By Andy Hutchison
WESTPORT — Facing a nine-point deficit with a lot on the line, the Staples girls basketball team came from behind — from the free-throw line — to defeat visiting Fairfield Ludlowe 44-42 on Friday night.
Staples, in the process, kept its FCIAC Tournament hopes alive with two games left to play.
The Wreckers were down nine in the fourth quarter, but rallied behind Sarah VonDohlen (17 points in the game), Marley Belzer (all eight of her points in the final stanza) and Freya Harvey who scored the deciding points.
Harvey came up with a steal, was fouled, and hit both free throws to make the difference in the waning moments.
The Wreckers (9-9 overall, 7-6 in FCIAC play) must win at Trumbull at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, and then beat host Danbury at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, to keep their conference tourney chances going.
The team has already qualified for the state playoffs.
Staples stands in ninth place in the standings, with a trio of teams (Ludlowe, New Canaan and Wilton) all holding a one-game edge on the Wreckers who must overcome one of those squads to clinch the eighth and final tourney spot.
Taking a look at the two remaining squads on the schedule, Trumbull stands at 9-4 in the FCIAC and in fifth place in the standings, while Danbury is 4-7 in 11th place.
(Game schedules are subject to change; click for the latest CIAC updates.)
Andy Hutchison has been covering school sports — including Staples athletics — as well as news and feature stories in Fairfield County, since the 1990s.