DARIEN, Conn. Darien High girls basketball coach Gary Peterson had a simple game plan before Tuesdays game against Fairfield Warde. Win, Peterson said. We dont have any choice. We have to win the game.
The Blue Wave hung on for a 49-42 victory over the Mustangs and likely secured a playoff berth in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference tournament. The Blue Wave are 10-7 in the league and 11-8 overall heading into Wednesdays regular-season finale against Bassick (0-18). Darien will likely be seeded seventh or eighth.
Meg Marren scored 16 points and Kate Bushell added nine for Darien, which outscored Warde, 17-10, in the final quarter. The juniors combined for 10 of Dariens points in the final eight minutes.
Darien beat Wilton last week before losing to another playoff contender, Stamford, last Friday. But with the playoffs hanging in the balance Tuesday, Petersons team responded.
We did the same thing last year, Peterson said. They do what they have to do when they have to do it. They dont do it the easy way, but well take it any way we can get it.
Marrens basket with 5:22 to play snapped a 36-36 tie and put Darien ahead to stay. Bushell had the games biggest play, stealing an errant Warde pass and driving the length of the floor for a layup to put the Blue Wave up 40-36 with 4:34 remaining.
Warde was within 43-40 and had the ball with a minute remaining, but the Blue Wave forced one of Wardes 29 turnovers. Amy Biggart knocked home two free throws with 59 seconds left, and Darien went on to convert four free throws in the final minute. Darien won despite shooting just 13-for-29 from the foul line.
Darien honored seniors Leslie Yuen, Amy Biggart and her sister, Susan, before the game. Then the Blue Wave celebrated in style by virtually punching its playoff ticket for the second straight year.
Last year we played Trumbull in the first round, and they were unbeaten, Peterson said. This year we might get undefeated Danbury. Thats OK, as long as were in there.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.