Boys hoop: Ridgefield routs Hand in holiday tourney

Behind a dominant defensive effort, the Ridgefield High boys basketball team got its first victory of the young season Tuesday night.

The Tigers held Daniel Hand to single-digit points in all four quarters, romping to a 65-27 triumph in the opening round of the Masuk Holiday Tournament in Monroe.

Ridgefield (1-2) will now play Bunnell-Stratford in the tournament championship game on Thursday at 7 at Masuk High School. Bunnell defeated Masuk, 72-50, in the second game Tuesday night.

Hand (0-3) also entered Tuesday’s game in search of its first win this season, but that pursuit ended early. Ridgefield built a 14-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and pushed its advantage to 36-13 by halftime.

“We were able to get multiple stops in a row,” said Ridgefield head coach Andrew McClellan. “And then we were able to get out and run a little bit. And then the guys did a really good job of executing against their zone. I thought at the beginning of the first quarter, we were not sharp and precise with it, then second quarter through the rest of the first half — really good spacing and attacking in that zone.”
The Tigers continued the rout in the second half, outscoring Hand, 16-9, in the third quarter and 13-5 in the final period.
“… I thought today we played well in long stretches, and hopefully it gets the kids to believe in what we’re doing.” said McClellan. “We call it Tiger Basketball. Maybe this is the kind of win that’s not really momentum building as much as it is reassurance as to what we do.”
Nine players scored for Ridgefield, which was led by Brenden McNamara’s 13 points. Zach Esemplare and Chris Longo each added 11 points, while 6’6″ center Nick Laudati had eight points and nine blocked shots.
“Our defense today was great,” said Laudati. “I thought the guards trusted the help more and they definitely locked down their guy. They paid attention to detail; they were moving their feet. We had gotten into foul trouble in our other two games, and they [the Ridgefield guards] definitely were being more careful with how they played defense and it played a huge role in stopping them.”
Freshman Luke McGarrity also contributed eight points, and sophomore James St. Pierre had six points. Alex Price and Weston Carpenter added two points apiece to complete Ridgefield’s scoring.

Press Sports Reporter Rich Kaufman contributed reporting to this story.
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