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.

You can report a new commitment or any commitments not included by emailing Joe Lombardi at joe@laxlessons.com.

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2 Responses to “‘Stall ball’ debate heats up after Ridgefield’s upset of Darien in CT state final”

  1. Patroclus says:

    This is ridiculous! If Ridgefield had beat ANY other team than Darien this question would be not brought up. Darien can not stand to lose and was completely EMBARRASSED that they had lost to “such a team”. The Ridgefield boys deserved this win and just because all of Darien came in arrogant with their noses in the air thinking that this game would be an easy win, this, does not mean the boys on Ridgefield do not deserve it and did not work hard for it! Needless to say, the Darien boys also worked hard. Although, Ridgefield boys busted their butts all season and broke Darien’s 76 game winning streak as a result. Anyway, people are using the shot clock idea as an excuse for Darien not winning. Meanwhile, Ridgefield was winning by a large amount for most of the game. The fact that this is even a question is so ridiculous and insulting to Ridgefield.

  2. Mark says:

    Darien is a confident bunch for sure but they didn’t think this game would be easy to win. Darien never took (or takes)any team for granted by the way. You would like them to be arrogant because it would be easier for you to hate them – but sorry, they are not arrogant. “Ridgefield is loaded with very talented players and is well coached” (my son’s words, not mine – to which I agree). Ridgefield played a fantastic game. The “stall” strategy has been attempted many times against Darien over the last 3 seasons – and yes, it is has been tough to watch those games. The Tigers were the first to execute with such precision. They seemed to score on every possession – which was the key. It was a great game decided by one goal and in my opinion, no shot clock. Embarrassed is not the right word Mr or Mrs Patroclus; disappointed they were not up to the task is more accurate. Ridgefield “won” that game because they played great!!

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