FAIRFIELD — Whew.
That was the feeling Saturday night, after Fairfield Ludlowe’s game-winning attempt at the end of overtime missed and four FCIAC boys basketball tournament quarterfinal games that lasted 9 1/2 hours had come to a conclusion.
We have eight teams on the menu this week for The Ruden Report Team of the Week vote.
Your finalists are: the Stamford girls basketball, Greenwich boys swimming, Darien girls hockey, Trumbull boys basketball, Fairfield Warde boys basketball, Danbury boys basketball, Ridgefield boys hockey and St. Joseph boys hockey teams.
FAIRFIELD — Tiana England’s first shot Friday night barely glanced off the rim. Her next seven attempts also missed the mark.
Yet fittingly, when the FCIAC’s best player finally hit her first shot, a long 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the first half, it gave the Stamford High School girls basketball team a 21-20 lead over Fairfield Warde.
That the Black Knights were not trailing by a large margin spoke volumes about both England and her teammates, and was the reason a 37-year conference championship drought ended after a 56-48 win over the top-seeded Mustangs.
What has changed from our expectations two months ago?
Danbury was the preseason favorite and will be cast in the same role as the FCIAC boys basketball playoffs prepare to kick off Saturday afternoon. The Hatters and Trumbull have clearly established themselves as the teams to beat, but the gap is narrow.
In a top-heavy season where five schools entered this week’s FCIAC Tournament with reasonable hopes of winning the title, form has surprisingly held true.
The higher seed has won every game. On Friday night, top-seeded Fairfield Warde and No. 2 Stamford will play for the championship. It is a rematch of the 2009 final, won by the Mustangs, and the last time both schools advanced to the league’s marquee night.