STAMFORD — After 18 days and watching four games from the sideline, there was no place that Megan Landsiedel wanted to be except on a basketball court competing for victory.
“It felt so good to be out there again. I got so anxious only being able to watch from the bench,” Landsiedel said.
The Stamford High School girls basketball team was thrilled to welcome its leading scorer back into the fray of the 2018-19 season last Wednesday night as the Black Knights posted a 44-32 non-league home win over Norwich Free Academy at Paul Kuczo gym.
“It was nice to have everybody out there,” said Stamford High’s veteran coach Diane Burns. “Megan brought a lot of leadership. It helped our more experienced players be bigger factors.”
The expected rust from a long hiatus showed up in the first half. But Landsiedel scored 10 of her game-high 13 points in the second half, including four straight critical free throws in the closing minute.
“I had hoped to be a bit sharper early. I did shoot for a while in the gym last Tuesday (New Year’s Day),” Landsiedel said. “But my teammates were so supportive. They told me to keep shooting.”
Landsiedel made her biggest impact early on defense as the aggressive SHS press forced turnovers against a young and shorter NFA squad. Stamford led 10-4 after one quarter, 20-11 at halftime and 32-21 after three periods.
Although returning from shoulder woes, the passing of Landsiedel and fellow junior guard Jessica Nelson gave Stamford a number of open 3-point attempts over the NFA zone.
SHS finished with five 3-pointers from five different players. However, a number of other tries went in and out as if there was a lid on the basket.
Stamford was 1-3 in games that Landsiedel missed. She was hurt in the first half of the Dec. 14 contest against intracity rival Trinity Catholic. The Crusaders rallied in the second half to defeat SHS.
Landsiedel’s absence did have a silver lining for Stamford.
“The injury opened up playing time for others. It was an opportunity for our freshmen (Charlie Karukas, Madison Lockery, Leonora Lipson) to grow up fast,” Landsiedel said. “Now we just have to put the group and our system back together.”
Perhaps the biggest test for Landsiedel will be how she reacts to playing back to back nights. Stamford traveled to meet Fairfield Ludlowe Thursday night.
“It was good to play again. Playing against NFA was a good way to get my feet wet,” Landsiedel said. “I feel I’m at least 75 percent back, maybe more. Practice time down the road will help as well.”