2/10-2/11 Weekend Sports Preview

Previewing four of the most anticipated, intriguing games of the winter sports season.


Darien Athletic Foundation

Head Coach Charoy Bentley huddling up the Blue Wave in a 2023 contest with Fairfield Ludlowe

Braden Schenck, Writer

This weekend features a pair of doubleheaders out on the hardwood and ice. Friday sees the Darien Blue Wave varsity basketball squads go toe to toe with arch-rival New Canaan on both the boys and girls sides. Meanwhile, Saturday at the Darien Ice House, a highly anticipated rematch between Darien and New Canaan and number one vs. number two in CT girls ice hockey go to battle when the Darien Girls Ice Hockey team faces Avon. Here are the previews for all four of these marquee matches.


Girls Basketball vs. New Canaan (Friday at 5:30 pm)

The Darien High School Varsity Girls Basketball team kicks off the action-packed weekend with a showdown aganist the New Canaan Rams. The DHS girls hoops team has struggled in 2022-23. Riddled by injuries and a young roster, the Wave hasn’t been able to find the win column. With a record of 4-12 at the time I am writing this, they are on the verge of missing the state playoffs needing eight or more wins. If the girls can win their final four games against Danbury, New Canaan, Greenwich, and Stamford, they would make the CIAC Class LL playoffs, however, a single loss and they will fail to make the playoffs for the second straight season. This meeting will be the second in the season between Darien and New Canaan. On December 29th, the girls met inside the NCHS Main Gym, where the Rams bested the Wave 49-30. In that game, Sophomore Julia Ryan led the charge with 10 points, and Senior Julia Erdlen added 7 more to the cause. Last year however, the girls fell to New Canaan in the December meeting but were able to defend their home court by a 29-27 final thanks to great defense down the stretch. The girls will look to repeat history as they aim to keep their playoff chances alive in game one of the Friday Night basketball doubleheader.


Boys Basketball vs. New Canaan (Friday at 7 pm)

The nightcap Friday Night features the DHS Varsity Boys Basketball team taking on arch-rival New Canaan. Last year they met at NCHS where a pair of technical fouls and six consecutive made free throws by New Canaan led to a 60-47 Rams victory. In 2023, the Wave are back with a surge, coming off a HUGE win over the weekend to 10-2 Wilton by 30 points, Darien is hot in pursuit of an FCIAC playoff spot. Senior Simeon Doll dropped 18 points in the win, with Junior Jake Hendrickson and Senior Austin Black adding 12 and 10 points respectively. With that win on Saturday, Darien moved into the 8th and final FCIAC playoff spot looking to hold its ground with only a few games left to play. Darien’s stamina will be tested for sure Friday Night as the Rams lead the FCIAC with four overtime games this season including two that have gone to double OT. Darien will ride the high-scoring attempts of Simeon Doll, who leads the team with 17.7 PPG. Also looking to get points for Darien is Senior Riley Galu, back from an injury that kept him sidelined last week. In the passing game, Seniors Davis Depp and Isaac McMullin will look to continue to create opportunities and rack up the assists on the stat sheet with their great play. And down low, you can’t forget about the big men of Senior Austin Black, Senior Jack Barber, and Junior Jake Hendrickson, who give Darien the much-needed second-chance points and the rebounds. Darien is an overall team-rounded squad in 2023 and one that at its best is a dominant squad in the FCIAC. The key for Darien on Friday, don’t come in overconfident, play the simple game they have been playing, and most importantly play a full 32 minutes. They can not give New Canaan any free points! Tipoff is scheduled at 7 pm or twenty minutes after the conclusion of the girls game.


Boys Hockey vs. New Canaan (Saturday at 4:30 pm)

Exactly a month ago, these two familiar foes met inside the Darien Ice House for round one, on Saturday, they will get their chance in round two. A 3-3 tie was the first result between Wave Boys Puck and New Canaan. Goals from Senior Jonathan Nawrocki, Senior Asa Beach, and Senior Bobby Whittaker set the tone early for Darien. However, a late surge from the Rams forced the tie in a game for the ages. These two teams sit in first and second in the FCIAC standings, and this game will most likely be for the sole first place in the conference. Junior Finley Hegerty had a nice showing in net in round one making 29 saves and creating opportunities for the Wave. This past weekend the boys traveled to Rhode Island for a clash with the Bishop Hendricken Hawks and the La Salle Academy Rams. While they, unfortunately, did not get the results they were looking for, Mac Budd’s guys should be battle-tested for this clash on Saturday inside the Darien Ice House. Last year the Wave bested the Rams in both meetings, each by a single goal deficit, and on Saturday, with all the marbles on the line in the storied rivalry, it’s safe to say everyone will leave it on the Ice for this showdown. Darien will be tried by a tough New Canaan team. It’s going to come down to the storyline of if the Darien D and goalie make the stops and create opportunities, but more importantly, capitalize on those opportunities to take down the Rams in the second meeting. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30 on Saturday inside DIH. 


Girls Hockey vs. Avon Co-op (Saturday at 6:40 pm)

Our final matchup on the docket this weekend is the biggest showdown in Connecticut High School Girls Ice Hockey this season. The undefeated Darien Girls Ice Hockey team hosts the one-loss Avon Co-op Nighthawks. That sole loss came to Darien on January 16th in Newington by the final of 7-1. Avon currently sits in second place in the CHSGHA (Connecticut High School Girls Hockey Association) standings behind Darien. This matchup will be number one vs. number two. Last year, in the first-ever meeting between the two, the Wave dominated to a 5-1 victory in Shelton in the state semis. The Wave is hot as of late coming off a huge win against New Canaan over the weekend 3-1. Darien has the most lethal first line in the state with Senior Chelsea Donovan (13 goals this season), Senior Kelsey Brown (11 goals), and Sophomore Natalie Beach (25 goals). This is Darien’s final major in-state test before the FCIAC tournament later this month. In both career matchups between these teams, Darien jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. That is the key for Darien. Pound it on Avon early offensively and let Senior Katharine Kahn and co do their jobs on the defense and goaltending ends. This could be one of Darien’s strongest girls ice hockey teams in a while, and Avon will bring a test against one of upstate’s finest. Puck drop is scheduled after the Boys game at 6:40 pm inside the Darien Ice House.