Greenwich High

Possessing strong perimeter shooting and size, Greenwich’s boys basketball team out to qualify for the FCIAC, CIAC Division II tournaments this winter

Photo by David Fierro: Members of the Greenwich High School boys basketball program huddle around head coach Todd Trimmer during a recent practice at Greenwich High School. The Cardinals play Bunnell in their season-opener.

Tenacious defensive play, along with experience in both the frontcourt and backcourt, sparked the Greenwich High School basketball team’s success last season, which saw it advance to the Round of 16 of the CIAC Division II Tournament.

The Cardinals have less experience this year, but possess plenty of players capable of converting shots from the perimeter and a good amount of size – especially in the frontcourt.

“I was very excited about what the roster looked like after tryouts,” said Greenwich coach Todd Trimmer, who is beginning his third season at the helm. “We have a lot of potential, we have a lot of shooters, a lot of size and I think we could be pretty good. If we can get after teams defensively, I think we’re going to be pretty good.”

Photo by David Fierro: Dean Brown, right, is one of Greenwich’s starting guards.

During the 2021-2022 season, Greenwich produced a solid record of 13-10, while qualifying for both the FCIAC and CIAC Division II tournaments. The Cardinals lost to Ridgefield in the quarterfinal-round of the FCIAC Tournament last winter – Ridgefield went on to win the FCIAC championship – then GHS beat Simsbury, 43-34, in the opening round of the CIAC Division II state tournament.

Greenwich’s season ended with a 72-45 loss to second-seeded Northwest Catholic in the state tournament’s Round of 16. Northwest Catholic proceeded to advance to the championship game of the Division II tourney, where it lost to top-seeded Bristol Central, 56-36.

Center Chason Barber, guard James Pilc and guard Logan Galletta were among some of the Cardinals’ leading scorers last season. Barber and Pilc both graduated this past spring, while Galletta is attending The Hun School. Forwards Flynn Milledge and Andrew O’Donnell, who served as captains of the 2021-2022 squad, were also among some of the seniors who graduated from the Cards’ postseason squad.

Greenwich coach Todd Trimmer instructs the team during a drill at a recent practice at GHS.

Seniors Dean Brown, James Wailgum and Dominic DeLuca are the 2022-2023 season captains for the Cardinals, who enter the season with a lot of determination and optimism. Out of the returning players from last season, Brown had the highest points per game average.

“We have a lot of depth, we have guys who played very little minutes who will see significant time this year,” Trimmer said. “The backcourt should be solid, they are just inexperienced. The frontcourt, we’ve got some size.”

While most teams in the state have already begun their respective seasons, Greenwich still has to play its season-opener. The Cardinals will open their season on December 27 with a road game against non-conference opponent Bunnell.

“We have a lot of juniors this year, so there’s a lot of room for improvement and room for people to step up,” Brown said. “I’m excited about our roster. We’ve had this core for so long and now we get to see it play through.”

Dean Brown is a senior guard/captain on the Greenwich basketball team.

Brown, junior Aidan Karson, who also made key contributions last season, lead the backcourt, along with junior Jonathan Brennan, Wailgum, sophomore Ryan Brennan, Jonathan’s brother, sophomore Matthew Maloney and junior Connor Parkes.

“Dean is our leading returning scorer from last year,” Trimmer said. “Aidan Karson will be our starting point guard. He’s a tremendous athlete who has improved his shooting – he is the primary ballhandler and quarterback of our offense. James Wailgum is a defensive stopper and a great athlete. Jonathan Brennan and his brother Ryan Brennan and Matt Maloney are tremendous shooters.”

The Cards are looking for multi-talented 6-foot-7 junior Xavion Faison to ignite the offense from the forward position. Faison had his moments coming off the bench a season ago, but he will have a much-increased role this winter and should be relied upon to help lead the squad as on both ends of the court as a starter. With a lot of range on his shot, Faison should be one of the Cardinals main 3-point shooting threats and he can also flourish at driving to the basket and finishing at the rim.

Photo by David Fierro: Xavion Faison is a junior forward on Greenwich’s basketball team.

“I’m excited for the season, we’ve been working hard in practice and we’re ready to play,” Faison said. “Last year was a learning experience for me. I learned a lot behind Chason (Barber). I worked hard this season to be the best player and leader I can be for this team to make it better.”

Trimmer knows Faison will be one of the team’s go-to players on offense.

“Xavion stretches the court, he makes guys play him on the perimeter and he is able to get to the rim. Xavion is probably going to be one of our leading scorers.”

After visiting Bunnell, Greenwich plays FCIAC foe Brien McMahon on the road in Norwalk on Jan. 5, then travels to Newtown on Jan. 7. The Cardinals’ home-opener is scheduled for Jan. 10 against Fairfield Ludlowe.

“Most of our team can shoot, so we have to work on our defense and we all have to communicate and be strong both mentally and physically,” Faison noted.

Jonathan Brennan will be relied upon to help power Greenwich’s offense this season.

Jonathan Brennan can play both the guard and small forward positions. Brennan has impressive range with his jump shot and also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. A bench player last season, he should also see increased action this winter. Brennan spoke of how motivated the team was to reach its goals entering the season.

“Ever since we had our last game, that feeling we had in the locker room motivated me,” said Jonathan Brennan, who stands 6-foot-2. “We fell short, but we definitely knew that we had the talent to put a banner up in the gym. Every day I come in here and look around and there’s a banner for every single sport except basketball. So, I feel we have to put everything we have into this and put a banner up, because we definitely have the talent for a championship.”

The Cards’ 2021-2022 campaign was also a valuable season for Brennan, who joined the team as a sophomore one season ago.

“Last year, coming in as a sophomore, I got to learn from the guys like James Pilc, Logan Galletta and Chason,” Jonathan Brennan said. “It was great for me and my game to improve both on and off the court. This year I have to fill those shoes and become a leader for the team.”

Greenwich forward Eliot Staple shoots a jumper while coach Todd Trimmer looks on during a recent practice.

Senior Jack Quinn, who is 6-8, gives Greenwich an imposing presence in the low post at the center position. Quinn came off the bench last season, providing the team with scoring and rebounding. He’ll play a much bigger role this season for the Cards, who will look to get him the ball in the post and rely on him to gather reboounds.

“Last year was a big learning year for me, I was behind Chason,” Quinn said. “I learned you have to make the most of it, when I got in the game I made the most of it. I learned that I had to improve my defense, which I did in the offseason.”

With versatility in the backcourt and frontcourt, Greenwich has the potential to hold its own offensively.

“That was a really good team we had last year, so we’re looking to improve this season,” Quinn said. “One thing we have this year compared to last year is scoring. Last year, we were really good defensively, but this year our scoring can be better. This year we can be putting up 65, 70 up a night.”

Jack Quinn is a senior center on Greenwich’s basketball team.

Senior forward/center Elliot Staple, who stands about 6-7/6-8, also brings size and power to the frontcourt.

“We are probably going to play with two bigs on the court most of the time,” Trimmer noted. “We are going to be a hard matchup for teams, especially when we have two bigs on the court at the same time.”

“As a team, we want to be playing our best at the end of the season, which we have accomplished the last two years,” Trimmer continued. This team is very inexperienced at the FCIAC varsity level. But I think with our depth, there’s no reason why we can’t be toward the top of the FCIAC.”

Xavion Faison throws down a dunk for Greenwich during a recent practice.

“We are going to put our all into it,” Quinn said. “We finally want to put a banner up. I play with them these guys all year round and we really want to get a banner.”

James Wailgum, far right, is a senior guard/captain of the Greenwich basketball team.

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