Greenwich High

Behind a balanced scoring effort and solid defense, Greenwich boys basketball team wins a thriller against Stamford, 50-49

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s James Wailgum, right, looks to make a pass while being guarded by Stamford’s Joseph Salvatore during a basketball game held at Greenwich High School on Jan. 27, 2023.

Back-and-forth the lead went during last night’s boys basketball game between Greenwich and Stamford, as the lead changed hands numerous times, before the Cardinals gained significant separation during the latter part of the third quarter and early portion of the fourth quarter.

Senior 6-foot-8 center Jack Quinn scored eight straight points, turning a tie game into an eight-point Cardinals lead early in the fourth quarter – a run that proved to be pivotal for the home team.

Greenwich needed every one of those points that Quinn provided off the bench, since Stamford closed to within one point in the final minute, but was unable to get past the Cards.

Greenwich forward Xavion Faison looks to make a move in the low post during a game against Stamford.

Senior guard Aidan Karson scored 13 points, Quinn totaled eight points and senior power forward Dominic DeLuca added seven to help lead Greenwich pull out a tight 50-49 win over Stamford, before a large Friday night crowd at Greenwich High.

The victory was important for the Cardinals’ postseason hopes. Coached by Todd Trimmer, Greenwich improved its overall record to 7-4 and upped its mark in the FCIAC to 4-3. The Cardinals are currently tied with Trumbull for third place in the FCIAC West Division and have the sixth-best record in the conference. The top eight teams qualify for the FCIAC Tournament.

Against the Black Knights (6-5, 3-5 FCIAC), Greenwich trailed 32-26 at halftime, before heading into the fourth quarter with a 53-39 lead. Playing a man-to-man defense, while sporadically mixing in a 2-3 zone, GHS limited Stamford to 17 second-half points.

Greenwich’s Jonathan Brennan drives to the basket during first half action against Stamford on Jan. 27, 2023 in Greenwich.

“We’re struggling with our identity offensively, but we’re playing good enough defense to keep us in every game,” Trimmer said. “Tonight was a nice effort in the second half. We got some good looks, we finished, we made some foul shots and we held them to 17 points in the second half.”

Junior guard/forward Jonathan Brennan scored seven points, including a 3-pointer, while James Wailgum, a senior guard, added four points and an aggressive defensive effort to spark the victors. Junior guard/forward Joseph Salvatore scored a game-high 15 points, while converting three 3-pointers for Stamford.

“It was definitely a tough game, they’re a really good team, obviously,” DeLuca said of Stamford. “There were a couple of mistakes on our part, but the last couple of minutes of the Fairfield Warde game on Tuesday, the effort we showed, the fight – we decided we have to carry that into every single game.”

The Cards entered last night’s game off a 51-47 home loss to Fairfield Warde on Tuesday. Playing in close games is the norm for Greenwich. Including last night’s matchup against the Knights, nine of Greenwich’s first 11 games have been decided by six points or less.

Before a big crowd at Greenwich High School, Aiden Karson of Greenwich gets ready to shoot a foul shot after Stamford was whistled for a technical foul during a basketball game, held at Greenwich High School.

“Typically, that’s a game that maybe we left slip away, so I’m proud of them for grinding and fighting in the last couple of minutes,” Trimmer said of his team’s play vs. Stamford. “We’ve been preaching in the locker room if we can get our defense right and get after guys then we can win these types of games.”

A crucial point in this FCIAC matchup came when Quinn showed his force in the low post from the late third quarter to the early fourth quarter. With the score tied at 39-39, Quinn received a pass on the right block in the low post and scored, giving GHS a 41-39 edge late in the third quarter. Another basket from close in by Quinn put the Cardinals on top, 43-39, going into the final quarter.

The home team successfully passed the ball inside to Quinn to start the fourth quarter and the squad’s center drew two fouls, resulting in four foul shots the first minute of the quarter. Quinn swished all four free throws, giving the Cards a 47-39 advantage with 7:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“As soon as I go in, I know I have the side advantage, so I wanted to use that to get some easy points and give the team a lift off the bench,” Quinn said.

Greenwich and Stamford met in an FCIAC boys basketball matchup before a large crowd at Greenwich High School.

“His production offensively has been good,” Trimmer said of Quinn. “He had eight points and they were huge points and it was a time the game was tied, so it separated us a little bit. He was a huge lift, it’s what he can do.”

“When we put Jack in there, he got some good, important buckets for us,” DeLuca noted.

At the 3:13 mark of the fourth quarter, Brennan sank a pair of foul shots to put the hosts ahead, 50-44. Those were Greenwich’s last points of the game, however, enabling the visitors to come close to winning the game.

A layup by sophomore Ejai Presley, a free throw from senior center Chris Nana and a layup in traffic by Salvatore cut brought Stamford to within 50-49 with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Greenwich was able to hold off their rival from close by, however.

“The defense in the second half was really good,” Quinn noted. “They’re a good team, but we definitely stepped up when we needed to. It’s a huge win for the team.”

Presley scored 12 points, eight of which came in the first half, while junior Jeremiah Winchester and sophomore Ryan Conners scored six points apiece for Stamford. Junior forward Xavion Faison made a key free throw for a point for the victors.

Greenwich center Jack Quinn takes a shot under the basket while being tightly defended against Stamford.

The opening quarter concluded in a 12-12 tie and Greenwich went ahead, 15-12, when Brennan nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner early in the second quarter.

A basket off an offensive rebound by DeLuca and a runner in the lane from Maloney made it 25-22 in favor of GHS later in the second quarter. The Knights went on a 7-0 run to seize a 29-25 lead, before entering halftime with a six-point advantage.

Karson had nine first-half points to pace the Cards, who visit Trumbull Tuesday for another important FCIAC matchup. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Greenwich’s James Wailgum makes a move toward the basket against Stamford.

“We played well in the fourth quarter against Warde (on Tuesday) and we carried it over into tonight,” Trimmer said. “We have a really tough schedule coming up. We’re at Trumbull, we have St. Joseph at home, then we’re at Ridgefield and at Danbury, so this is a stretch which makes this win even more important.”

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