Danbury rallies for 44-36 win over Ridgefield

Kelly Chittenden dribbles around the Danbury defense during Monday night's game. — Scott Mullin photo
Kelly Chittenden dribbles around the Danbury defense during Monday night's game. — Scott Mullin photo

In order to pick up its point production, the Danbury girls basketball team needed to slow down its offense.

“For the first three quarters I kept telling our players that they couldn’t dribble through five people,” Danbury coach Jackie DiNardo said following her team’s 44-36 road win over Ridgefield on Monday night. “Once we started setting up our offense in the fourth quarter we got baskets.”

The outcome kept the two teams going full-speed ahead in different directions. Danbury has now won six straight games to raise its record to 6-3. Ridgefield, meanwhile, lost for the fourth straight time and is now 3-5 this season.

After trailing for two-and-a-half quarters, Danbury closed the third with a 6-0 run that produced a 29-29 tie heading into the final eight minutes. Ty’Lynn Ith’s 3-pointer gave the Hatters their first lead of the game, at 32-29, with 5:55 remaining, and the visitors stayed in front from there.

Kate Garson’s transition basket on a nice pass from Sabrina Grizzaffi got Ridgefield within one, but Danbury scored eight unanswered points to go ahead 40-31 with 55.1 seconds left.

“That’s been our season in a nutshell,” Ridgefield coach Tom DiMarzo said. “I can’t fault our effort or our defense, but you can’t expect to get held under 40 points and win. At some point you need to start making shots.”

The Tigers generated enough offense to open several leads of five or more points in the first two quarters. Despite a host of missed shots and turnovers, Danbury was able to take advantage of Ridgefield’s scoring lapses and keep the game close.

One instance came in the latter part of the second quarter. When Kate Wagner hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-2 run, Ridgefield had a 22-15 lead with 1:35 left before halftime. But Danbury scored the next four points to pull within 22-19 at the break.

“We weren’t playing well, but we did enough to hang around,” DiNardo said. “I was happy that we were able to keep coming back.”

The pattern continued in the third quarter. After five straight points from Garson put the Tigers ahead 29-22 midway through the quarter, Danbury embarked on a 7-0 run that ended with Kianna Perry’s basket and a 29-29 tie.

Ith then hit her 3-pointer to give the Hatters the lead, and Ridgefield’s offense was unable to come up with an answer.

“We’re out of synch, and I think we’ve lost some confidence,” DiMarzo said. “We’re not going to pack it in and give up, but it’s on me to try and figure out why we are having so much trouble scoring.”

NOTES: Perry finished with a game-high 12 points for Danbury. Ith added 11 points and Susana Almeida had eight points (six on free throws in the final quarter).

Garson led with Ridgefield with eight points. Wagner and Grizzaffi each added seven points (all in the first half), and Norah McNeece and Flynn had four points apiece.