Recently, I’ve fielded some complaints about a column that I did a week ago about the three girls basketball teams in Fairfield. Since each of them is scuffling, I deemed it fair to report about it.
After taking a second read of it, I stand by what I said. Warde, Ludlowe and ND are really struggling in girls basketball right now. Warde has won two of three, but those wins were against Westhill and Central. Ludlowe has lost four of five, with its only win coming against Harding. Notre Dame has now lost two straight and sits at 5-7 with wins over Barlow, SMSA (twice), New Milford and Oxford.
But it still might be a little harsh to say the things I said. The column is as follows:
Last year in our Winter Sports Preview, we featured how the Fairfield Warde and Ludlowe girls basketball teams were “scary good.”
This year they’re just scary to watch.
I know it is harsh to say, but the truth hurts sometimes. There were some catastrophic losses from both public squads, and from Notre Dame’s unit as well. Each team lost at least one college basketball player, and the squads are a far cry from the state playoff caliber that they were a year ago.
We’ll start with Warde, because the Mustangs’ dropoff has been far more dramatic than all others. It was well documented that the Mustangs had lost six seniors, three Division I caliber athletes and two college basketball players. But the Mustangs staff and team still entered with its trademark confidence and “33″ press defense and 15 wins was deemed the goal.
But what has happened is a completely different story. Warde has lost six of its last seven games and five in a row. Five losses in a row is a record for a Dave Danko coached team, and Warde hit a new low when it lost to rival Ludlowe for the first time since 2005 and then were drubbed by 36 points against Career Magnet.
Danko swears that just getting a win should be enough to get on a roll, but this team’s confidence looks severely beaten, especially on the offensive end. Don’t get me wrong, playing competitive games with FCIAC powers St. Joseph and Ridgefield shows signs of life. But, Warde’s younger players seem to be deferring to seniors Alex Aufiero and Ali Rocchi on the offensive end as opposed to creating offense for themselves. Balance never hurts in basketball.
“We’re looking for senior leadership,” Danko said.
Ludlowe has hit some skids as well, as the Falcons have lost four of their last five games. Ludlowe’s lone win in that stretch of games was against Warde. The Falcons have curiously stopped scoring as they have averaged just under 33 points per game in their four losses.
Sam Hickey’s scoring has dropped off since Ludlowe opened 3-3. Emily Armstrong is feeling compelled to take over games herself, which can work some nights. Other nights, like last Friday against Darien, not so much.
It’s strange because Ludlowe looked so balanced and team-oriented against Warde on Dec. 30. Yet in its three game losing streak, Ludlowe has been anything but a team.
Notre Dame has been nothing short of mediocre in the SWC this year thus far. ND sits at 4-5 after its 54-40 win against SMSA on Wednesday night.
The Lancers have struggled offensively without do-everything guard Rose Bajda. Notre Dame has won its three games by scoring an average of 37 points per game, which is not exactly a glowing endorsement of its offense.
Each team is exceedingly fortunate that its league is down. If the FCIAC were having a banner year, Warde and Ludlowe could be winless. Only one of Notre Dame’s win is even technically a conference win since SMSA isn’t an SWC school and the Lancers’ win over Barlow came in the first round of the Appalachia Tournament.
I don’t wish ill on any of the town teams, and I certainly don’t wish ill on the girls basketball teams. Here’s hoping that at least two reach the states.
Because no one wants to be known as scary.
I leave it to you. Pass or fail, was I fair to write what I did, or was I too harsh on the girls basketball teams? I look forward to your responses.