Ridgefield beats St. Joseph, clinches FCIAC berth
In a game with playoff implications, the Ridgefield High girls basketball team got a big road win Friday night.
The Tigers opened a 27-13 halftime lead and then held off host St. Joseph, 47-38, in Trumbull.
With the victory, Ridgefield (10-8 overall, 9-5 FCIAC) clinched a berth in the eight-team conference tournament. The Tigers, who have two regular-season games remaining, are now seventh in the overall FCIAC standings, a half-game ahead of Stamford (9-6) and a half-game behind Staples (10-5).
The loss was costly for St. Joseph, which fell to 8-10 overall (7-7 FCIAC) and had its hopes of making the conference playoffs extinguished.
Ridgefield jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but the Cadets answered with a 9-0 run of their own, knotting the score. The Tigers then scored five of the next seven points to go up 14-11 heading to the second quarter.
Ridgefield began the second period with an 8-0 run to double up the Cadets at 22-11. St. Joseph was held to two free throws in the period, which ended with the Tigers ahead 27-13.
St. Joseph closed within 38-27 entering the fourth quarter and twice got Ridgefield's lead down to five points. But the Tigers sealed the deal by hitting foul shots down the stretch. All nine of Ridgefield’s fourth-quarter points came from the foul line.
Katie Flynn scored 14 points and Megan Klosowski added 12 to lead the Tigers. Kate Wagner contributed seven points, while Kelly Chittenden (five points), Faith Arnold (three), and Cali Stietzel (two) also scored.
Klosowski and Wagner both hit 3-pointers in the first quarter for Ridgefield. In the second period, Klosowski scored off a fast break and was fouled, sinking the free throw for a 19-11 lead. Flynn later finished a break with a basket of her own for an 11-point cushion.
Anther Flynn transition bucket and a Wagner 3-pointer finished the first-half scoring.
Flynn’s jumper in the third quarter gave the Tigers their biggest lead at 17 points.
After St. Joseph got close late in the game, Klosowski hit clutch free throws, including the front end of several one-and-ones.
“We try to win the first three and the last two (minutes),” said Ridgefield coach Tom DiMarzo, referring to the start and finish of each quarter. “In the first half, we did that really well. Second half, not so much, but we built enough of a lead that we could hang on and get the victory.”
Despite seeing the Cadets get back into it, DiMarzo liked how his players pulled through.
“I was proud of their effort at the end. They stayed poised; they were able to hit some foul shots to push the lead and take home the win,” DiMarzo said.
Flynn not only led the scoring output, but also was a standout on defense, guarding St. Joseph's Emma Elrod closely throughout the contest. Elrod ended up with 11 points, all of which came in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Ridgefield's roster comprises only sophomores and juniors, and DiMarzo likes how his young squad is handling things as the postseason approaches.
“We’re starting to step up and play with a lot of poise, and that’s what we need,” DiMarzo said.