Let’s be clear. Running the lacrosse equivalent of former North Carolina men’s basketball coach Dean Smith’s “four corners” offense is well within the rules.
But is it the “right” way to win a championship?
That’s the debate raging after Ridgefield’s 9-8 win over four-time defending Connecticut state champ Darien in Saturday’s CIAC Class L final.
A spirited late rally saw Darien pull within a goal and get possession back with 16 seconds remaining in regular before falling short. The Blue Wave, who scored the game’s first goal, actually trailed 9-3 with just under four minutes to go.
On one possession, Ridgefield chewed off an astonishing seven-plus minutes on the clock.
After the game, Darien coach Jeff Brameier said he wasn’t surprised by the “stall ball” strategy employed by Ridgefield and praised the Tigers for executing it so well.
Ridgefield coaches had no choice. After all, they argue, they lost handily to Darien during the regular season, and, despite being heavily favored, trailed Glastonbury 5-0 before eeking out a one-goal win in the semifinals.
It should be noted that many argue executing it is in itself a skill, dismissing those who equate stalling to cheating.
Still, tensions were heated during the game with irate Darien fans voicing their displeasure with the “Boring” game strategy to their Ridgefield counterparts.
Social media was also abuzz with “stall ball” talk that overshadowed the fact Ridgefield not only won its first state title since 2011, but snapped Darien’s 76-game win streak and 34-game playoff victory streak.
“Embarrassing that was the game plan,” a Darien fan tweeted. “Man up and play the game the way it was designed. Shot clock for sure in HS.”
It should be noted that the use of the “four corners” strategy did lead to a shot clock in college basketball.
College refs are aggressive in issuing stalling warnings that trigger a virtual shot clock, requiring the offensive team to take a shot within 30 seconds.
Does high school lacrosse need a shot clock?
Be sure to vote in the poll above.
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