STAMFORD — On paper, a 7-0 record looks like a lovely and simple accomplishment.
What you don’t see on paper, is the effort, work ethic and emotion responsible for the state of perfection.
The Stamford girls basketball team had to slog and toil with amazing grit to finally vanquish Ludlowe, 37-32 Friday night at Paul Kuczo Memorial Gym.
“Ludlowe is so tough. They play so hard,” Stamford coach Diane Burns said. “For us, to match their intensity on defense was a big goal tonight. Collectively, we were so focused.”
There were no easy baskets as Stamford (7-0, 4-0 FCIAC) led 9-4 after one, 14-10 at halftime and 21-18 after three quarters.
There were a combined 30 points of offense in the fourth quarter because Stamford was in the bonus throughout the last eight minutes while Ludlowe enjoyed that over the final 3:30.
Stamford’s defense, besides forcing turnovers, limited Ludlowe to just one 3-pointer in the contest.
The other key for the Black Knights was their senior leadership as Stamford captains Megan Landsiedel and Jessica Nelson took control in the fourth quarter.
Landsiedel scored all 12 of her points in the second half including eight in the fourth quarter. She made six of eight free throws as Stamford led from opening tip to final buzzer.
Nelson had six of her eight points in the fourth period. A 3-pointer early and a steal and basket lifted Stamford to a 30-23 advantage with 5:10 to go.
“The clutch free throws were good to see,” Stamford’s Burns said. “The group is getting better each day. We are fortunate to be 7-0. We are still putting the pieces together. Our offense has room to grow. But our defensive toughness shows. We have depth so we have options. We’re still adjusting to roles. We just look to improve a day at a time.”
Ludlowe would only get as close as 34-32 with 21 seconds left.
Ludlowe (2-5, 1-4 FCIAC) suffered its second straight tough loss. The Falcons fell 46-44 in overtime to Trumbull last Friday.
Juniors Emma Torello (nine points), Anna Paulmann (eight points) and freshman Kaleigh Sommers (eight points) paced the attack for undersized Ludlowe.
PLAYER OF GAME
Stamford’s Megan Landsiedel: The senior scored all of her game-high 12 points in the second half to go along with three assists.
“The key takeaway from tonight is we can hang with any top team in the FCIAC,” said Ludlowe coach Sara Kinsley. “Our mental toughness is a strength. Our execution at the end of games is important. We look to carry our effort forward.”
STAMFORD 37, LUDLOWE 32
LUDLOWE 4 6 8 14—32
STAMFORD 9 5 7 16—37
LUDLOWE (2-5, 1-4 FCIAC)
Anna Paulmann 3 2-4 8 Emma Torello 3 2-2 9 Juliet Bucher 1 0-0 2 Sophia Lemley 0 0-0 0 Laura Herron 0 0-0 0 Ira Boci 0 0-0 0 Kaleigh Sommers 2 4-4 8 Caitlin Finnegan 0 0-2 0 Madison Roman 1 3-4 5. Totals: 10 11-16 32.
STAMFORD (7-0, 4-0 FCIAC)
Megan Landsiedel 3 6-8 12 Jessica Nelson 3 1-3 8 Dina Merone 1 0-0 2 Charlie Karukas 1 0-0 2 Madison Lockery 2 2-2 8 Emily Graham 0 2-4 2 Carly Diamond 0 0-0 0 Widline Thomas 0 0-0 0 Sam Albert 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 11-17 37.
3-Pointers: L—Torello. S—Nelson, Lockery 2, Albert.