With the regular season coming to a close and the postseason rapidly approaching, now is the time for high school basketball teams in the FCIAC to round into top form and play at their optimum level.
Greenwich High School’s girls basketball team showed its ready for the challenges the postseason presents, putting forth a stellar effort in its final regular season home game against Westhill on Monday night.
Receiving points from 10 different players and using a strong defensive effort, Greenwich posted a well-earned 63-51 win over Westhill in a late-season FCIAC matchup.
With the win, the Cardinals raised their record to 11-7 overall and 9-5 in FCIAC play. They entered Monday’s matchup against Westhill tied with Wilton for fifth place in the FCIAC. Wilton played Fairfield Ludlowe, which is in third place in the FCIAC, Monday night. The Cardinals visit the Warriors Wednesday for a crucial conference game that will most likely determine the No. 5 seed in the FCIAC Tournament, which commences on Saturday.
Junior point guard Carolyn Frankle scored 12 points, senior forward/center Cami Jablonski added 11 points and senior forward/center Kelly Martyanov had 10 points for Greenwich, which led Westhill, 33-22 at halftime.
“We’re going to go into the playoffs hot and ready to go,” Frankle said. “We feel we can beat any team. It’s just that we need to keep the energy going the entire game and not lose it.”
The Vikings were sparked by junior guard Jane Bautista’s 19 points. Bautista made four 3-pointers for Westhill, which shot the ball well from beyond the arc throughout. Junior guard Heaven Robinson scored 14 points, including four 3-pointers, while senior forward Andra Hansen contributed 12 points for the visitors, who closed to within five points in the second half.
“Every team is ready to go, it’s that time of year,” Cardinals coach Rashamel Jones said. “Teams are battling and trying to get a seed for the playoffs. Every game has been a battle. There have been no days off, no breaks.”
Senior guard Kristin Riggs posted nine points and junior guard Sophia Sergio scored eight points, including two key 3-pointers for the Cards, who have won two straight games. Sergio scored all eight of her points in the second half and Jablonski had eight first-half points for the victors.
“It was a tough game, but we all played together and the bench came in and did a good job,” Riggs said. “We were all working together.”
Trailing 11-8 in the first quarter, Greenwich got a basket off a baseline jumper from Martyanov and basket from sophomore guard Laura Resnick to take the lead at 12-11 going into the second quarter.
Sophomore guard Ayanna Davenport made a layup in transition following a steal and Frankle scored off a fastbreak layup, upping the Cards’ advantage to 19-3 at the 5:08 mark of the second quarter. A Frankle 3-pointer, followed by a putback from senior forward Kayla Anderson put GHS on top, 24-15 with 3:50 to go in the second stanza. Riggs gave Greenwich a 29-20 advantage by scoring off a pass from Jablonski and Jablonski made a buzzer-beating layup, putting the home team ahead, 33-22 at halftime.
The Vikings trailed by as many as 13 points at 35-22 after Riggs drove to the basket and scored early in the third quarter, but quickly cut their deficit to five points. Robinson spearheaded Westhill’s comeback attempt, making three 3-pointers during a span of just over one minute, bringing the visitors to within 38-33. However, Robinson was in foul trouble, wound up picking up her fifth foul late in the third quarter and fouled out.
“They still pulled it to a five-point game in the third quarter,” Jones said of Westhill. “If No. 23 (Robinson) didn’t foul out, that game could have gone down to the wire.”
The Vikings actually knotted the score at 38-38 when Olivia Conte made a basket with 3:55 to go in the third quarter, but Sergio gave the Cardinals the lead for good with a 3-pointer from the left side at the quarter’s 3:10 mark. Anderson swished a foul shot, then Martyanov scored four straight points, stretching Greenwich’s lead to 46-38 with 1:09 left in the third stanza.
Greenwich outscored Westhill, 17-13, in the fourth quarter and maintained a double-digit lead most of the quarter. Anderson, junior guard Lauren Smego and sophomore forward Julia Monteiro added three points apiece, while Davenport and Resnick each had two points in the winning effort.
“We started off hot and in the second and third quarter when they were making a little bit of a run, we were able to stop the run and keep it going,” Frankle said.
Anderson grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists, Jablonski snared six rebounds, Martyanov had four rebounds and blocked a pair of shots and Sergio collected four rebounds and four steals for the Cardinals.
“We’re using the bigs now, which is great,” Jablonski said. “There was a lot of fouling by them, but we still pushed through and made key plays in the second half. We have a great chemistry now, everyone is playing together now, which is great.”
Besides the FCIAC Tournament, Greenwich will also compete in the CIAC Class LL Tournament, which begins soon.
“We feel good about ourselves, heading into the tournament,” Jones said. “We got beat up pretty bad by Danbury and Ridgefield, but it was a good experience for our team. I think they needed that to get the feel of the game, because those teams play fast and they’re physical on defense. Just to play against those teams and maybe face them again in the FCIAC will help us. Ultimately though, it comes down to what we do and how we play.”
Said Riggs: “I’m really confident in my team and our chemistry and I’m hoping that carries into the postseason. That would be awesome.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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