Girls hoop preview: Tigers aim for turnaround

After a sub-par 7-13 season in which her team did not qualify for either the FCIAC or state tournaments, Ridgefield High girls basketball coach Katie Reed is confident of a turnaround this winter.

“We’ll be better,” she said. “Last year was a down year, but this team is improved. We should bounce back.”

The Tigers have speed and athleticism, and even some height, but they don’t have much depth. Between the graduation losses of three starters (Emily Favorite, Lauren Eckstrom, Samme Jancin), and the non-return of several other contributors, Ridgefield enters the season with an 11-player varsity roster short on varsity experience.

“We have to avoid injuries and hope the flu bug doesn’t hit us,” said Reed.

Ridgefield does return a proven scorer in 5’10” junior guard Andrea Ferrero, who led the team in points per game last season.

“She can shoot, get to the basket, and run the floor,” said Reed about Ferrero. “She should have another strong year.”

Two other junior guards, 5’5” Maddie Wiley and 5’6” Sandy Carpenter, were rotation regulars last season and will bring speed, quickness, ball-handling, and shooting ability.

“They are both good athletes,” said Reed. “They are going to be keys for us this season.”

Senior captain Maggie Scalzo, a 5’7” forward, is also back and will be part of Ridgefield’s frontcourt. “Maggie battles under the boards and is a great leader,” said Reed. “She gets everyone fired up.”

Andrea Bedard, a 5’9” sophomore, has improved significantly in the off-season and should start at forward for the Tigers. The other front-line regular is 6’2” freshman forward Rebecca Lawrence, who is part of a talented ninth grade class.

“Rebecca is tall but also has a finesse game,” said Reed. “She can run the floor, hit from the outside and block shots. She is going to be a nice addition.”

Reed will look to junior forwards Emma Glubiak, Kaitlyn Birch and Paige Andrews, junior guard Samarah Cook, and sophomore guard Carly Mercede to contribute off the bench. Some other players could also move up from junior varsity during the season.

“We are going to be a running team, as always,” said Reed. “I think our defensive tenacity will be a strength, even though it is not quite there yet.”

Reed’s optimism has much to do with her players’ progress in the off-season.

“The core group has worked so hard,” she said. “We will reap the benefits from that.”

Notes: Senior forward Anne MacIntyre will miss the season through injury, but she will be on the bench during games, according to Reed.

The Tigers open the season next Wednesday (Dec. 5) at home against Trumbull at 7.

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