No. 2 Newington girls basketball tops No. 5 Ridgefield in 1st Tyler Ugolyn Tournament

Members of the Newington girls basketball team celebrate after defeating host Ridgefield in the first Tyler Ugolyn Memorial tournament Wednesday.

Members of the Newington girls basketball team celebrate after defeating host Ridgefield in the first Tyler Ugolyn Memorial tournament Wednesday.

Will Aldam / Hearst Connecticut Media

RIDGEFIELD — Two of the state’s top girls basketball teams met in the inaugural Tyler Ugolyn Memorial Tournament championship Wednesday.

Newington, ranked second in the GameTimeCT preseason Top 10 poll, defeated No. 5 Ridgefield 51-40.

The tournament, which was originally slated to begin last year, honors Ridgefield alumni Tyler Ugolyn, who was killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

“We had four really good teams on the girls’ side,” Ridgefield coach Rob Coloney said, referring to other competitors John Jay of New York and Newtown. “We are really grateful that the girls were able to have a full tournament and that we are able to honor someone who had such a huge impact not on just the Ridgefield basketball community, but basketball worldwide.”

The Tyler Ugolyn Foundation states it is committed to providing support to youth basketball, with an emphasis on court refurbishment and providing financial support to character building educational programs and skills clinics to children in urban settings. All courts nationwide funded by the Foundation are named "Tyler's Court" and noted with a special plaque installed at each court along with the words "I just love playing the game," a quote attributed to Tyler while a High School player.

Before the game, Ridgefield wore warmup jerseys with the number 34 (his number at Ridgefield) on the back along with Ugolyn’s name.

“There are Tyler’s courts all over the country, and to have his parents and family back in Ridgefield for the first time since his passing is amazing,” Coloney said. “Seeing all of our kids wearing his warmup jersey with the Number 34 is really special.”

Lilly Ferguson, a senior forward committed to play for UMass and recognized as one of 25 players to watch by GameTimeCT in the preseason, led all scorers with 21 points.

“Ferguson is a phenomenal player, and last year she moved to Newington, and we are fortunate to have her,” Newington coach Marc Tancredi said. “She was named captain this year, which is very high praise, and in terms of her playing ability she is very versatile. She buys into everything we do and can score at all three levels.”

Freshman guard Bela Cucuta also had a big game, knocking down three 3-pointers and putting up 11 points.

“I think this is the first Holiday tournament we have won as a program, so we are trending in the right direction,” Tancredi said. “We also know that we are not a finished product. It is a long season, and we know we can do big things, but we will see what happens.”

Newington, which competes in the CCC and Class L, improves to 6-0.

“I see great team chemistry, and they always follow through working hard on every possession,” said Coloney. “We have a talented group to and that is why we are in the position we are in.”

Ridgefield drops to 4-1. Coloney took away positives from his team’s ability to battle back in the fourth quarter. Trailing 38-22 after three quarters of play, Ridgefield went on a 13-4 run to bring the score within five.

“I think the great thing about this team is the way that they respond to things,” Coloney said. “We have a handful of girls who are adjusting to new roles and some that haven’t played varsity before. Today was tough, I think Newington is one of the best two teams in the state but we were down 20 points going into the fourth quarter and we cut it to five with three minutes left.”

Newington 51, Ridgefield 40

Newington16 12 10 13 — 51

Ridgefield10 8 4 18 — 40

Newington (6-0): Lilly Ferguson 6 2 3-4 21, Karissa Zocco 1 1 1-2 6, Adrianna Romano 1 0 3-3 5, Bella Cucuta 1 3 2-4 13, Marliese Zocco 1 1 1-2 4, Arianna Barnes 0 0 2-2 2.

Ridgefield (4-1): Maya Rubio 2 0 0-0 4, Kaya Weiskopf 3 1 2-2 11, Cara Sheafe 3 0 0-0 6, Siovhan Moroney 1 0 0-0 2, Elizabeth Buonocore 1 0 0-0 2, Anna Gillan 1 0 4-6 6, Kate Dowd 3 0 3-3 9.