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Needing just one win to qualify for the Class LL state playoffs, the Fairfield Ludlowe girls basketball team decided to wait until the last possible game to break its tourney drought.

The Falcons fell behind by 10 from the opening quarter and never recovered, falling 63-50 to Ridgefield on Monday night at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

"We scored tonight," Ludlowe coach Sarah Huntington said. "We didn't play defense."

Three Ridgefield players scored in double figures, led by sophomore Andrea Ferraro's 16 points. The Tigers kept their state playoff hopes alive, and will need to beat Staples on Wednesday to qualify for the Class LL playoffs.

Huntington credited the Tigers progression. Ridgefield was the FCIAC runner-up in 2011, but has scuffled this season.

"They're doing a lot of really good things," Huntington said. "Maybe they're just developing. I think (Ridgefield coach Katie Reed) does a great job with them."

Briana Curran led all scorers with 20 points, adding 10 rebounds and five steals. Ludlowe lost for the eighth time in its last 10 games and will need a win Wednesday at Brien McMahon to clinch a state playoff berth for the first time since 2009.

"We need to beat them if we even want to consider postseason," Huntington said.

Despite her club's Dec. 29, 53-39 win over McMahon, Huntington is leery of the Senators.

"I hope that win gives us confidence," Huntington said. "McMahon is scrappy and we have trouble against teams like that."

Part of Ludlowe's problem was its porous first-quarter shooting. The Falcons missed their first eight shots, and only hit a pair of field goals in the first frame. Conversely, Ridgefield had the hot hand, outscoring Ludlowe 11-1 in the first 4:16, and had a 17-5 lead after a quarter.

Huntington thought nerves and excitement of the pre-game senior night ceremonies may have gotten the best of her team.

"We might have been wrapped up in senior night," Huntington said. "We didn't get back defensively, and they hit a lot of their looks."

Ludlowe's struggles at the free throw line kept it from getting any closer than 24-16 in the second. The Falcons shot just 5-13 from the foul line in the game and was 3-9 from the stripe in the first half. Yet, Ludlowe only trailed 26-16 at halftime.

"We're not a great free throw shooting team," Huntington said. "Teams that make their free throws are going to beat us."

But Ridgefield outscored the Falcons 10-5 out of the break, building a 15-point advantage, getting transition layups gained from rebounds. The Tigers outrebounded Ludlowe 37-34, which also put a damper on the Falcons' transition game.

"We're not controlling the boards," Huntington said. "If we can't get rebounds, we can't run on teams."

Caroline Pangallo's 3-pointer and two layups from Curran and Nesi got Ludlowe to within 10, but a 15-5 run between the end of the third and start of the fourth lifted Ridgefield's lead to 53-33. Ferraro scored eight of the 15.; 203-522-8387;