Greenwich basketball falls to Ridgefield in FCIAC finale thriller

The Greenwich High School girls basketball team was in a thriller down to the final seconds of the FCIAC championship game against Ridgefield. However, for the first time in nearly 20 years, the Ridgefield High girls basketball team is the FCIAC champion.

Just not without some sweaty palms and palpitations.

The Tigers held on for a 48-47 victory in Tuesday’s title game when Greenwich’s Leigh Galletta misfired on a running shot from half-court at the buzzer.

It was Ridgefield’s first conference championship since 1996.

Galletta’s miss came after Ridgefield’s Meaghan O’Hara missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2.5 seconds left.

The fourth quarter was nip-and-tuck throughout. Ridgefield, which entered the final eight minutes ahead 36-33, scored the first four points to open a 40-33 advantage. The Cardinals closed within 40-37 before Ridgefield  got a basket from Rebecca Lawrence to make it a five-point lead with 3:00 to play.

Galletta then scored for the Cardinals, and Lawrence answered with a basket to give Ridgefield a 44-39 lead with 2:09 left. But Greenwich then hit five free throws — three from Abbie Wolf — to tie the game at 44-44 with 44.5 seconds remaining.

Then came the pivotal sequence.

Jess Camarda found Andrea Bedard open underneath the basket to put Ridgefield in front 46-44. Following a Greenwich miss and foul, Camarda sank both ends of a one-and-one to push the Tigers’ lead to 48-44 with 15.5 seconds to play.

Greenwich stayed alive when Galletta nailed a three-pointer from the corner with three seconds to go. That led to a foul on the inbound play, O’Hara’s miss from the line, and Galletta’s miss at the buzzer.

Lawrence had 15 points to lead the Tigers and earn Most Valuable Player honors. Camarda and O’Hara each added 12 points.

Wolf scored a game-high 20 points for Greenwich.

Whether it was due to championship-game nerves or well-executed defense, both teams struggled mightily to score in the opening quarter, which ended in a 7-7 tie. Lawrence had all seven points for the Tigers and Wolf had four for Greenwich.

The Cardinals went ahead 16-12 midway through the second quarter when Emily Anderson converted an offensive rebound. But Ridgefield got a three-pointer from Jess Camarda, a layup from O’Hara, and a three-pointer from Mercede to go ahead, 20-16.

Then it was Greenwich’s turn. Wolf scored on a drive and Caroline Benneville added a layup to tie the score at 20-20 with under a minute to play. The Tigers missed two shots to keep the game tied at the half.

Camarda’s three-pointer with a minute left in the third quarter put Ridgefield ahead 36-33 going into the final quarter.

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