Hamden ousts Ridgefield in Class LL first round

Claire Tannian takes a shot during Ridgefield's game against Hamden in the Class LL state tournament.

Claire Tannian takes a shot during Ridgefield's game against Hamden in the Class LL state tournament.

Pete Paguaga / Hearst Connecticut Media

It wasn’t your average first-round matchup between Ridgefield and Hamden in the Class LL girls basketball state tournament Monday night.

“Not at all and we talked about that,” Hamden coach Amanda Forcucci said. “FCIAC champions against SCC champions, both teams had to gut it out in their tournament. They played in overtime against Staples; we knew we had to be ready for them.”

Newly crowned SCC champion and 19-seed Hamden was ready for newly crowned FCIAC champion and 14-seed Ridgefield and then some, beating the Tigers, 45-33, on their home court.

The loss ended the season abruptly for Ridgefield, which finished with a 17-7 record.

Hamden (16-9) advances to face 30th-seed Hall, a stunning first-round winner over third-seed New London, in the second round on Thursday at Hamden.

“We came off a good win and I told my team keep the same energy we had for the SCCs,” Hamden senior guard Asya Brandon said. “If we keep the same energy and play as a team, we will go far.”

Brandon scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the first half to kick start the Green Dragons. In the second half, she gave way to center Rebecca Oberman-Levine.

Oberman-Levine scored just one point in the first half but made her presence felt in the second with eight points. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked six shots.

Ridgefield, meanwhile, struggled to get shots to fall.

“I’m just really proud of our team ... what they went through to win FCIACs and get here,” Ridgefield coach Rob Coloney said. “It wasn’t our night. I thought we missed some shots that sometimes we usually make.

“I am proud of the girls because they battled till the end and that’s all we can really ask of them. (It was) a memorable first season for me and Ridgefield, but hopefully a really memorable season for them because they earned it and I’m super proud of them.”

Notes: Cali Stietzel led Ridgefield with eight points. Kate Wagner added seven points and Katie Flynn and Cara Sheafe each scored four points.