In double OT thriller, Ridgefield wins FCIAC title
The Ridgefield girls basketball team has been through three coaches over the past two seasons and nobody in the preseason was talking about the Tigers.
Now, they are all anyone in the FCIAC is talking about.
In a double-overtime classic, seventh-seed Ridgefield — led by the upperclassmen who have been through so much turmoil — defeated top-seed Staples, 50-46, to win the FCIAC championship Thursday night at Trumbull High School.
Junior Cali Stietzel hit a huge 3-pointer in the second overtime, then made a steal at midcourt and hit a layup, putting the Tigers up by five.
Then it was senior Kate Wagner scoring a basket and later knocking down a clutch free throw to ice it, sending Ridgefield and their fans into a frenzy at midcourt.
“I can’t describe the feeling; it is absolutely insane,” Wagner, the FCIAC finals MVP, said. “We knew we were capable of it, but to actually have it in our hands, I can’t even describe it. Senior year, every single player on this team knew we could do this and to finally bring it home, it feels so good.”
Wagner was the game’s high scorer with 16 points. Stietzel added 14 points and Katie Flynn had 12.
It was the fourth conference title in program history and the first since 2015 for Ridgefield.
The game was only in overtime because Ridgefield’s Katie Flynn knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 16 seconds left in regulation, tying the game at 37-37.
“Katie Flynn hitting that shot at the end of the fourth quarter ... what a shot,” Ridgefield first-year coach Rob Coloney said. “As the overtimes went on we hit adversity, adversity, adversity. I am really proud that we were the last team standing but there is a lot of talent in this league and I am really happy to be a part of it.”
With 2.8 seconds left in the first overtime and Ridgefield leading 41-39, Staples’ Marley Lopez-Paul was fouled and went to the line.
The junior center hit both free throws, sending the game to a second overtime.
Staples was without All-FCIAC first team forward Arianna Gerig in both overtimes after she fouled out with 1:34 left in regulation. Gerig led the Wreckers with 11 points.
Staples was plagued all night by missed layups and free throws.
“This is hard. But, if you don’t play basketball, you’re not going to win the game and we didn’t play, tonight,” Staples coach Paco Fabian said. “It took two overtimes for us to get to 46 points and that’s not us. You got to make layups. Basketball isn’t a hard thing. You have to make layups and you have to make fouls shots.”
RIDGEFIELD 50, STAPLES 46 (2 OT)
Ridgefield: Cali Stietzel 5 2-4 14; Megan Klosowski 0 0-0 0; Kate Wagner 6 4-4 16; Cameron McClellan 1 0-0 3; Cara Sheafe 0 0-2 0; Katie Flynn 5 1-2 12; Kelly Chittenden 1 2-4 5; Siovhan Moroney 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 9-18 50.
Staples: Nicole Holmes 1 0-0 2; Alva Nordin 0 0-0 0; Marisa Shorrock 2 1-2 6; Kathleen Cozzi 3 2-5 8; Abigail Carter 4 0-2 9; Marley Lopez-Paul 2 5-8 10; Arianna Gerig 3 4-7 11; Jennifer Westphal 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 12-24 46.
Records: Ridgefield 17-6; Staples 20-3.