Ridgefield beats Ludlowe, advances to FCIAC finals

Amos Grey looks to take a shot during Ridgefield's win over Fairfield Ludlowe in the FCIAC semifinals.

Amos Grey looks to take a shot during Ridgefield's win over Fairfield Ludlowe in the FCIAC semifinals.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

In what is becoming a common occurrence, the Ridgefield boys basketball team will be playing for the FCIAC championship.

For the third time in the past four seasons, top-seed Ridgefield is heading back to the conference title game after defeating fourth-seed Fairfield Ludlowe, 54-47, in the semifinals Tuesday night at Wilton High School.

The Tigers, who won FCIAC championships in 2017 and again last year, will face second-seed Trinity Catholic at 7 p.m. Thursday night back in Wilton. Trinity edged Warde, 57-55, in the first semifinal Tuesday evening.

“It is a program thing, now,” Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan said. “Once you have some success, people see how it happens and our older kids show them what goes on in the offseason. Then there is a really high level of competitiveness and mental toughness. That combination allows us to beat some teams that maybe are more talented.

“The best thing that I love about our program is we are so consistent. That’s how you win regular-season-championships; it’s not always how you win playoff championships. We have 32 minutes and that will be a big test for us, Thursday.”

Johnny Briody led Ridgefield with 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Luke McGarrity added 15 points and James Rush had 11.

“This means a lot. We have eight seniors and all of us love playing together,” said McGarrity, who hit two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. “We have been working all year to get to our goal of getting back to the championship. To be able to do that is great, but we are not done, yet.”

Ridgefield jumped out to an early lead and every time Ludlowe looked as though it might make a run to get back into it, the Tigers answered.

“Our kids played super hard. I credit Ridgefield; they certainly took us out of being comfortable in the half court,” Ludlowe coach John Dailey said. “We did a good job defensively but we left some good players like Briody and McGarrity wide open, at times. That certainly was not in the game plan. Then, when we really needed a basket, we didn’t execute and forced a couple of tough ones.”