Tuesday, February 27, 2018

JV Girls Basketball Plays Strongly in Last Game

By Natalie Vasileff

The hardworking JV Girls Basketball team of Darien High School just faced a tough match against the ladies of Westhill this past Wednesday, the 14th of February. Despite losing to a close score, this was arguably the best game the girls had this season. While starting off slow in the beginning, the team quickly caught up with Westhill. Their low score of 2 - 10 quickly rose up to 10 - 14 just before halftime. With many of the girls on the Westhill team also on Varsity, the DHS girls stood their ground and gave all of their effort. It was agreed that everyone played their hearts out and showed the best communication skills yet. Considering defense, it was its best performance this season. Everyone showed true strength in letting the guards know what was going on and gave them many opportunities for fast breaks and the ability to steal during a lot of moments. However, offensively, shots were not falling even though the team players had strong aggression and momentum. In the second half, the team showed immense determination and skill, leaving the final score at 26 - 33.

Junior Penn Boucher, captain of the team, recalls wholeheartedly: “Despite losing, the team left everything on the court and put in 110% effort. Unfortunately, the ball just didn’t go in when we needed it too but we are still very proud of everyone. It was a great game.”

The team looks to get a rebound late in the game. 
Mostly due to a lot of pressure, a lot of attempted shots were sadly not in the team’s favor. Additionally, the team does confirm that they need to practice more bounce passes when they play another rough game like this one. Team communication and support definitely showed the most in this game, though. The girls on the team have some of the closest bonds anyone could ever see on the court. “We are all very close friends. We always show a lot of support for each other.” says sophomore player, Maggie Moffatt. “I appreciate how close everyone has gotten. I’d trust them with anything.”

Coco Jepson, a sophomore player that was injured, had a good chance to evaluate the game from the bench and provided a great perspective. “We definitely struggled to put in some shots. Something we could have done better would have been to outsmart Westhill and think in advance.” she said. “I’m still extremely proud of how we played. We were putting it all on the court and showed all effort. We showed true sportsmanship and teamwork. That’s what I’m proud of the most.”

“Coach Ian was really proud of us and I’ll even say he will miss us a little next year,” Emma Blenke, another player on the team said . “He agrees in saying this was one of, if not the best, game we have played. He was one of the best coaches ever. He was incredibly supportive and understanding and was always optimistic.”

 The way th team works together and the close bonds the girls have built still outshines any loss. “This was definitely our best game and it wasn’t just the best because of our incredible defense and heart on the court,” Emma recalls, “but because you got to see the improvement of everyone and the energy of the gym by the end of the game. We have showed the enthusiasm and love of our team and program.”

Friday, February 16, 2018

Boys Varsity Swim and Dive Loses to Ridgefield

By Isa Nuissl

On Monday, February 12th the Darien Boys Varsity Swim and Dive teamlost their meet at Ridgefield, the number one team in the state. The Blue Wave has been having a relatively successful season, tying the Greenwich Cardinals for the first time in 50 years. The Ridgefield Tigers, however, were too much for the Blue Wave, swiftly defeating them in the Blue Wave’s biggest loss of the season. In the swimming events, Ridgefield showed incredible strength; with two swimmers on the junior national squad (basically meaning they are future olympic prospects), it was hard for the wave to keep up. In the diving events, however, the Blue Wave showed its strength against the Tigers, placing first, second, and fourth. Owen Stevens won the event with a score of 323, and Wiley Schmidt took second with a score of 295. Jackson Major took fourth. With the Ridgefield meet being the last of the duel meet season, the Blue Wave divers finished the season with a win in every single diving event. The Blue Wave is now preparing for the FCIAC Championships, with the diving championships being on February 28th at Westhill High School and the swimming championships in early March. The swim team also had a tough day losing 109-79 in what was an unlucky day for the Blue Wave.

Darien still has a little less than half their season remaining but they need to get over the hump and start taking care of teams.

Make sure you come out and support the Blue Wave for their states games in the upcoming weeks!

Boys Varsity Hockey Stays on Hot Streak Against Fairfield

By Alix Platt

Seniors Hunter Hazelton and Will Johnston
celebrating a goal. 
This Monday, February 12, the Darien Boys Varsity Hockey Team played Fairfield Hockey Team. The varsity hockey won 5-1, having the one shot against them be a penalty. The goals were scored by senior captain Connor McCarthy, who netted two within the second period, junior Hudson Pokorny, assisted by senior Parker Mclane, and junior CJ Hathaway. The captains are Connor McCarthy, Hunter Hazelton, and Will Dickson who carried the team through 8-8-1 record this season. Senior Will Culliton says, “It was an awesome game considering how good the goals were.” The hockey team will be playing again tomorrow, Friday, February 16th. Go cheer them on against Ridgefield!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Girls Basketball Beats Harding High

