Danbury is the two-time defending champion and the No. 1 seed for this year’s FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament, which begins Saturday afternoon with quarterfinal games at Westhill.
While the Hatters, with an 18-1 record, remain the favorite, there has been more overall balance than at any time in recent memory. Just two games separated the Nos. 2-7 seeds in conference play. Trumbull, the No. 8 seed, had a 3-4 record against the rest of the field.
All of which makes this one of the most anticipated tournaments in recent memory.
Ed Huydic, who knows something about winning FCIAC championships, has agreed to break down each of the four games for The Ruden Report. Huydic just completed his 35th season as the coach at Staples, and has one state and four league titles.
By Ed Huydic
No. 3 Westhill (16-4, 14-4) vs. No. 6 Greenwich (15-5, 13-5), Noon. This is an exciting matchup. Both teams can play it slow or go up-tempo. The Cardinals’ combination of Abby Wolf, Caroline Beneville and Jamie Kockenmeister presents a dangerous high-octane inside-out force. Westhill will counter well with Tyler Evans, Steph Roones and Krystal Dixon. I have a feeling that the home court may play into the outcome for the Vikings. Then again, do the refs let them play on the inside? The whistle could be a difference maker in this one.
No. 2 Wilton (17-3, 15-3) vs. No. 7 Fairfield Ludlowe (15-5, 13-5), 2 p.m. Ludlowe, perhaps the strongest 7 seed this tournament has seen in many a year, may very well be the sleeper. Blessed with great speed and defensive focus, the Falcons are primed against the strong Warriors, a preseason tournament pick by many. Look for Wilton to go inside with Erica Meyer early and often. A hot perimeter game off of post kick-outs will go a long way toward a Wilton victory. This one may go right down to the last possession.
No. 4 Stamford (16-4, 14-4) vs. No. 5 Fairfield Warde (15-5, 14-4), 5 p.m. This one has all the makings of a blue-collar brawl. Both teams possess speed and defensive energy. However, it will be won or lost in the paint. There the Black Knights have the edge. Look for Warde to apply heavy pressure on Tiana England. If successful the Mustangs can get on a roll. True to a classic 4-5 matchup, every possession in this one may very well be crucial. That said, the winner will finish the second-chance points off the glass.
No. 1 Danbury (18-1, 16-1) vs. No. 8 Trumbull (12-8, 12-6), 7 p.m. The Hatters have been the model of consistency all season long on both ends of the floor, and know Trumbull well. The twins, Rebecca and Rachel Gartner, will need to handle the total Trumbull defensive blitz in order to advance. History suggests they will. But it will not come easy as Trumbull can and will play multiple defensive sets. Trumbull’s shooting against the Danbury zone will be an X factor. Things get real tight if Amanda Pfohl and company get hot early.