Carolyn Frankle helped Greenwich’s girls basketball team jump out to a fast start against Stamford by making the first two baskets of Thursday night’s game and she led the Cardinals to a thrilling finish by converting the final shot of the matchup.
With the Cardinals trailing by one-point in the game’s final seconds, Frankle found the ball in her hands after two passes were made and as she did in her team’s previous outing against Fairfield Ludlowe, she delivered.
A junior point guard, Frankle converted a one-handed floater from the left baseline with four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Greenwich a dramatic 48-47 victory over visiting Stamford.
On the game-winning sequence, Greenwich guard Kristin Riggs dribbled near the left wing, reversed her direction toward the top of the key and the ball found the hands of senior forward Kayla Anderson, who quickly passed it to Frankle. The Cardinals guard took a couple of dribbles, unleashed her shot and scored, making it 48-47.
“The plan was to get it to Kristin and everyone else spread out, so she had someone to kick it to,” said Frankle, who scored a game-high 14 points. “I heard coach Jones tell me ‘get wide, get ready.’ I realized they were going to close out hard, since I hit a couple of shots early, so I pumped and I was open and I shot it.”
Frankle, who scored a game-best 21 points in the Cardinals’ 63-59 win against Trumbull on Monday, had five first-quarter points, then played through a bit of discomfort, after taking a hit to her lip in the opening half.
“She was doing great in the first quarter and she got a busted lip – she had an injury in the first quarter, where she busted open her lip,” Riggs said of Frankle. “It was a very physical game, both teams were going hard and she stepped up last game this game and it’s all coming together.”
Cardinals coach Rashamel Jones called a timeout with 18 seconds remaining and his squad trailing, 47-46, to set up a play.
“Those last couple of seconds, it was just beautiful to watch,” Jones said. “How about Carolyn hitting that shot down the stretch? She’s been like that all season. She’s so quick, so deceptive. She can shoot, she can go off the dribble, she can do so many different things. I’m just trying to plug her in where we needed her best.”
After Frankle’s go-ahead basket, the Black Knights had four seconds to get off a final shot. On the ensuing inbound pass, Stamford’s Samantha Albert threw a baseball pass to halfcourt, but Greenwich senior forward Kelly Marytanov stepped in front knocked the ball to the floor then gathered it as time expired and the Cards’ celebrated their one-point win.
“I saw they were throwing the ball and I just came to it,” Martyanov said. “I thought I lost it at the end, but I’m glad I got it back.”
Frankle scored eight of her 14 points in the first half, Riggs finished with 11 points and Martyanov had eight points for the Cardinals (5-5), winners of two straight games. Sophomore guard Ayanna Davenport tallied six points, junior guard Sophia Sergio added five points and Anderson and senior forward Cami Jablonski scored two points apiece for the victors.
For Stamford (8-6), senior forward Isabella Edwards scored a team-best 13 points, while senior forward Madison Lockery added nine points and sophomore forward Chloe Sotell finished with seven points.
Down 36-34 after the third quarter, the Cards knotted the score when Martyanov scored on a putback. A 3-pointer by Lockery and layup by Jacobs gave the Knights a 51-46 advantage with 6:25 to go in the final quarter. Sotell’s basket stretched Stamford’s lead to 53-46, prompting Jones to call a timeout.
Greenwich’s execution improved during crunch time. Frankle converted a perimeter shot and Sergio scored in transition of a steal, pulling the Cardinals to within 43-40 at the 4:27 mark of the fourth quarter.
Behind 45-40, the Cards scored four straight points on clutch baskets by Martyanov and Riggs, cutting the deficit to 45-44 with just under two minutes left to play. After Edwards swished a short jumper, Sergio scored off a banker in the lane, making it 47-46 in the final minute.
“Tonight we grew up,” Jones said. “We made a statement tonight and when we were down, down the stretch, we didn’t panic. We kept our composure, we stayed together and we came together.”
“It was great, we are finally coming together,” Riggs said. “I’m really proud of us being able to come back, especially in our home gym.”
Greenwich seized an 8-1 lead 3:23 into the opening quarter behind five points from Frankle and a 3-pointer by Riggs. After the Knights closed to within 10-8, the Cards went on an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of baskets by Martyanov and 3-pointers from Sergio and Riggs, upping their edge to 18-8.
“We came off a very strong win against Trumbull, that’s the basketball we want to play,” Anderson said. “We got a little sloppy during the middle of the game, but we cleaned it up during the end. I think we really deserved that, because we really worked hard for that win.”
Stamford closed the first quarter with a 7-0 spurt, making it 18-15.
“That’s one thing we have to clean up a little bit,” Jones said. “Once we get a lead, we have to learn how to maintain those leads and push them up even higher.”
The first half ended in a 28-28 tie, as Davenport made a pair of 3-pointers for six points in the second quarter and Sergio added a basket. Edwards helped pace Stamford offensively in the second stanza.
Both teams played an aggressive man-to-man defense throughout, mixed in with some halfcourt pressure. The Cardinals received good production from both its backcourt and frontcourt.
“I thought we were really good,” Martyanov said of the team’s forward position. “We always work on being aggressive and playing with intensity. Especially with Kayla diving on the ground for every ball and being aggressive on rebounds. We work on it in practice and it really showed today.”
“We know we’re a good team and we know what we have in this locker room and I’ve been telling them all year, our defense is what’s going to carry us and for these last two games against two good opponents, our defense is what’s carried us,” Jones said.
With their second straight triumph, Greenwich raised its record to 5-5 overall and 5-3 in the FCIAC, as it works its way toward earning a berth in the eight-team FCIAC Tournament.
“As everyone knows, the FCIAC is one of the best counties in basketball in the northeast area, so these are all important games we get to play in,” Riggs said. “It was great competition, Stamford could have easily had that game. I’m glad we were able to get it for my senior year.”
Said Frankle: “It’s a great win for the team, because we started off the season slow, we lost by one. We’ve had some games that didn’t go our way, obviously and it’s great to be able to finally come out on the winning side of it. That was a hard-fought victory, that was deserved.”
On Frankle’s game-winning shot, Anderson made the pass that Frankle controlled, enabling her to get off her shot.
“I tried to do my job, thank God Carolyn can finish any shot,” Anderson said. “She always comes up big, she can finish on one-foot, two feet. I expected her to make that and I’m very glad she did.”