By Brianna Lyons

Like the famous saying goes, history may repeat itself.  32 years ago, Darien girls’ basketball went all the way and won FCIAC, becoming the first Darien Girls Basketball team to ever have won the tournament. With every win, the team slowly inches their way into making FCIAC. Nothing is official yet. According to coach Chambers, “they are waiting to see the outcome of another team’s  games to try and steal a spot in the tournament.” Darien Girls basketball has already qualified for States, and we are all rooting for them to succeed in showing the rest of Connecticut what the Wave stands for.
The Darien girls’ basketball team proves that they are ready for states with a smashing victory against Harding High. The team worked incredible well together, passing the ball nicely, and giving everyone a chance to shoot. In the beginning of the game, the score was pretty much even. It was 12- 11 Darien. With a quick chat from Coach Chambers, the team slowly widened their lead in the second quarter, bringing the score to read 26-16 Darien. During the second quarter we saw a change in defense that allowed for the Wave to pressure the ball full court. This caused Harding to feel pressured, and many turnovers occurred allowing Darien to take the lead.
In the third quarter, Darien picked up the pace quite a lot. Headed by captains Chrissie Fiore, Katie Ramsey, and Hailey King, Darien started to dominate the game bringing the score at the end of the third quarter read 40-20. With a quick huddle, the Blue Wave came back on the court with a plan to win the fourth quarter and the game. In the fourth quarter they set up a 3-2 defense that forced Harding to make terrible passes that allowed Darien the chance to widen their lead. In the end, Darien came out victorious beating Harding 69- 28.
Many of the girls on the team agree that it was the teamwork and the incredible coaching that brought Darien to victory.
“We had incredible defense today, and most of our shots were going in,” Lexis Witkowski a freshman on the team said.

"It’s really nice that we get to come support the JV and Varsity Girls’ Basketball teams,” Lily Haught, a freshman said.

Without a doubt, the Girls’ basketball team is an incredible force. With the mix of teamwork, hard work, and a great coaching staff, Darien girls’ basketball is set to do incredible things.
Senior Christine Fiore goes up for a shot earlier this season. (Courtesy DAF) 

Varsity Boys Basketball Wins Big in Silent Night Game

By Will Pegler

The Boys Varsity Basketball team took on New Canaan in the annual "Silent Night" game this past Thursday, February 8th at the Darien High School gym. The Blue Wave student section was instructed to wear ridiculous costumes and stay absolutely silent until Darien scored their 7th point, upon which they would go crazy. The Wave got to 7 points on a Will Rolapp three pointer halfway through the first quarter and the student section did in fact go crazy. Despite a lot of momentum on the Wave's side, New Canaan was able to hang around throughout the first half with timely three's and strong defense.

Senior Andrew Darby said about the first half, "We definitely got off to a sluggish start. We made some sloppy passes and dumb shots, but once we got settled in the game was ours." The Blue Wave's offense definitely looked slow in the first half, as they were held to just 14 points and were down five at halftime.

The 3rd quarter can best be described as fast and furious, with a lot of scoring coming from both sides and a lack of strong defense. New Canaan continued to hit a lot of 3's, mostly from junior Ben Sarda, while the Wave's offense was predicated on transition buckets and hustle for offensive rebounds. The game went into the 4th quarter tied at 32 apiece.

Junior Will Rolapp shuts off a New Canaan player from scoring.
(Courtesy Darien Times) 
In the 4th, the Wave's offense continued to roll while New Canaan's was left at a standstill. Senior Mitchell Pryor was consistently bringing in offensive rebounds and fueling second chance opportunities for the Wave, while guard's Justin Jordan, Will Rolapp, and Henry Williams were able to hit plenty of open shots. Darien ended up putting up a staggering 17 points in the 4th quarter before New Canaan could put up any, giving them a 49-32 lead with just a few minutes to go.

The Rams tried to fight back, but Darien's strong defense, highlighted by junior Peter Brehdal, gave them no room to breathe or even come close to shortening the lead. The final score of the game was 56-41 and was the Wave's 4th win in a row.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Darien Crushes Long Time Rival New Canaan in Ice Hockey

By Julia Clarke

This past Friday at Darien Ice Rink, Darien beat New Canaan 3-2 overtime, with amazing plays against out biggest rival- New Canaan.
Will Dickson a senior on the team scored the first goal in the second period putting us in the lead. Slowly, New Canaan scored the next two goals setting the score as 1-2. In efforts to score, Darien pulled their goalie with a minute left and Dickson again scored a five hole with a minute left, sending the game to overtime.
Junior goalie Henri Pfeifle makes a save
in the Wave's other win over New Canaan earlier
this season. (Courtesy DAF) 
Sophomore Bennet McDermott scored with three minutes left in overtime with a no look slap shot from the top of the circle, ending the game 3-2 Darien.
“The game was a blast and a much needed win. Our goalie Henry Pfeifle played awesome with a total of 25 saves. I expect a lot more wins from this team” senior player Will Culliton said.
Catch Blue Wave Ice Hockey this Monday home, against Fairfield Ludlowe.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

