Ridgefield falls to Stamford in FCIAC semis

A fourth-quarter rally didn't go far enough.

Trailing Stamford by 14 points, the Ridgefield High girls basketball team opened the final period on an 11-1 run to pull within 46-42. But the Black Knights were able to hold on for a 59-52 triumph in an FCIAC semifinal game Tuesday night at Fairfield Ludlowe.

Defending champ Stamford, the third seed, will now play top-seed Trumbull in the conference finals Thursday night at Fairfield Ludlowe.

Ridgefield (17-5), which was seeded second in the FCIAC playoffs, will get a short break before competing in the Class LL state tournament.

The Tigers were down 45-31 entering the final quarter. But Meaghan O'Hara's driving layup and Grace Goodwin's free throw narrowed Stamford's lead to 46-40 with 3:07 left. Goodwin then added a fastbreak layup off a pass from Julia Middlebrook to make it 46-42 with 2:51 remaining.

Stamford freshman guard Megan Landsiedel sank both ends of a one-and-one before O'Hara hit another driving layup to keep the Tigers within four, 48-44, with 2:20 left. But Andrea O'Connor's layup and Marthe Guirand's basket off an offensive rebound pushed Stamford's lead to 52-44, and the Black Knights then made their free throws to keep Ridgefield at bay.

O'Hara finished with 16 points to lead the Tigers. Goodwin added 13 points and Elizabeth Middlebrook had 10 points. Caroline Curnal (six points), Claire Middlebrook (five points) and Julia Middlebrook (two points) also scored for Ridgefield.

Junior point guard Brooke Kelly had a game-high 20 points for Stamford, which led 32-19 at halftime after holding Ridgefield to six points in the second quarter.

"The game was lost in the second quarter," said Ridgefield head coach Tom DiMarzo. "We missed a lot of shots and picked up a lot of stupid fouls. The girls were definitely jittery — it's a very tough atmosphere.

"Our season's not over," added DiMarzo. "Last year, Greenwich was killed in FCIACs, came into states as the 10th seed, and made it all the way to the (Class LL) finals. We have to lick the wounds and get back to work after a couple days of rest."

Notes: Both Elizabeth Middlebrook and Julia Middlebrook fouled out in the fourth quarter.

Trumbull defeated fifth-seed Fairfield Warde, 36-34, in three overtimes in the second semifinal.

Press Sports Reporter Jimmy Green contributed to this story.