Trumbull girls defeat Ridgefield in FCIAC tussle
TRUMBULL —Trumbull held a seven-point lead on Ridgefield with the clock ticking under three minutes when the FCIAC rivals met on Friday night.
The Tigers scored the next six points to draw within 35-34, but the Eagles made six consecutive free throws and came away with a 42-34 decision.
Emi Roberto (10 points) made a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left for a 37-34 lead. Grace Lesko rebounded a Tiger miss and Cassi Barbato converted four straight from the stripe.
“It was a good team win,” said Barbato, who finished with 11 points. “I think we are doing very well this season. We are starting out strong, hustling every game and playing hard. That is all the coaches and players can ask for from each other.”
Trumbull improved to 7-2. Ridgefield is 3-4.
“I told the girls after the Holiday Tournament that everyone on the schedule you can beat and every one on the schedule can beat you,” Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch said. “You saw it tonight, it was a one-point game with a minute to go. Give Ridgefield credit, we always have good battles with them. I’m real proud of my group.”
“What I love is the heart and the energy and the commitment to each other,” Ridgefield coach Rob Coloney said. “They don’t back down. Some team get behind, and 12 can turn into 20, especially against Trumbull which is so well coached. I’m proud of that (not backing down) and that keeps me going and keeps us going.”
Trumbull led 10-7 after one quarter, as Sarah Stolze scored five of her 11 points and assisted on a basket. Katie Flynn and Cara Sheafe had four points each for the Tigers.
The Eagles bolstered their advantage to 22-11 behind Roberto’s three hoops and sophomore classmate Emma Gentry’s 3-pointer off a Lesko assist.
Ridgefield mounted a comeback with Flynn scoring two baskets and Sheafe working hard to tally on rebound put backs in the closing seconds to make it 24-19 at the half.
Defense dominated the third quarter, with physical man coverage and tough zone press. Trumbull took a 32-25 edge into the final period.
“First thing I have to say is that I love this team,” Tobitsch said. “I feel that this team has brought energy to the gym every day. We start three sophomores, one senior, and essentially one returning starter from last year. Our bench is all sophomore and juniors. We are getting better.”
Coloney, in his first year at Ridgefield after taking a year off after coaching at Wilton for 8 years, the last three as head coach.
He said of the Tigers: “I think for me, coming into a completely new team and environment, I love their thirst to get better. We come here, we are down by a bunch and cut it to one. That’s because they believe in themselves. They are going to fight through...Scoring will come in time, getting a system in place.We’ll continue to put them in the best position to be successful. I commend them and Trumbull for the way they played tonight.”
Trumbull senior Maeve Hampford had 7 rebounds and Barbato had 5 assists.
Flynn, a second-team All-FCIAC selection as a sophomore, scored 12 points before missing the final 1:30 after a collision on an inbounds play.
Nearing the halfway point of the 20-game season, there is a logjam at the top of the West and East Division standings.
Entering the night, Staples (4-0) and Stamford (3-0) led the West, followed by 3-1 teams Trumbull, Danbury and Greenwich. In the East, Norwalk is first at 4-0 and St. Joseph and Darien are 3-1.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Both teams played outstanding defense, and transition play resulted in as many turnovers as points. The final vote goes to Trumbull junior reserve Grace Lesko. Her ability to stay in front of the ball and then close out quickly on passes made things difficult for Ridgefield.
“We haven’t been the most consistent team, I’m not going to lie. I saw it tonight. I saw moments where we had some lapses, and that is the youth in us. We have ups and downs.” — Trumbull coach Steve Tobitsch
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TRUMBULL 42, RIDGEFIELD 34
Emma Gentry: 1 0-1 3; Emi Roberto: 3 3-6 10; Sarah Stolze: 5 0-0 11; Amanda Ruchalski: 0 0-0 0; Maeve Hampford: 2 3-4 7; Sam Guimont: 0 0-0 0; Julia Lindwall: 0 0-0 0; Grace Lesko: 0 0-0 0; Cassi Barbato: 2 7-10 11; Brooke Guimont: 0 0-0 0
Team Totals: 13 13-21 42
Sydney Katz: 0 0-0 0; Katie Flynn: 6 0-0 12; Cara Sheafe: 3 1-2 7; Kate Wagner: 3 1-2 9; Siovhan Moroney: 0 1-2 1; Cameron McClellan: 0 0-0 0; Cali Stietzel: 0 4-8 4; Megan Koslowski: 0 0-0 0; Kaya Weiskopf: 0 1-2 1; Claire Tannian: 0 0-0 0; Kate Dowd: 0 0-0 0; Kate Garson: 0 0-0 0; Kelly Chittenden: 0 0-0 0
Team Totals: 12 8-16 34
Scoring by Quarters:
Ridgefield: 7 12 6 9 - 34
Trumbull: 10 14 8 10 - 42
Trumbull: Emma Gentry-1; Emi Roberto-1; Sarah Stolze-1
Ridgefield: Kate Wagner-2
Record: Ridgefield 3-4, Trumbull 7-2