Eleven games are in the books and nine remain in the regular season for the Greenwich High School girls basketball team, which is solid standing heading into the second half of the season.
The Cardinals sport a record of 6-5, following a busy week that saw them play three games, two of which were against FCIAC foes. Greenwich began the week with a victory against visiting Norwalk, then defeated Bridgeport Central, also at home.
The action-packed week concluded yesterday for the Cardinals with a home loss against formidable SWC opponent Newtown.
On Friday night, the Cards shook off a bit of a slow start on their way to rolling to a 56-28 triumph against Bridgeport Central. Coached by Megan Wax, Greenwich led the Rams, 15-8, after the first quarter, before bringing a comfortable 34-13 advantage into halftime.
Junior guard Ayanna Davenport scored a team-high 12 points to pace the Cardinals against Bridgeport Central. Senior guard/captain Sophia Sergio tallied nine points, as did senior forward/captain Julia Monteiro for Greenwich.
The score was tied 8-8 after a Bridgeport Central basket, but GHS ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run and never looked back. Junior forward Riana Xkekaj made a basket in the low post, putting the Cards ahead for good, at 10-8.
Freshman guard Madi Utzinger converted a layup off a steal by Davenport and Monteiro made a foul line jumper, putting the home team on top, 14-8, late in the first quarter.
“Bridgeport is super athletic and quick and really aggressive and the first quarter we were slow to respond to it – it took a little while for us to get into our normal rhythm,” Wax said. “Then we got into our rhythm and we had great ball movement, which led to great looks as well.”
Baskets by sophomore forward Lara Young and Davenport upped Greenwich’s lead to 21-9 early in the second quarter. Monteiro scored off a well-executed move in the post, Davenport banked in a 3-pointer and Sergio converted a layup in transition, giving GHS a 32-11 advantage late in the second quarter.
The Cardinals defense (2-3 zone) picked up as this FCIAC matchup progressed.
“We did a good job, we’ve been working a lot on our communication and shifting correctly,” Wax said of the squad’s defensive effort. “Overall, we were great on the boards in the first half.”
Young scored eight points, while junior forward Riana Xhekaj added six points in the winning effort. Davenport got the Cards going in the second half, swishing a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 37-13 lead. A basket off a putback by Young and a 3-pointer from senior guard/captain Carolyn Frankle put GHS on top by a 49-23 margin late in the third quarter.
“We were very clean offensively in the first half, we had very few turnovers,” Wax noted. “Overall, I’m very pleased.”
Frankle had five points and Utzinger chipped in five points as well for the victors. Senior guard Laura Smego added two points for Greenwich, which hosted Newtown yesterday.
Against Newtown, Greenwich jumped out to a great start, seizing a 16-4 first-quarter lead. Yet after outscoring the Nighthawks, 16-4, in the opening quarter, the visitors made a strong run in the second quarter.
Visiting Newtown outscored Greenwich, 20-9 in the second quarter to close to within 25-24 at halftime. In the third quarter, Newtown took the lead, scoring 16 points, while the Cardinals managed five points.
The Cardinals managed to score just two points during the fourth quarter, as Newtown pulled away for a 47-32 win. For Greenwich, Davenport continued her impressive shooting, scoring 13 points. Sergio totaled five points, while Smego and Utzinger tallied three points apiece.
Senior forward Allie Bradley paced Newtown’s comeback, scoring 13 points, eight of which came in the first half. Junior guard Bella Gerace posted 12 points for the Nighthawks, who improved their record to 10-2. Newtown extended its winning steak to nine games with the victory.
“The SWC is really strong this year, overall,” Wax said. “Newtown has been doing really well in their league.”
Greenwich has a record of 4-2 in the FCIAC and is on the road for three straight games, beginning Tuesday. The Cardinals visit Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday, then visit Stamford on Friday and Westhill on Saturday.