STAMFORD -- As both sides entered Tuesday's showdown without a defeat between them, the Stamford and Trumbull girls basketball teams arrived from two very different places.
While the Eagles have appeared in the FCIAC title game the past two seasons, the Black Knights went 20-22 with little indication a breakout season was in the cards.
All of this just allowed Stamford to compete with the same chip on its shoulder it has displayed throughout the season and claim another statement win that keeps them at the top of the conference.
For the Black Knights, the victory avenged last season's 40-33 FCIAC semifinal defeat, knocked Trumbull from the ranks of the undefeated and extended Stamford's perfect run to start the season to 12 games.
"It feels awesome to beat (Trumbull) and stay undefeated, it's great," Gordon said. "It feels like a weight lifted off our shoulders. They knocked us out in FCIACs last year and we came back. Now we have our respect."
The Black Knights (12-0, 10-0) jumped out to a 22-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back, as their zone defense caught the visitors off guard while forcing numerous turnovers. Stamford finished inside with ease as its ball movement created open looks for teammates.
"We focused on rotating in our zone quicker in the past few days, getting our hands up quicker and playing our defense," Stamford coach Todd Parness said. "The girls focused on that tonight and they definitely were quicker and played smart."
Although the game never turned into a rout, Stamford held the visitors at bay and lead by seven or more points the rest of the way. Trumbull never found its offensive flow, shooting 4-for-16 from beyond the arc and 8-for-15 from the foul line. Alexa Pfohl had 13 points and seven steals for the Eagles.
"We didn't play our brand of team basketball," Trumbull coach Steve Tobitch said. "We didn't move the ball as well we possibly could have. I don't think we came out to meet the challenge tonight. I saw a lot of good signs as the game went on, we battled back and dealt with different situations out there."
After inching the deficit to 31-24 entering the third quarter, Trumbull (10-1, 8-1) ran into the same motivated, aggressive Stamford defense it saw at the beginning of the contest. The Eagles scored just three points in the third quarter, preventing any chance of a comeback after weathering the early storm.
"We came out strong after halftime because we knew (Trumbull) was going to be fired up," Gordon said. "We were slacking a little bit but we picked it up and it worked out well."
TRUMBULL (10-1, 8-1 FCIAC)
Alexa Pfohl 4 4-7 13; Rachel Carron 2 0-0 5; Joyce Woolen 1 2-4 4; Amanda Pfohl 2 0-0 5; Erin Moore 1 1-2 3; Lauren Hyde 2 0-0 5; Kalisse Eldridge 0 1-3 1; Danielle McGillicuddy 0 0-0 0; Katherine O'Leary 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 8-15 38
STAMFORD (12-0, 10-0)
Ashyla Cody 3 1-1 8; Brianna Gordon 6 0-0 12; Anisa Fortt 5 3-4 13; Kelsey Santagata 6 0-0 12; Tiana England 3 1-3 8; Maxine Fodiman 0 0-0 0; Orianna Merone 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 5-8 54.
TRUMBULL 9 15 3 11--38
STAMFORD 22 9 10 13--53
3-pointers: S--Cody, England; T--Alexa Pfohl, Amanda Pfohl, Carron, Hyde.