11/12 House Ball Power Rankings: Regular Season Wrap Up

By Will Pegler

The regular season finished up this past Wednesday and did not disappoint. With a few upsets and a game that went to triple overtime, it set up as a perfect preview for how the playoffs will play out. Here are the final regular season power rankings.

( ) indicates previous ranking; [ ] indicates record

1. Nets (2) [10-2]
The Nets are one of two teams who will have a bye this Sunday, and it is certainly well deserved. On offense they aren't extremely dominant, but with the lowest amount of points against in the league, their stout defensive play has carried them thus far. Will Rooney is obviously a big time rebounder, but players such as David Volz and Connor Tienken will need to step up in playoff time as well if they want to win a championship. From an emotional standpoint, Hank Rech will look to be a leader in the huddle for the Nets with probably an electric pre-game speech or two. The Nets will play the winner of the Warriors vs. Rockets.

2. Cavaliers (1) [10-2]
The Cavs are coming off a wild loss in triple OT to the Suns, but they still have earned a bye this Sunday. The first word I would use to describe this team is experienced. Justin Vandy Graf and Alex Murray are two very experienced house ball players whose aggressive style of play fits well into playoff basketball. Cason Stone also adds another element of athleticism that make this team scary to defend. The other Stone brother, who goes by Matthew, can be wet from three and is also a pretty funny guy who can keep things loose, a real guy's guy. Locker room guys like that are huge in the playoffs. The Cavs will play the winner of the Spurs vs. Raptors.

3. Suns (4) [7-5]
Glen Fay is the best shooter in this league. The kid hit five threes in a row to lead his team over the Cavs in a 3 OT debacle. Other than Fay, the Suns have arguably the best big man in the league in Teddy Brannigan along with Willie Keating, as well as a ton of great athletes such as Pete Guttuso and Max Grant. On defense, the Suns have players such as Connor Percarpio and Bruce Ferguson to shut down other teams. I'm not sure how this stacked team has five losses, but they are definitely poised to make a run in the playoffs. They will take on the Hornets in round one of the playoffs.

4. Knicks (3) [8-4]
I'm hesitant to put this team at the four spot because of the fact that they've lost their past two games, one of them being against the Warriors, but they still have a great record and plenty of solid players to make them one of the better teams in the league. Craig Triano is the MVP of this team and has plenty of house playoff experience to lead the Knicks on a long run. Cam Raia and Jack Bogdan are also solid guards that will have to help Triano make some plays, while big man Jackson Mcnear looks to step up on the boards. The Knicks will take on the Tommy Hellman led Celtics in what should be an interesting playoff matchup.

5. Hornets (6) [7-5]
I'm still not sure what to say about the Hornets. Big man Mike Neary is obviously a force on both sides of the ball, and he will need to step up if the Hornets want to make a run in the playoffs. Point guard John Gianattasio back from the IR after suffering from mono about a month, so that should add another element to the team's offense. Harry Rayhill and head coach Brian Rayhill are a long time player-coach duo who each have long house ball career's. We'll see if the Rayhill dynasty will be able to bring home one more ring, but they have a tough first matchup against the Suns in the first round.

6. Spurs (7) [5-7]
If the Spurs get their shooting going they are an extremely tough team to stop. Obviously Fin Batson is a great shooter, but other guys like Max Gasvoda, Scott McGraw, and Jack "Texas Forever" (shoutout Tim Riggins) Cronin have hit some huge shots for this team. The Spurs also have some size in Will Wilson and Sean O'Malley, both of whom have been able to grab a lot of rebounds and handle other teams big men. The Spurs got pretty lucky and get to face the Raptors this Sunday, which should be a win. (sorry Raptors)

7. Celtics (5) [6-6]
The Celtics came out of the gate hot this season, but they have since lost five of their last six games. Tommy Hellman is the squad's clear leader in terms of scoring, but players such as Ryan Griffin and Nate Hadlow have also stepped up. Chuck Zuro looks to add size to for the Celtics, but in recent games he has gotten himself into foul trouble early and has struggled. If Zuro can start to get more rebounds for this team and Hellman continues to be a strong scorer they could make a run, but they have also struggled with getting guys to show up, as they have been forced to play a few games with only four players. They will certainly need their full roster against a strong Knicks team this Sunday.

