A berth in the Todd Burger Holiday Girls' Basketball Tournament championship game may have been on the line but, for Fairfield Warde High School's team, the first round matchup with Brien McMahon -- at Fairfield Ludlowe High School-- was more about getting back on track than anything else.

The Mustangs certainly accomplished that by putting together a solid start-to-finish effort in a 57-34 triumph in the opener of the tourney, held in honor of Burger, the former Fairfield Citizen-News sports editor who lost his battle with cancer a few years ago, on Tuesday night.

Coming off a loss to Norwalk and a 1-4 start to the campaign, "We needed two solid games for our heads," said Warde coach Dave Danko,

The Mustangs used their pressuring defense and fast-paced style of play to improve to 2-4, and the Senators fell to 2-4. Warde's Kate Kerrigan led all scorers with 14 points. Teammate Jamera Fountain dropped in nine, and Kaitlin McKenna and Tiara Fountain both had six. Brielle Lanese and Rachel Maltz each added five, and nine Mustangs contributed on the score sheet.

Warde held a 15-6 lead in the second quarter before seizing complete control and pulling away 28-8 at halftime. It was 19-6 when Warde's full-court press led to a steal and Jamera Fountain hitting a long-range shot, despite being fouled, and turning it into a three-point play as the Mustangs began to pull away.

The Mustangs padded their lead early in the second half as Jamera Fountain converted off the fast break for a 30-8 lead. Warde scored in a variety of ways throughout this game. After four more points, Kerrigan sank a jumper off an inbounds pass from under the basket. Moments later, Carly Mappa stole the ball and scored on a layup making it 38-8.

"We're a veteran team. They start a very young lineup and we had to set the tone from the start," Danko said.