Ridgefield's year ends with state loss to Southington

Known for its stingy defense, the Ridgefield High girls basketball team allowed 70 points for the first time this season Tuesday night.

It turned out to be the last game the Tigers will play until next season.

Hitting outside shots with impunity, 23rd-seed Southington defeated 10th-seed Ridgefield in the first round of the Class LL state tournament at Ridgefield High. The Tigers, who were coming off a loss to Stamford in the conference semifinals, ended the season with a 17-6 record.

"We gave up 70 points ... that was the downfall of the game," said Ridgefield head coach Tom DiMarzo. "Championship teams don't give up that much."

Ridgefield got off to a good start, taking a 22-18 lead at the end of the first quarter behind 15 combined points from Caroline Curnal and Grace Goodwin. But even though the hosts were ahead, there was an ominous sign: Southington sank five-of-seven three-point shots in the opening eight minutes.

The Tigers stayed in front until the latter stage of the second quarter. Trailing 26-24, Southington went on a 9-0 run that led to a 33-28 advantage at halftime.

The Blue Knights extended their lead to 48-42 through three quarters and didn't allow a Ridgefield comeback in the final period.

"They are a great team, even with a record of 12-9," said DiMarzo about Southington, which played a demanding regular-season schedule.

Curnal finished with a team-high 15 points for Ridgefield. Meaghan O'Hara added 13 points before fouling out, and Goodwin and Elizabeth Middlebrook each scored nine points. Julia Middlebrook contributed seven points, while Claire Middlebrook (three points), Karley Smith (two points) and Caeleigh Tannian (two points) also scored for the Tigers.

Junior Janette Wadolowski had 33 points for Southington, which will now play seventh-seed Hall in the second round.

The loss marked the final game for five Ridgefield seniors: Elizabeth Middlebrook, Julia Middlebrook, O'Hara, Goodwin, and Tannian.

"I'm proud of my seniors and what we accomplished this year," said DiMarzo. "They led this team and had a great season."