RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – The St. Mary’s of Ridgefield eighth-grade girls basketball team won the Fairfield County Basketball League championship Saturday with a 47-40 win over Norwalk.
St. Mary’s also defeated Bethel and Wilton en route to the championship and a 32-2 record for the season. Norwalk and Bethel were the only teams to beat St. Mary’s during the regular season. St. Mary’s also won tournaments in Ridgefield, Great Barrington, Mass., Trumbull and Brewster, N.Y.
All of the St. Mary’s girls are Ridgefield residents, coach Brian O’Hara said. The team also won the tournament title in fifth grade. The team lost in the playoffs each of the last two years playing against older competition.
“They definitely do make the coaches look good,’’ said O’Hara, who coaches the team with Rich Middlebrook. “It’s a group of athletic, competitive girls from top to bottom. There are four serious basketball players on the team, and the other girls play soccer or some other sport. It’s a team of athletic, competitive girls. We can sub five in and five out and not give up that much.”
O’Hara said he felt at the outset four years ago that the team had ability, but it exceeded expectations.
“We set up some games against good teams early on and I thought we might have something here,’’ O’Hara said. “Ridgefield has an advantage at the earlier ages, because the kids start in kindergarten and by fifth grade, they have a great background. The fact that they’ve been able to maintain it and be as dominant as they are is incredible.”
Members of the team are Alyssa Bonanno, Kelsey Bordash, Annie Hage, Katie Jasminski, Kaitlyn Kynast, Clara Lerchi, Julia Middlebrook, Elizabeth Middlebrook, Meaghan O'Hara, Ellen Pucel and Jane Searfoss.
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