Quick starts have been a trademark of the Greenwich High School girls basketball team lately, much to the dismay of its opponents.
The Cardinals built a double-digit first-quarter lead in its victory against Stamford last week and did the same against visiting Fairfield Warde during Monday night’s FCIAC matchup.
And like their game against Stamford, the Cardinals’ highly productive first quarter key another crucial conference win.
Junior point guard Carolyn Frankle continued to thrive offensively, scoring a game-high 16 points for Greenwich, which extended its winning streak to three straight games with a decisive 57-38 triumph over Fairfield Warde.
Senior forward/center Kelly Martyanov scored 10 points, while senior guards Kristin Riggs and Gillian Frey added six points apiece for the Cardinals (6-5, 6-3 FCIAC).
“Getting off to a fast start – that’s been the theme lately,” GHS coach Rashamel Jones said. “We didn’t let up tonight – that’s been our theme, we don’t let up, we got that lead and we kept rising it.”
Currently, Greenwich is in a second-place tie with Norwalk in the FCIAC West Division standings with a record of 6-3. They are well on pace to qualify for the eight-team FCIAC Tournament, which takes place after the regular season. However, they must continue to continue their solid play that’s seen them win three consecutive games and four of their last five.
Monday’s win began a busy, four-game week for the Cards. They host Darien Tuesday night on Senior Night, then Glastonbury comes to town on Thursday. Greenwich will then visit Ridgefield, which currently has the second-best record in the FCIAC, on Friday.
“This week, we have four games and we know we have to start off fast to keep our lead and keep the momentum going,” said Frankle, who made the game-winning shot in the final seconds against Stamford and is averaging 17 points per game in the team’s last three games.
Once again showing its depth, Greenwich received points from 11 players against the Mustangs.
“This was a team effort,” Jones said. “Going down the stretch, we are going to bring everyone along with us. We have 13 players and the goal is to use all 13 of them.”
Freshman guard Ryanne Gulbin scored a team-best 14 points for the Mustangs (5-8, 3-6 FCIAC), who trailed 18-6 after the first quarter and 28-12 at halftime. Junior guard Peyton Tully added seven points in the loss.
It didn’t take long for Greenwich to get off to a fast start. Riggs scored on a layup after senior forward/center Cami Jablonski won the opening tip to start the game. A foul shot by Jablonski (five points) and a 3-pointer by Frankle gave the Cardinals a quick 6-2 edge. Baskets by Gulbin and junior guard Leah Fry (five points) tied the score at 6-6, but the Cards took the lead for good with an impressive spurt to end the first quarter.
Martyanov made a basket in the low post, junior forward Zaniya Huggins made a short jump shot and Frankle swished a 3-pointer from the left side, putting the Cardinals on top, 13-6, with 1:54 remaining in the opening quarter.
Frey converted a shot from beyond the arc from the left corner, making it 16-6 and Martyanov closed the quarter with a layup, giving the home team a 12-point advantage.
Frankle and Martyanov each had six points in the first quarter. Frankle has shot the ball especially well from 3-point range the past three games – all Greenwich victories.
“It’s actually kind of surprising, because I don’t like shooting 3s, but if they are going to give me them, I’m going to keep taking them,” Frankle said.
Greenwich held a double-digit lead nearly the rest of the way following the first quarter. Warde closed to within 20-12 on Gulbin’s basket midway through the second quarter, but Greenwich ended the quarter with an 8-0 spurt to seize a comfortable 28-12 lead. Frey and Frankle converted 3-pointers to cap the first half.
Senior forward Kayla Anderson made a foul line jumper, Jablonski scored on a layup and Riggs hit a jump shot from the left wing, upping Greenwich’s lead to 34-12 early in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Greenwich made Warde work for its shots, behind an effective man-to-man defense.
“We played great defense,” Riggs said. “We had intensity and we were all working as a team. Also, the bench really stepped up, I was excited to see our underclassmen come in and step up. “
Said Jones: “Tonight, we played good half court man-to-man defense. We were smothering them. It was hard for them to penetrate into the gaps and we were giving them the open shot and luckily, they weren’t knocking them down. The second half, they started to attack us a little bit more. They knocked down more 3s.”
Frankle added another 3-pointer during the third quarter for Greenwich, which received three points from junior forward/center Zaniya Huggins and junior guard Laura Smego and two apiece from Anderson, junior Sophia Sergio, Laura Resnick (junior) and junior Julia Monteiro. Martyanov pulled down eight rebounds, Sergio had three steals and two assists, Riggs tallied three assists and Anderson had three assists in the winning effort.
“Our offense has a nice flow, we’re always looking for one more pass to get a cleaner shot,” Frankle said. “We want to take the best shot possible.”
The Cardinals got 26 points from their bench, including a pair of 3-pointers from Frey.
“We needed to be prepared and step up,” Frey said of the bench players. “Coach made it clear at the beginning of the season, that he wanted the bench contributing. So I was glad that many bench players were able to step up, hitting big shots at big times and playing great defense. It was a great game, great energy, we hope to keep it going, since it’s a very busy week.”
Greenwich’s Senior Night game against Darien starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
“It’s sentimental, I’m excited, but I’m a little melancholy,” Riggs said of the upcoming Senior Night game.
“I’ve been a part of this program for many years,” Anderson added. “Watching my sister, I cried at her senior day. It should be an emotional day, but I’m ready for it.”
As for another strong performance by the team – “We had our moments of absolute greatness and some not so good moments, but in those great moments, that’s Greenwich basketball right there,” Anderson said.
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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