Darien High's girls basketball team did a terrific job handling New Canaan's high-scoring guard Sarah Mannelly, holding her to just 10 points. And sophomore Meg Marren exploded for 31 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Blue Wave, they still came up short, 46-44, on their home floor in a Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference contest.
"We had our opportunities, but we didn't finish in the first half, especially,'' Darien coach Gary Peterson said. Mannelly hit two 3-pointers in the opening minutes as the Rams (4-1) raced to an 8-0 lead. "If you forget about Mannelly, her teammates won't,'' Peterson said. "That's what we talked about at halftime."
Mannelly had eight at the half as the Rams built a 20-12 lead. Besides worrying about the New Canaan guard, Darien also had to find its offense. The Blue Wave were just 4-for-29 from the field in the first half, and Marren had 11 of the team's points.
Nicole Buch bothered Mannelly throughout the second half, but the Rams extended the lead. They were up 34-20 after three, and a basket by Hannah Ferria (nine points) gave New Canaan its largest lead, 36-20, in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
Marren's three-point play on the next trip down the floor ignited the Blue Wave. They scored 13 straight points and were within 36-33 with 4:01 left. The contest remained taut from there. Buch's 3-pointer with 15 seconds left cut New Canaan's lead to 46-44. After New Canaan missed a free throw with 11seconds left, Darien came down with a chance to tie or send the game into overtime. Buch's deep 3-pointer with the clock winding down was off the mark as time expired.
The loss overshadowed a dynamite performance by Marren. She had 13 field goals and was five-for-six from the foul line. She also was at the top of Darien's press in the final quarter when the Blue Wave made their comeback. "She's a handful down there," Peterson said. "She knows how to use her body to get her shot off."
In an equally splendid junior varsity game, New Canaan won, 28-27, on a layup at the buzzer by Ashton Underwood (15 points). The basket came after Sue Biggart (nine points) hit a three-pointer with five seconds left to give Darien the lead. Kelly Karczewski scored 11 points to lead Darien.
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