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Darien Girls Take Step Closer to League Playoffs

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien High girls basketball coach Gary Peterson had a simple game plan before Tuesday’s game against Fairfield Warde. “Win,’’ Peterson said. “We don’t 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 Wednesday’s 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 Darien’s 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, Peterson’s 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 don’t do it the easy way, but we’ll take it any way we can get it.”

Marren’s basket with 5:22 to play snapped a 36-36 tie and put Darien ahead to stay. Bushell had the game’s 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 Warde’s 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. That’s OK, as long as we’re in there.”

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