Sacred Heart Greenwich

Sacred Heart Greenwich basketball team advanced to NEPSAC semifinals with road victory over Kent School in quarterfinals

Payton Sfreddo, left, pictured here during a regular season game against School of the Holy Child, had 16 points in Sacred Heart Greenwich’s NEPSAC Class A quarterfinal against Kent School. Madison Hart, right, had seven points.

Sacred Heart Greenwich’s basketball team made school history by advancing to the semifinal-round of the NEPSAC Tournament for the first time by defeating Kent School in the quarterfinals. Now the Tigers are out to record another history-making win for the program.

Fifth-seeded Sacred Heart will play top-seeded Thayer Academy in Saturday’s 2 p.m. NEPSAC Class A Tournament semifinals at Thayer Academy. The winner will move on to the tournament’s championship game, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Sacred Heart earned the right to compete in the NEPSAC Class A semifinals with an exciting 52-49 road triumph against fourth-seeded Kent School in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

“We knew in order to advance in the tournament, we needed to put together 32 min of basketball defensively first and foremost,” Sacred Heart coach Ayo Hart said. “We were able to do just that. We got off to a great start.  In the first quarter, every single one of our starters scored, and even the shots that didn’t fall were high quality shots that I would want our girls to take any day of the week.”

Junior forward Payton Sfreddo scored a team-high 16 points, 11 of which came during the first half, to spark the Tigers. She made a 3-pointer and played stellar defense against Kent 6-foot-5 forward/center Morgan Lee.

Sacred Heart Greenwich advanced to the NEPSAC Class A semifinals with a win over Kent School.

“I could not have asked for anything more of her,” Hart said. “Her athleticism and mobility caused some real headaches for Lee, and on the offensive end, Payton somehow had the energy to hit her signature shots and finish at the rim at will.”

Freshman guard Eva Wilkerson contributed 13 points for Sacred Heart against Kent and also converted a 3-pointer.

“Eva had a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor,” Hart said. “She hit some huge shots for us throughout the game that really lifted our team and played insanely well on the defensive end.”

Senior 6-4 center/co-captain Sarah Augustine scored eight of her 12 points in the first half, enabling the Tigers to get off to a positive start.

“Sarah had a terrific day,” Hart said. “She showed her beautiful shooting touch, her ability to defend on the perimeter as well as in the paint, and most importantly her much needed leadership in what was a tight game throughout.”

Sarah Augustine of Sacred Heart Greenwich, pictured here during a regular season game against Greenwich Country Day School, had 12 points and seven rebounds against Kent School in the NEPSAC Class A quarterfinals.

Sophomore guard Madison Hart totaled seven points for the victors.

“Madison came up big for us on both ends,” coach Hart said. “She facilitated our offense seamlessly, delivering passes to her teammates at just the right moment in just the right spot while shredding Kent’s defense with her speed and shifty handles. She took her 11th charge of the season and made a couple of moves that electrified the bench and our fans.”

Sacred Heart led Kent, 16-15, after the first quarter, then took a 30-29 edge into halftime. They held a 47-38 advantage after three quarters. Lee scored a game-high 21 points to pace the Lions. She scored 14 in the first half. Junior Ruby Santos chipped in 14 points for Kent.

“The second quarter would see us continue to enjoy success on the offensive end, but we struggled to do the one thing defensively that we knew we had to do to beat Kent – keep the ball out of the hands of Georgetown commit Morgan Lee,” coach Hart said. “We came out in the third quarter locked in on stepping up our defense, and we did just that.”

“Our team continued to play unselfishly on the offensive end, and they showed incredible cohesiveness on the defensive end holding Lee to just one field goal and subsequently Kent to a single-digit quarter to increase our lead,” Hart continued.

Senior forward Franny O’Brien scored three points and had three rebounds, sophomore forward Kaitlin Robinson tallied one point and three assists and Augustine grabbed seven rebounds in the winning effort. Wilkerson had four steals and four rebounds, Madison Hart posted five assists, Sfreddo snared six rebounds and sophomore guard Victoria Hart totaled five steals to also spark the victory.

“I could not be more proud of these young ladies,” coach Hart said.  “They have a unique opportunity to etch their names in the history books at Sacred Heart, and they are embracing that and each other with a sense of determination, unity and sheer love for the game that is fun to watch.”

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