RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Ridgefield High School’s girls basketball team has already made noise around the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference this season. And with a lineup filled with underclassmen, the rest of the league will have to get used to it.
The Tigers dropped their latest game, a 42-40 setback to an improving Wilton High School squad on Thursday night. Ridgefield (3-2) already owns wins over Westhill, St. Joseph and Darien high schools, three squads that figure to be in the race for the league playoffs. They nearly had another one against Wilton.
“What I like is they’re a coachable team,’’ coach Katie Reed said. “They want to learn, they want to get better. I like that we have a structured offense but have different options off of it. Defensively, they’re ready to pressure, which is what we want. Pressure and go.”
Defense was not the problem for the Tigers in Thursday’s loss. Ridgefield forced 21 turnovers and held Wilton to 35 percent shooting. However, Ridgefield could not establish any offensive consistency and was beaten badly on the boards. Wilton’s Erica Meyer and Erin Cunningham combined for 25 points and 27 rebounds.
Sandy Carpenter scored 16 points to lead Ridgefield and Samarah Cook added nine. The Tigers had trouble generating anything inside. Two players, Emma Glubiak and Paige Andrews, a pair of junior forwards, missed the game with illness or injury. Freshman Rebecca Lawrence started at center.
“She’s working her butt off, but rebounding and scoring inside are going to be an issue for us,’’ Reed said. “We were a little short on the post tonight. We started a sophomore and a freshman on our front line. That’s hard.”
After going 7-13 last year, the Tigers look like an improved team that is going to be a factor in the league race. The Tigers averaged more than 16 wins a year under Smith for five straight years before last year and there is only one senior on her roster.
Lawrence is a good ball handler, Andrea Ferreo made honorable mention in all-league voting last year, and Lawrence is potential star. Cook came off the bench and showed an ability to penetrate against a tough Wilton defense.
There are going to be bumps on the road, but the Tigers are a team with a load of potential.
“We’re growing and we’re learning,’’ Reed said. “We’re a young team, and we’re going to have some growing pains. But we’re playing pretty well so far.”
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