8. Warriors (9) [4-8]
The Warriors had their all of their key players for the first time all season this past Wednesday, beating the Knicks by four in what was a huge win for the team. Charlie Olsen and Kevin Grune are both strong scorers who look to lead the team in a deep playoff run, while Henry Nolte will try to hold down the paint for the Warriors. Strong defense will be provided from Connor Olson, whose soccer skills have translated well to the basketball court, along with Paul Ridder and Jack Gordon. Will Rehm has been a clutch three point shooter for the Warriors all year, he will look to continue this trend throughout the playoffs. The Warriors will need to shut down Jack Joyce when they play the Rockets this Sunday.

9. Rockets (8) [2-10]
This team's success all depends on Jack Joyce. If Joyce struggles, they don't win. If Joyce does well, they might win. Tommy Reilley and Andrew Lucas look to help out on the offensive side of the ball, while also providing some strength on defense. The Rockets will need guys like this to step up if they want to beat the Warriors this Sunday.

10. Raptors (10) [1-11]
It's been a tough season for the Raptors. Cole Stevenson and Andrew Donovan have done their best to get some scoring going for the team, but they haven't been able to find much consistency. Charlie Baylis and Dillon O'Shea have made some plays on defense, but not enough to put together a couple of wins. They will need some luck to take down the Spurs this Sunday.

Playoff Predictions: (quick note: not all playoff seeds are the same as the power rankings, for some reason the YMCA doesn't listen to me)

Sunday, 9:00 AM Warriors (8) vs. Rockets (9) : The Rockets hang with the Warriors in the first half, but the Warriors' offensive weapons are too much for Jack Joyce to hang with. Golden State wins by at least eight.

Sunday, 9:00 AM Spurs (7) vs. Raptors (10): The Spurs come out of the gate hot from three and get off to a big lead. The Raptors try to fight their way back, but the Spurs size in Wilson and O'Malley shuts them down. San Antonio by double digits.

Sunday, 10:00 AM Hornets (4) vs. Suns (5): Mike Neary and Teddy Brannigan battle all day in the big man matchup of the year, but the real story ends up being Glen Fay's shooting. Fay leads the Suns in scoring while Peter Guttuso's game managing abilities puts the game away. Phoenix wins in a close one.

Sunday, 10:00 AM Knicks (3) vs. Celtics (6): This is the best game of the first round. Craig Triano and Tommy Hellman go back and forth all day, leading to overtime. Cam Raia is able to find Triano open in the corner for a three pointer and Triano nails it with seconds left in OT, giving the Knicks the win. Craig "Pizza Boy" pulls a slice of Planet Pizza out of his pocket and scarves it down to celebrate right on the court.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Boys Swimming Bests Danbury

By Scotty Tuck

On Thursday, February 1st, the Darien High School Boys Swim and Dive team won their meet against Danbury. The previously 5-1-1 team lead by captains Chris Zhang, Connor Henry, Kevin Grune, Alex Dehmel, and Brendan Ross went into the meet confidently, having tied powerhouse Greenwich High School  and experiencing a very successful season thus far. For Darien the meet was strong throughout, as the team scored first in every event except for the 100 Butterfly. This win increases Darien’s record to 6-1-1, and gives them confidence as they head into the tail end of the regular dual meet season.

Junior Spencer Erickson swimming backstroke. 
Some standout performances during the meet were sophomore Connor Martin, who took first in the 100 Breastroke, junior Spencer Erickson, who placed first in the 50 Freestyle, and senior Chris Zhang, who won the both the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke. BWSD’ s next meet will be against New Canaan at the Darien YMCA on Friday, February 2nd, so be sure to go out and show some support.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Boys Varsity Basketball Loses A Close One to Fairfield Warde

By Jack Tierney

Senior Point Guard Justin Jordan nails an open three against
Wilton earlier this season. (Courtesy DAF).
On Tuesday, January 30th the Darien Boys Varsity Basketball team lost a heart breaker at Fairfield Warde 60-68. In what was a tough loss the Blue Wave fought hard and once again fell to a top ranked team in a game that could have gone either way. They have played the top five teams in the league and face a far easier schedule in the last stretch of their season. Darien was handling Warde throughout the 1st half due to stout defense and hustle. Until about midway throughout the third quarter Warde began nailing threes.

The game was tight until the end but the Wave couldn’t overcome the three point barrage. Junior Ryan Darby mentioned, “We just have to learn how to close out teams. Once we start doing that we will be fine.” Darien’s top scorer was Justin Jordan with 22 points.

Darien still has a little less than half their season remaining but they need to get over the hump and start taking care of teams.

Come out and support the Blue Wave on Saturday at 1PM they are facing Ludlowe at home.