DARIEN -- Katie Lauten didn't need much of a scouting report for Tuesday night's FCIAC battle between Darien and New Canaan High School. The first-year head coach of the Blue Wave spent last season as an assistant under Rams coach Kim Palmer.
Pupil got the best of teacher in their first ever meeting as the Blue Wave held off a pesky Rams team 50-43 at Darien High School.
"It was weird," Lauten said. "Especially because I coached every one of those girls on that team. It was fun to go up against our rival and my mentor. Definitely fun and part of why I coach."
The Blue Wave got off to a strong start thanks to the play of Kelly Karczewksi. She scored six points during a 17-4 run that propelled the Blue Wave to a 22-9 halftime lead. New Canaan was out of sync, hitting just 3-of-25 shots from the field.
"We were getting good shots and were in good position," New Canaan coach Kim Palmer said."But when the shots don't fall, you don't score."
The Rams found the range in the second half and chipped away at Darien's lead. Kelly Armstrong led the charge, scoring six points in the opening minutes of the third quarter to cut the Blue Wave lead to 26-15.
With 2:40 to go in the period, Karczweski nailed a 3-point shot from the wing and then followed that with an uncontested layup to stake Darien to a 36-15 lead. The Blue Wave pushed their advantage to a comfortable 39-19 margin after three quarters.
Darien opened its biggest lead of the game near the six-minute mark when Meg Marren made a strong move inside to give the Blue Wave a 41-24 advantage. Marren, one of the FCIAC's best all-around players, missed the last six games due to a concussion.
"I felt pretty good. I just have to get back in the hang of things," said Marren, who finished with three points. "I would go in for two minutes and go out for two minutes. I think coach wanted to ease me back in."
New Canaan mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter behind Armstrong, who finished with a game-high 22 points. Trailing 46-34 with 1:23 to play, the Rams got a big boost form Briana McEwan, who nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Darien's lead to 46-37.
"That's was big by Briana," Armstrong said. "Finally our shots were dropping. And everybody was helping out."
Down 48-38, Armstrong made back-to-back buckets to bring the Rams to within six points, but Darien would hold off a determined New Canaan team to win 50-43.
DARIEN 50, NEW CANAAN 43
New Canaan.... 4 5 10 24--43
Darien............. 17 5 17 11--50
Records: New Canaan 5-7, Darien 7-4