Girls hoop: Ridgefield gets past New Canaan

Commitment, accountability, and leadership.

Those were the three words that Ridgefield High girls basketball coach Tom DiMarzo used to define his team's lone senior, Caroline Curnal, prior to Monday's Senior Night game against New Canaan.

Held scoreless through three quarters, Curnal came through in crunch time, scoring all seven of Ridgefield's points in the final quarter as the Tigers held off the Rams, 37-32.

“I had never expected that this would be the dynamic of my senior year in basketball, but sometimes you’re put in improbable situations,” said Curnal about being the only senior (and upperclassman) on a team filled with freshmen and sophomores. “Now, at the end of the year, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

New Canaan entered the game with just three wins but proved a formidable opponent. Trailing 6-1 at the end of the first quarter, the Rams pulled within 13-12 at halftime.

An invigorated third-quarter effort helped Ridgefield open a 30-20 lead going into the final period. The Rams regrouped and trailed by just six points, 34-28, with 3:27 to play before Curnal and the Tigers closed out the victory.

“Our energy level was high, but we didn’t execute the plays to match that,” said DiMarzo, whose team improved to 13-6 with one regular-season game remaining. “But I told the girls that good teams find a way to win, and we were able to come around and make that happen.”

Freshman Kate Garson was a force for Ridgefield, finishing with a team-high 13 points and grabbing six rebounds. Fellow freshman Katie Flynn added six points, and sophomore Kate Wagner contributed five points. Sophomores Megan Klosowski and Sabrina Grizzaffi and freshman Faith Arnold had two points apiece.

The younger Ridgefield players were happy to get the win for Curnal.

“We’ve always been aware of our age differences, but it’s really only inspired us to work even harder,” said Garson. “Having Caroline as our leader really motivates us to do that every day.”

“These young girls that Curnal has looked out for really wanted to win for her tonight,” said DiMarzo. “Together they’ve learned what it means to be a teammate, and I’m hoping they carry that with them as we move towards the postseason.”

Notes: Sophomore Jane Charlton led New Canaan (3-15) with nine points. Senior Leigh Charlton added six points, followed by four points each from sophomores Elizabeth DeMarino and Katherine Dunn.