Sacred Heart Greenwich’s basketball team entered halftime against host School of the Holy Child with a 14-point lead, but despite having a double-digit advantage the Tigers were intent on raising their performance level in the second half.
The visiting Tigers did just that and proceeded to cruise to their third straight victory to start the season.
Creating turnovers, flourishing on the fastbreak and rebounding with tenacity, Sacred Heart coasted to a decisive 66-28 victory over Holy Child in an FAA matchup. With the triumph, the Tigers ran their record to a perfect 3-0.
Senior 6-foot-3 center Sarah Augustine scored a game-high 17 points, while sophomore 6-2 forward/center Kaitlin Robinson totaled a career-high 15 points to power Sacred Heart. SHG held a 25-11 lead after two quarters, behind seven points apiece from sophomore forward Payton Sfreddo and Augustine.
Still, the Tigers knew they could accomplish more in the second half.
“The second half pleased me,” Sacred Heart coach Ayo Hart said. “We came out pretty flat, we were scoring for sure, but we’re normally a more intense team and I’m proud with how the captains at halftime took over the locker room. They decided what they needed to do differently and it was like a different team in the second half. So that’s what I’m mostly proud about.”
Like Augustine, Sfreddo has helped spark Sacred Heart offensively. Sfreddo scored 13 points, seven of which came during the second half. Robinson, meanwhile, tallied 13 of her 15 points in the second half, scoring of offensive rebounds and layups.
“Overcoming our lack of intensity in the beginning, we wanted it in the second half, so we came out as a team and worked our hardest to get the win,” said Robinson, who also plays for Sacred Heart’s volleyball and lacrosse teams. “
Freshman guard Eva Wilkerson scored seven points, six of which came in the second half, senior forward Franny O’Brien had five points, including a 3-pointer and sophomore point guard Madison Hart totaled four points in the winning effort. The victors led Holy Child, 15-7, following the first quarter and 25-11 at halftime.
“We definitely passed the ball around really well today to move the defense and get easy cuts and passes to the hoop, which is really good,” Augustine said.
Sfreddo began the second half by swishing a 3-pointer, putting the Tigers on top, 28-11. A putback by Robinson and jumper by guard Olivia Leahy stretched Sacred Heart’s advantage to 32-11 early in the third quarter.
Augustine grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, Wilkerson made a layup in transition and Augustine scored off another rebound, making it 38-13 with 3:01 left in the third quarter.
Eighth grader Ava Curto converted a layup and Robinson made consecutive baskets off a rebound and inbound pass, giving the Tigers a commanding 44-17 third-quarter lead. Despite scoring an impressive 66 points, Sacred Heart only need to make two 3-pointers to do so. Most of the Tigers’ baskets came in transition and off offensive rebounds. They also made a lot of layups while running their halfcourt sets against Holy Child’s mostly man-to-man defense.
“It was well-deserved, we really wanted to win,” said O’Brien, a senior co-captain. “We started off a little rocky, so turnovers here and there, but we had a nice pep talk at the half in the locker room and came out put on a strong second-half performance. We hold ourselves to really high expectations.”
Curto had three points, Leahy scored two and Victoria Hart and Madison Hooper each helped the Tigers defensively in the victory. Sacred Heart defeated Hotchkiss School in its season-opener, then beat Greenwich Country Day School in its first two games of the season.
“This is super fun,” Augustine said. “We all bonded really well and we want each other to do the best on the court and we try our best to push everyone in practice and I think that’s led us to this 3-0 streak so far.”
Said Ayo Hart: “I’m happy with the fact that once again, eight of our 10 girls scored. We are 3-0 and getting kids in and getting contributions from everyone. “I’m also super happy with how they moved the ball. There was a lot less dribbling, less turnovers – and we used our size, so I’m happy about that.”
Indeed, the Tigers are playing with a lot of confidence and intensity on both ends of the court, which is leading to victories.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun, I love my teammates,” Robinson said of the team’s 3-0 start. “We’ve had a really good season so far, our practices have been productive and I think we just come to work every day and have fun at the same time.”
Sacred Heart Greenwich returns to action on Wednesday when crosstown rival Greenwich Academy visits the school for a 3:45 p.m. FAA matchup.
“I am looking forward to it, it may last basketball game against them unless we play them in FAAs,” O’Brien said.