NEW CANAAN — Needing every win it can get in order to make the FCIAC tournament, the Darien girls basketball team came out flat against rival New Canaan Thursday.
The Blue Wave scored just five points in the first quarter, but righted the ship enough to come away with a 42-30 road victory over the Rams.
“It was really important for us to win out for the rest of the season because that’s the only way we’re going to make FCIACs,” Darien senior captain Katie Ramsay said. “So, we knew we had to pick up the intensity really fast or else that goal of ours would not be possible.”
After a 5-4 first quarter, the teams traded buckets throughout the second, with each seemingly finding a little offensive rhythm.
Darien was able to finally separate itself in the final minute, getting 3-pointers from Gwen Dolce and Hailey King to take a 19-12 lead into the half.
“That was pretty big momentum,” Ramsay said. “We had a couple fast breaks and then Hailey hit a 3 and Gwen hit a 3 and that brought us ahead seven points before the half.”
Darien (9-9, 8-7 FCIAC) was able to keep the lead around 10 for the remainder of the game, largely using its defense to get out in transition.
“It’s easy when you’re getting some steals and layups,” Blue Wave coach Melba Chambers said. “And sometimes once you see the ball go in it changes your attitude about scoring.”
That was a large part of the problem for the Rams (3-14, 2-12), despite playing inspired defense led by Leigh and Jane Charlton, they rarely saw the ball go in the basket — which has really been par for the course all season.
“This whole year, if you look at all our box scores, it’s low scoring games,” New Canaan coach John Winchester said. “So that means we’re playing great defense, and when you’re trying to turn a whole program around defense is the easiest part you can turn around … I love how hard they play, but I wish they could get one more win.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ramsay, Darien. The senior forward led all scorers with 17 points and was instrumental in getting the Wave offense on track after a poor start.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
If Darien wants to make the conference tournament, it is going to need to find a way to be consistent night in and night out, something it’s struggled with thus far.
“I keep telling them we have to be consistent, every day we have to approach practice like a game,” Chambers said. “You practice harder, then the games are easier. Down the stretch, we have to have a killer instinct every game.”
Caity Blair provided an offensive spark off the bench for the Rams. The junior was the only New Canaan player to reach double-figures with a 10 point performance — including two 3s.
“Caity Blair can put it in the basket,” Winchester said. “…she had a great game, she’s been in here early getting up shots, after practice getting up shots, she’s putting the time in.
DARIEN 42, NEW CANAAN 30
DARIEN (9-9, 8-7 FCIAC)
Kelly Richter 1 1-2 4; Gwen Dolce 1 0-0 3; Lindsay Dimonekas 2 0-0 5; Caroline Krueger 0 2-4 2; Katie Ramsay 8 1-2 17; Christine Fiore 0 4-8 4; Rachel Stobbie 1 0-0 2; Hailey King 1 0-0 3; Hassana Arbubakkarr 1 0-0 2; Emma Blenke 0 0-1 0. Totals: 15 8-16 42.
NEW CANAAN (3-14; 2-12)
Emily Shizari 1 0-2 4; Maeve Selvaggi 1 1-2 3; Riana Afshar 2 0-0 5; Leigh Charlton 2 0-0 4; Quinn McKiernan 0 0-0 0; Eliza Pohle 0 0-0 0; Jane Charlton 2 0-3 4; Caity Blair 4 0-0 10. Totals: 13 1-7 30.
DARIEN 5 14 12 11-42
NEW CANAAN 4 8 8 10—30
3-pointers: D—Richter, Dolce, Dimonekas, King; NC—Afshar, Blair 2.