Defense leads Ridgefield past Ludlowe
With leading scorer Katie Flynn and fellow starter Kelly Chittenden both sidelined with injuries, the Ridgefield girls basketball team had to rely on some less experienced players in Friday night’s home game against Fairfield Ludlowe.
The result was a close, low-scoring contest that Ridgefield won, 38-29.
The Tigers hit seven free throws late in the fourth quarter to finally put away Ludlowe and improve their record to 5-4.
“We had a real opportunity tonight to come in and start to take control of our own destiny,” said Ridgefield coach Rob Coloney. “This is the month where you start to figure out who the contenders and the pretenders are, and every win gets us closer to that competitive end.”
Both teams opened the game by playing full-court, man-to-man defense that cut down on points. Ludlowe led 11-9 at the end of the first quarter, and the second quarter was even more low scoring, with the teams combining for only 10 points.
Megan Klosowski and Sabrina Grizzaffi forced Ludlowe turnovers late in the first half, helping Ridgefield tie the game, 15-15, at the break.
Emma Torello’s three-pointer at the start of the third quarter spurred a 6-0 run that gave Ludlowe a 21-15 lead. But Ridgefield’s Kate Wagner responded with a three-pointer of her own that got the Tigers back on track.
“Our mentality is always to play with an edge and we didn’t want to succumb to the pressure that tonight posed,” said Wagner, who finished with nine points, five rebounds and three steals. “Our defense ended up carrying us through this game and we did a great job of getting in front, being physical, and stopping their offense.”
Wagner and Cali Stietzel led a 13-4 run that put Ridgefield ahead 28-25 at the end of the third quarter. Stietzel also ended the evening with nine points for the Tigers.
Ridgefield’s defense continued its stingy demeanor in the final period, holding the Falcons to four points. But the Tigers also struggled to score and led by only three points with under two minutes remaining.
Cara Sheafe’s timely steal and basket — off a pass from freshman Maya Rubio — put Ridgefield ahead by five points, and the Tigers then hit their foul shots to close out the victory. Cameron McClellan provided the final three free throws for Ridgefield.
“We trusted all the girls we had tonight and were confident even without some of our usual suspects,” said Coloney. “It was a great, high-intensity experience for some of these younger girls tonight, and we allowed ourselves to get good defensive position that buoyed our offense.”
Notes: Ten players scored in Ridgefield’s 63-7 rout of Bridgeport Central last Tuesday in Bridgeport.
The Tigers led 31-2 at the end of the opening quarter and 50-3 at halftime.
Wagner had a game-high 12 points for Ridgefield. Stietzel added nine points, and Megan Klosowski and McClellan each contributed eight points.
Claire Tannian (seven points), Kaya Weiskopf (six), Sheafe (four), Kate Dowd (four), Sydney Katz (three), and Sabrina Grizzaffi (two) also scored for the Tigers.