As Friday night’s boys basketball game between Greenwich and Danbury progressed, points became tougher to come by, as both teams had to work extra hard for their shots due to tenacious defensive play.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Hatters made just a couple of more shots in the closing minute of play.
Sophomore forward Cameron Perkins scored a game-high 16 points, including the go-ahead basket with 17.1 seconds remaining for Danbury, which edged host Greenwich, 42-39, before a big Friday night crowd.
The Cardinals’ record stands at 10-5 overall and 7-3 in FCIAC action following the loss. With four conference games still remaining, Greenwich is in fifth place in the FCIAC. Danbury, meanwhile, improved its mark to 8-7 overall and 6-5 in the conference. Greenwich led 13-9 after the first quarter, 22-19 at halftime and was in front the majority of the game. Senior guard James Pilc, scored 11 points, junior guard Logan Galletta had 10 points and senior center Chason Barber added eight points for the Cardinals in the low-scoring, physical game.
It was a struggle offensively for both teams throughout most of the matchup.
“We played good enough defense to win, but when we got rebounds or forced them into bad shots or forced turnovers or steals, we didn’t do anything with the ball,” Greenwich coach Todd Trimmer said. “So they were dead possessions. We didn’t take advantage of our defense, because we couldn’t do anything offensively.”
After the Hatters took a 41-39 edge with 17.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Cards called timeout to set up a play. They were unable to score on the ensuing possession and fouled Danbury once it got the rebound off a missed shot from close in. Danbury made one of two free throws in the final seconds and pulled out the three-point win.
Friday night, Trimmer didn’t see his team move the ball with the efficiency it normally displays.
“I’ve been coaching these kids for two years and this is the first time they played selfish,” Trimmer said. “A lot of poor decisions, it was uncharacteristically selfish, which we haven’t seen before. We wasted our defense tonight. There were three consecutive possessions at the beginning of the fourth quarter where we had a four-point lead and we took bad shots or threw away a bad pass or got a charge.”
Galletta made a layup while being fouled, then converted the ensuing foul shot, being GHS a 35-33 lead with 5:50 to go in the fourth quarter. Barber then made a basket off a putback and after the Hatters scored, Galletta drove hard to the basket for a layup, putting Greenwich on top, 39-35, with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
But the Cards did not score the rest of the quarter, enabling the Hatters to knot the score, then convert the game-winning basket. Layups by junior forward Christian Jeffers and Perkins tied the score at 39-39 with 2:13 left to play. Greenwich had chances to score the go-ahead basket on its next two possessions, but Danbury buckled down and played strong man-to-man defense.
“When we’re playing really well, playing good defense and we’re moving the ball and moving our sets and getting in transition, we’re really good,” Trimmer said. “When we start to take bad shots and throw the ball all over the place, your defense doesn’t matter, because your holding teams, but not putting the ball in the basket.”
Pilc’s turnaround jumper from the baseline and Galletta’s lefty layup, gave the home team a 13-9 advantage following the first quarter. Junior guard Dean Brown and sophomore guard Aidan Karson each swished 3-pointers, making it 22-19 in the Cardinals’ favor, at halftime.
Karson finished with six points for the Cardinals, while Jeffers scored eight points and Cushan Perkins and Charnez Perkins added six points apiece for the Hatters.
Greenwich, which played solid man-to-man defense throughout this FCIAC matchup, continues the tough portion of its schedule Monday against Westhill in Stamford.
“I hope this is something we can learn from hopefully, it’s a look in the mirror type of moment,” Trimmer said.