Greenwich’s girls basketball team celebrated its Senior Day the best way possible – with a win against a quality opponent, while turning in one of its best performances of the season.
Paced by junior quad-captain Kristin Riggs, who scored a game-high 19 points, Greenwich received scoring from eight players on its way to a decisive 61-45 victory over a strong Stamford team in a late-season FCIAC game.
Eleven of Riggs’ points came in the second half for the Cardinals, who received a 13-point performance from sophomore guard Sophia Sergio and eight points from senior captain Marielle Povinelli. Leading 40-36 after the third quarter, Greenwich (3-8) pulled away from Stamford with a 22-point fourth quarter.
“I was very proud of our girls today for how they persevered through adversity,” Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez said. “The first half was a bit sloppy, but we talked at halftime and they cleaned things up to close out the game.”
Stamford, which entered Saturday’s matchup having won five of its previous six games, was led by junior guard Isabella Edwards’ 18 points. The Knights who went into the second quarter in a 12-12 tie, trailed 25-20 at halftime. Freshman forward Pauline Vlahakis added 11 points for Stamford (8-3).
Prior to the game, Greenwich recognized the seniors on both squads on Senior Day at Greenwich High. Following the game, the Cardinals held a ceremony for seniors Beatriz Owens, Povinelli and Sarah Peng.
“It’s great being a captain, I’m surrounded by other amazing captains,” said Owens, who scored six points, including a 3-pointer to end the game. “I love my teammates and this team.”
A putback by Edwards gave Stamford a 14-13 edge early in the second quarter, a basket marking the visitors’ final lead. Sergio made a pair of free throws, as did sophomore guard Laura Smego and Riggs scored off a layup on a pass from junior captain Kayla Anderson, giving Greenwich a 21-16 advantage with 3:04 left in the second quarter.
Edwards basket brought Stamford to within 23-20, but Anderson scored in the post, putting the Cards ahead by five at halftime. In the third quarter, Greenwich opened a 39-28 lead after Povinelli swished a 3-pointer from the left side, but Stamford closed to within 39-36 with an 8-0 run to end the quarter. Greenwich pulled away in the fourth quarter, effectively moving the ball around the perimeter and cutting to the basket off the ball. Smego made a key 3-pointer and Riggs made four foul shots, enabling Greenwich to pad its edge.
“We played as a team,” Owens said. “At halftime, we had a nice little talk and turned it around and it showed, it was a high-scoring game. Everyone got involved and everyone contributed, it was a good game.”
Added Povinelli: “Coming into this game, everyone put in twice the amount of effort and a lot of heart. We all have the ability to and today’s game showed what we can do on the floor. During halftime, coach was talking about how we have the heart to win and we showed it.”
Sergio scored seven of her 13 points during the first half, while freshman forward Julia Monteiro added five points for the Cardinals, who have two games remaining in the regular season. Then, the Cards will turn their attention to the postseason, which they hope to gain momentum for by finishing the regular season strong.
“Stamford is a good team,” Owens said. “They’re aggressive and they show it with their record. I think it’s all about when we peak. In the last week of the season and with this game, it shows we are trending and going up.”
Hernandez credited her senior players for keeping the team focused throughout the season. Greenwich visits St. Joseph on Monday, then hosts Westhill on Thursday. Stamford hosts New Canaan Thursday, then travels to Danbury Saturday.
“Despite our season record, we have had great leadership,” Hernandez said. “They have contributed to the overall moral of the team and truly set a good example for our underclassmen and future returners.”
Added Peng: “Overall, working as a team brought us to where we are today. During practice we are always pushing toward another win. I’m so glad we had a season this year, having one just at all and to be with my teammates was a positive this year.”