RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Five games into the season, the Ridgefield’s boys' basketball team already has established itself as one of the best defensive teams in the state.
The Tigers (4-1) put on another defensive clinic in Thursday’s 56-37 non-league win against Weston (2-1). It was the lowest point total for the Trojans in more than three years and the third time already this season Ridgefield has kept an opponent to less than 40 points.
“Defense has always been our calling card,’’ Ridgefield coach Carl Charles said.
Ridgefield gave the Trojans a variety of looks, and Weston had difficulty solving each. The Trojans came into the game averaging 74 points per game in two victories. Charlie DiPasquale and Asher Lee-Tyson, who combined for an average of 41 points in the first two wins, managed just 13 against the Tigers. They were not the first team to struggle to find an offensive rhythm against the Tigers this season and certainly won't be the last.
“We were concerned about DiPasquale so we mixed it up and did a little bit of everything,’’ Charles said. “Our 1-3-1 halfcourt trap is our bread and butter, but we played a matchup zone, a little man-to-man. You have to do anything you can to disrupt the other team’s offensive flow.”
That’s hardly a problem for the Tigers, who are aggressive, long and athletic. Weston had trouble penetrating inside Ridgefield’s zone, and frequently missed the mark on perimeter jumpers.
Ridgefield struggled on the offensive side most of the night as well. Kurt Stiedl finished with 19 points and Jeff Racy added 11. Patrick Racy chipped in with nine.
Charles believes the Tigers have enough offensive weapons around Steidl, who has committed to the University of Vermont, to be a factor in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The Tigers' only loss was a 48-42 decision to undefeated St. Joseph in the first game of the season.
“We have other kids that are capable of scoring,’’ Charles said. “We just have to get back to practice and keep working.”
Ridgefield reached the quarterfinals of the Class LL tournament last season en route to an 18-7 record. The Tigers return to the court Jan. 4 at Greenwich and then meet Staples and Norwalk. That three-game stretch could go a long way to determining where the Tigers stack up against the league’s upper echelon.
“The whole thing is we want to improve each and every night,’’ Charles said. “If we can come out of every game and say we got a little better, that’s our goal.”
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