Central outlasts Ridgefield

Cardillo here checking in after, well, there’s no way to sugarcoat it, Central’s ugly 57-49 win over Ridgefield.

Central's Marcus Blackwell

Read all about the details in my game story, here, should you so chose.

This game was probably coming for Central, which won its fourth straight after losing to Westhill two weeks ago. It’s not that the Hilltoppers played poorly, it’s more that they never got flowing offensively. That’s a credit to Ridgefield’s defense forcing Central into a lot of questionable shots.

It was one of those nights where neither team seemed to make consecutive baskets. Every rebound was contested. Jump balls left and right. One team would turn it over and immediately give it back to their opponent.

Of note for Central, junior point guard Tyler Ancrum picked up his second foul literally seconds into the second quarter, much to the dismay of coach Barry McLeod. The Hilltoppers are good, but only go — at best — eight deep. Ancrum is probably their only guy capable of running the point for an extended period, as the rest of Central’s point guards are young and untested.

“That’s a big thing,” McLeod said. ” That’s seven, eight games he’s gotten two fouls in the first quarter of play. He’s our only legitimate ball-handler. Against a team like that it’s almost unfair to throw (the young players) out there, but there’s nothing you can do.”

Central can enjoy the win, though, and a solid all-around night from Marcus Blackwell who displayed a nice inside/outside game on his way to 20 points.

Ridgefield, on the other hand, finishes a week which saw it begin with a return to the state Top 10 poll and end with a pair of losses. The defeats were to Trinity Catholic and Central — both on the road — which are understandable, but coach Carl Charles wants the losing streak to end as soon as possible.

“I’m very disappointed with what we did this week, with what happened Tuesday night I was hoping we’d get over that,” he said, miffed by his team’s 22 turnovers.

What Ridgefield does in the postseason will be worth watching. Star shooter Kurt Steidl and their 1-3-1 zone will make them a tough team to beat, but at the same time the Tigers need to make shots to be effective for 32 minutes. Steidl is very good and scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half Friday, but he can’t do it alone.

Ridgefield’s schedule does get much easier next week and the Tigers could be on another winning streak by the time it plays the FCIAC’s lone remaining unbeaten team, Westhill, on the last night of the regular season, Feb. 20 at home.

Chalk this one up to an off-night for both teams.

And let’s move on.