0 0, Hailey King 0 0-0 0, Hassana Arbubakkr 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 19-40 47
3-pointers: Ridgefield - Curnal 2, Wengel