Facing a 21-point halftime deficit against Suffield Academy certainly didn’t cause the Sacred Heart Greenwich basketball team to give in. Instead, the Tigers came back super strong in the second half, whittling Suffield’s once comfortable lead to just two points.
Sacred Heart’s spirited comeback fell just one basket short though, as visiting Suffield hung on for a hard-fought 55-53 win in a NEPSAC matchup held on Saturday. Sacred Heart honored its three senior players on its Senior Day – senior captains Sarah Augustine and Franny O’Brien and senior Kate Hong.
Visiting Suffield Academy was difficult to contend with in the second half due to its outstanding shooting. They converted six 3-pointers in the first half alone and bolted out to a 41-20 halftime lead.
“We came out of our halftime huddle with a renewed sense of urgency and each and every player was laser-focused on defense,” Sacred Heart coach Ayo Hart said. “We held them to only one field goal in both the third and fourth quarters.”
The Tigers outscored Suffield, 17-6, in the third quarter to close to within 47-37 after three quarters. They then held a 16-8 advantage in the fourth quarter, bring the score to 55-53.
“We were relentless on both ends of the floor and although we came up short losing 53 – 55, I’m super proud of my girls,” Hart said.
Sacred Heart, which has a record of 10-5 on the season, was paced by 18 points from sophomore Payton Sfreddo.
“Payton had a solid game on both ends of the floor,” Hart said. “She was just always in the right place at the right time working our offense seamlessly.”
Sophomore forward/center Kaitlin Robinson added 10 points off the bench for the Tigers.
“Kaitlin Robinson was huge for us today with 10 points, and I’m sure at least 10 rebounds,” Hart said. “She also was a force in the paint defensively altering shots, husting for rebounds and running the floor beautifully.”
Sophomore guard Madison Hart scored nine points, O’Brien, a forward, had five points and Augustine, a center, had four points. Freshman Eva Wilkerson (3 points), sophomore Olivia Leahy (2 points) and sophomore Victoria Hart (2 points) rounded out Sacred Heart’s scoring. Suffield Academy, which sports a record of 14-2, received 15 points from Maeve Curtin, 11 points from Hannah Van Dyke and 10 from Keyvanna Bennett.
“Franny had another huge fourth quarter both defensively and hitting two key buckets late in the game for five points to pull us within two possessions,” coach Hart said. “Her intensity was contagious and she was usually involved in every single play on both ends of the floor. Eva and Victoria did a phenomenal job on the defensive end. They picked off steals, created chaos and forced turnovers in the second half that were critical to our comeback. “
“We mixed up our defenses throughout the game and finally settled in on something that took away their strengths in the second half,” Hart continued. “It’s a huge strength of our team, that our girls can run numerous defensive sets at any given moment. It has carried us far this season.”
Sacred Heart is back in action Wednesday against visiting Storm King School at 4:30 p.m.
Categories: Sacred Heart Greenwich, Winter sports
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