Greenwich Country Day School has made quite a mark on the FAA girls basketball scene in its first full season as a varsity team.
The Tigers have qualified for the FAA Tournament, been competitive in the majority of their games against both FAA and NEPSAC boarding school teams and shown significant improvement each game.
Monday, Greenwich Country Day took a key step toward improving its seed in the upcoming, eight-team FAA Tournament, defeating visiting Greenwich Academy, 46-15. GCDS, which celebrated its Senior Day, is currently tied with School of the Holy Child for fifth place in the FAA with a conference record of 3-4. The Tigers visit Holy Child Wednesday at 4:30 to determine the No. 5 seed and No. 6 seed for the FAA Tournament.
“We are super excited, this is our first year as a varsity team and right now, we’re ranked No. 5, so that’s a great position to be in as a first-year varsity team,” GCDS coach Elisa Brown said.
Sophomore guard Brianna McDermott scored a game-high 14 points, while guard Nina Ferry contributed eight points for Greenwich Country Day, which led GA, 14-4, after the first quarter and 29-9 at halftime.
“I’m really excited for what’s coming,” McDermott said of the rapidly approaching FAA Tournament. “It’s the first year, the first season and it’s my first time being here. It was definitely and adjustment for everyone, but I think we’re doing a really good job battling with teams and staying in games.”
The contest was the final game of the season for Greenwich Academy, which did not qualify for the FAA Tournament. The Gators earned their first victory of the season in their previous game this past Saturday, topping host Canterbury School, 36-26. A young team with only one senior and a lot of inexperienced basketball players, GA made strides toward improvement this season and will be seeking better results next winter.
“This is a great community, we have a great group of girls, we have a ton of great athletes and I’m really excited,” GA coach Jordan Griffith said. “We got better every single day as a group, we got better individually and there’s a bright future for these girls, despite the win-loss record this season.”
Guard Kylie Frank scored six points, forward Paloma Snisky added five points and guard Caroline Hart had four points for the Tigers, who played strong man-to-man defense throughout.
After Sydney Dettmer gave Greenwich Academy a 4-2 lead with a basket just over three minutes into the first quarter, Greenwich Country Day went on a 12-0 run to end the quarter to seize a 14-4 advantage.
McDermott swished a 3-pointer from the right side, Ferry made a runner in the lane and Snisky scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded, ending the quarter, making it 14-4.
Peyton Wolfram of the Gators brought her team to within 19-8 with a basket early midway through the second quarter, then the Tigers went on a 10-1 run to take a 29-9 lead into halftime. The home team scored eight points during a span of just over one minute, behind several steals.
“We just applied pressure and got to the right spots,” Brown said. “As soon as we applied pressure we got into our transition game.”
Rory Ashmeade (3 points), while Izzy Turek, Kelly Holmgren and Carmie Zuniga each had two points in the winning effort.
“Today going into the game it was special,” McDermott said. “We had two seniors leaving, it’s their last home game, so we just wanted to come out strong and finish the game quick.”
Dettmer had three points, while Chloe Cook, Ellie Johnson, Elizabeth Spaulding, Wolfram and Allie Spaulding had two points apiece for Greenwich Academy.
“We have multiple girls who are going to be Division I athletes in the future,” Griffith said. “It’s just a situation where basketball hasn’t been a priority for them, but we’re looking to change that. They have such a great future ahead of them in other sport and this is a great community to be a part of. We’ll be returning every single starter, which is great. Greenwich Country Day is great, their coach does a great job. This is the type of program we hope to be in the future.”
In the second half, the Tigers continued to shoot the ball effectively from the perimeter and get out on the fastbreak.
“We have made a ton of growth.” Brown said. “We’ve grown leaps and bounds from our first year the girls understand the concepts and believe in what they’re doing.”
Greenwich Country Day’s coach credited McDermott for igniting the team throughout the season.
“She has taken so much on her plate,” Brown said of McDermott. “From being a point guard to being a scorer and facilitator, to being a mentor to her teammates, she’s done so much for our team.”
Said McDermott: “Every game we’ve shown that we’re getting better as players and as a unit. So I think next season and the games coming up, we’re really going to show people and prove ourselves.”