St. Joseph proved to be a difficult matchup for Greenwich High School’s girls basketball team last season, as the Cadets posted two double-digit wins against the Cardinals, one of which occurred in the opening round of the FCIAC Tournament.
And when the teams met Thursday night at Greenwich High School, it was another uphill climb for the Cardinals against an experienced, senior-laden Cadets team.
Flourishing in the low post, St. Joseph used a big second quarter to build a commanding 22-point halftime lead and proceeded to defeat Greenwich, 75-43, in an FCIAC game. With their fifth straight win upped their mark to 5-1 for coach Chris Lindwall.
“Our defensive intensity and the way we did some things was big,” Lindwall said. “That’s what we need to do, so I was very happy with the effort for sure. We’re a senior laden team, we have eight seniors. They know what has to be done.”
Senior 6-foot center Kirsten Rodriguez scored a game-high 24 points, 12 of which came during the third quarter to propel St. Joseph. Most of her baskets came in the low post, as she got good position near the basket throughout. Isabelle Casucci, a 6-1 senior forward, registered 18 points and also efficiently converted her shots from close in. The Cadets capitalized on their size advantage, moved the ball inside to the low post and their frontcourt players made the majority of their layups, or scored on low post moves.
“I thought Kirsten finished around the basket really well today,” Lindwall said. “Izzy has been playing off the charts, really well.”
Most of the Cadets’ 75 points were the result of layups.
“I remember one stretch they had 10 points in a row, right in the middle of the paint and we couldn’t box them out and we couldn’t get five to the boards,” GHS coach Rashamel Jones said. “They beat us up on the boards, they beat us up in the paint tonight.”
Greenwich, which dropped a 59-48 decision to Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday have a record of 2-4, heading into Friday’s game against visiting Staples. Junior guard Sophia Sergio, who scored 18 points against Ludlowe on Tuesday, paced the Cardinals with 13 points Thursday night, 11 of which came in the second half.
Junior forward Cami Jablonski scored seven points off the bench and junior point guard Carolyn Frankle finished with five points for Greenwich, which trailed 14-8 after the first quarter and 38-16 at halftime.
Casucci scored off a strong low post move, then made a basket off a putback, giving St. Joseph the lead for good at 10-6 late in the first quarter. A basket in the post by Cardinals junior forward Zaniyah Huggins brought the home team to within 10-8 with 2:10 left in the opening quarter, but senior guard Kayleigh Carson converted a 3-pointer and Rodriguez made a foul shot, stretching the Cadets’ advantage to 14-8.
In the second quarter, after Frankle’s layup cut the Cadets’ lead to 16-10, the visitors went on 12-0 run to seize a comfortable 28-10 advantage. Sophomore guard Lauren Resnick ended the run by making a mid-range jumper, but the Cardinals couldn’t get much rhythm going offensively against St. Joseph’s solid man-to-man defense.
“The first quarter, we came out decent,” Jones said. “Once they got a couple of easy baskets inside, it took the air out of us. We started getting frustrated.”
In the third quarter, Rodriguez imposed her will, scoring 12 of her game-best 24 points. St. Joseph pounded the ball inside to their post players and they delivered, with Rodriguez and Casucci combining for 42 points. Casucci enabled the Cadets to start the game quickly, scoring 14 first half points.
“Their bigs separated themselves and their team from everyone else,” Jones said. “They are not missing layups down there, they are making layups.”
Senior guard Kate Rudini had six points and added 12 assists and five steals for the victors, who received seven points apiece from Carson and senior forward Kayla Angrand.
Frankle scored five points, Huggins added three points, senior guard Gillian Frey made a 3-pointer, Huggins had three points, senior forward Kayla Anderson had two points and senior guard Kristin Riggs contributed two points for GHS, which also received four points from Resnick and two points from sophomore guard Ayanna Davenport.
“This Greenwich team, I wouldn’t want to play them in February,” Lindwall said. “I really think that they are going to be extremely good. They have two really good shooters, they’ve got some good post play. They have some young kids and I think Rashamel is going to do a good job with these kids. I was very impressed with the way they kept fighting against us.”
St. Joseph plays Bridgeport Central on Friday, then visits New Canaan on Monday.
“We are still learning every day and we have to keep getting better every day,” Lindwall said.
Riggs recorded five assists, while Martyanov and Jablonski each grabbed five rebounds for the Cards, who host Staples Friday at 7 p.m. in a Greenwich High School Coaches vs. Cancer Game. The Greenwich girls basketball program is raising money to fight cancer.
“We’re back out it again tomorrow and that’s the beautiful thing about it,” Jones said. “We’ll come back out tomorrow and be ready to go.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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