In an up and down season, the Darien High School girls basketball team picked the perfect night to be up. The Blue Wave needed a perfect storm of wins and losses to sneak into the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference tournamentand they got it.
Sophomore center Kate Bushell lit up the court with a game-high 20 points as Darien downed a sloppy Westhill squad, 46-34. Combined with a Norwalk win and a Wilton loss, Darien eliminated the Vikings and clinched their first FCIAC playoff spot in nearly 10 years.
"[Darien senior captain] Nicole Buch has been telling us 'refuse to lose' all week," Bushell said. "The team is usually carrying my weight so it was nice to be able to return the favor tonight. I'm used to shooting from the outside so it was great to penetrate and get some low shots."
After a very slow start that saw only nine total points scored in the first quarter, Darien turned to Bushell, who was nearly perfect from the field. Bushell netted nine of her 20 points to pull away from Westhill at the half. The game eventually came down to Darien making thits eir shots and Westhill not being able to get theirs to fall. Westhill never got closer than six points in the second half.
Buch came alive in the second half, scoring nine of her 13 points in the final two quarters. After being knocked literally head over heels on a hard foul, Buch sank two free throws to ice the game for the Blue Wave. Buch was the emotional fire to Bushell calm and collected attack, both combining for 13 rebounds. Meg Marren also contributed eight points.
"They had no chance. We weren't going to let them come back," Buch said. "It is huge to get into FCIACs. We really bared down and picked up the defense when we needed it most."
Darien (11-7, 13-7 overall) claims the eighth seed in the girls basketball FCIAC tournament . They will take on top ranked and undefeated Trumbull on Saturday.
Do you think Darien can beat undefeated Trumbull in the first round of the FCIAC tournament? Start the discussion below!
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