Ridgefield bounces back to top McMahon

With so many teams bunched up atop the FCIAC boys’ basketball standings, every conference win is crucial.

Coming off a tough loss last time out, Ridgefield (8-2) bounced back with a 67-56 victory over Brien McMahon fueled by a 21-point fourth quarter Friday night.

“We had a bad taste in our mouth from Tuesday night,” Ridgefield coach Andrew McClellan said. “We didn’t play well, Trinity really outplayed us so when that happens you want to get back on the court as soon as possible.”

The Tigers were led by senior Luke McGarrity who scored 20 points, 11 of which came in the final quarter. Ridgefield was solid from the free-throw line as a whole, making 29 of 38 attempts.

“We knew they were going to be a great team and we had a tough one last game so we had to come out strong,” McGarrity said. “We had to execute, play our game and we were all able to do that.”

The teams essentially matched each other point for point throughout the first half but Ridgefield entered the locker room with some momentum after a 6-0 run was capped off by a John Briody buzzer-beater for a 27-25 lead.

“I think at the end of the first half is really when we kind of planted a seed of negativity,” McMahon coach Joe LaPrad said. “We had the ball at the end of the quarter, turned it over, ran the clock down 15 seconds, turned it over again. They got the ball and scored, we turned it over on the inbound and it turned into a six-point swing quickly. During halftime, it kind of festered and blossomed into something that we didn’t quite want. We are right there, I think more we lost it today than they won it.”

Ridgefield began to separate in the third quarter, outscoring McMahon 19-14 behind 11 made free throws in 12 attempts.

“We have had a couple games where we haven’t shot the ball (well) from the free-throw line,” McClellan said. “One of the things that we talked about tonight was getting to the line. I think McMahon does a really good job of getting to the free-throw line. We call them easy baskets, they score in transition, they get to the free-throw line, they offensive rebound and I thought we out easy basket-ed them. It was a physical game and we took advantage.”

Ridgefield continued to roll in the fourth quarter behind the strong play of McGarrity, stretching the lead to 11 points and holding on until the end.

“I was a little frustrated with them after the second quarter because I felt like we were being a little too aggressive trying so score off one pass or trying to create stuff,” McClellan said. “Then I thought in the third quarter especially and into the fourth quarter we just kind of shared the balls and openings came with their skill. We shared the ball and that gave us a little bit of an offensive lead and then we got enough stops to separate us from them a little bit.”

Ridgefield (8-2) had its six-game winning streak snapped last time out but will look to build another streak off its win.

McMahon (6-3) will look to rebound against Staples Monday.