Greenwich High

Greenwich High girls basketball team edged by FCIAC foe Danbury on Senior Night in game’s final minute

Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich senior guard Sophia Sergio takes a shot from the perimeter against Danbury in a game held at Greenwich High School on Feb. 9, 2023. The Cardinals celebrated their Senior Night.

Holding a six-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Greenwich High School girls basketball team was close to earning a satisfying Senior Night victory against Danbury.

Yet ignited by two 3-pointers during a pivotal 20-second span, the Hatters finished the FCIAC game with a flurry, scoring the game’s final 10 points on their way to a key comeback win.

Junior guard Cameron Froehlich scored 20 points, 14 of which came in the first half, while senior Jolie Osborne totaled 14 points for Danbury in its 43-39 victory over host Greenwich on Thursday night.

The Cardinals are still in good position to qualify for the eight-team FCIAC Tournament. Greenwich, which has two games remaining in the regular season – matchups against Darien and Wilton – is currently in eighth place in the FCIAC with a 7-6 record in conference play. Danbury also has a 7-6, but is in seventh place in the FCIAC, since it defeated the Cardinals on Thursday.

Against Danbury, Greenwich was paced by 14 points from senior guard/tri-captain Sophia Sergio and 11 points from senior guard/tri-captain Carolyn Frankle.

Photo courtesy of Dan Utzinger: Greenwich senior guard Carolyn Frankle attempts a layup during a game against Danbury.

Sergio has experienced a number of memorable moments during her several seasons on Greenwich’s varsity squad.

“It’s meant a lot to me,” Sergio said. “It’s really become a family throughout my four years and I’ve really grown a bond with all the girls that I’ve been teammates with. This year, I’ve grown a very strong bond with my new coach.”

“Coming to school every day and looking forward to practices, looking forward to games, looking forward to seeing my teammates and coaches, it’s something that keeps me motivated and keeps me going,” Sergio continued.

Sergio, Frankle, Laura Smego and Ife Atinnubi were the four seniors the Cardinals honored on Senior Night.

“Sophia, she’s a great athlete she is always cheering people on she never loses faith,” Greenwich coach Megan Wax said, while describing her senior athletes. “Carolyn Frankle and Laura Smego, I’ve had them since they were on the freshman team, so seeing them grow up with the program and improve so much over the years, has been awesome. Ife is new this year to the school as a senior and she has been a great addition to the team. She works hard every single day and is trying to jell with this team.”

Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich senior guard Laura Smego gets ready to pass the ball in an FCIAC game vs. Danbury.

In a low-scoring first quarter, Greenwich held a 9-5 lead on Danbury after eight minutes of action, but the Hatters outscored the Cards, 20-5, in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 25-14 advantage. Froehlich powered Danbury in the first half with 14 points. Greenwich closed to within 31-29 after three quarters of play due to a strong third quarter and led for a good portion of the fourth quarter.

Freshman guard Madi Utzinger scored seven points, while junior forward/tri-captain Julia Monteiro added five points for GHS, which seemed poised for a win by making clutch plays midway through the final quarter.

A 3-pointer from the right side by Sergio, followed by a pull-up 3-pointer from Frankle from the top of the key gave Greenwich a 32-31 lead with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter. Frankle scored on a fastbreak layup, while being fouled, then converted the ensuing free throw, making it 35-31 at the 5:55 mark of the fourth quarter.

A basket off an offensive rebound and a jumper from the foul line by sophomore forward put the home team ahead at 39-33 with 2:25 to go in the fourth quarter. But those were the final points Greenwich scored, as Danbury ended this FCIAC matchup with a 10-0 run.

Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich forward Ife Akinnubi was one of the seniors honored by Greenwich on Senior Night.

“We’ve been talking at practice about end of game scenarios and making smarter decisions,” Wax said. “We have been working on that, but it’s a tough situation to overcome and today we had some issues. It didn’t end the way that we wanted, but it gives us something to think about and prepare for during the last week of the season.”

A long 3-pointer from the right side kept the game alive for the Hatters, as the big shot cut the Cardinals’ lead to 39-36 with 1:54 left in the final quarter. Applying a full court press, Danbury quickly forced a Greenwich turnover, leading to another 3-pointer by Froehlich 20 seconds later, evening the score at 39-39 (1:34 remaining).

Danbury created another GHS turnover, resulting in a layup in transition by senior guard Gabriella Kufour, giving her team a 41-39 edge with only 15 seconds remaining.

Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich sophomore Lara Young takes a shot from the foul line area against Danbury.

Kufouor had five points for Danbury and Young and junior forward Riana Xhekaj had four and two points, respectively for Greenwich.

The Cards held a 14-12 lead early in the second quarter, but the Hatters concluded the first half with a 13-0 run, sparked by Osborne and Froehlich, to seize a 25-14 advantage.

“You can’t win games in this league if you are going ot take off a quarter or two and our second quarter was slow,” Wax noted.

Greenwich continues its push toward qualifying for the FCIAC Tournament on Monday when it visits Darien for a 7 p.m. matchup. The Cardinals then close out their regular season with a home game against Wilton on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich’s Julia Monteiro, right, plays defense in a game against visiting Danbury.

“Everyone in the FCIAC is pretty good this year,” Sergio said. “It’s for grabs for anyone this year. We’re going to keep working on our fundamentals and becoming a 32-minute team.”

Frankle reflected on her two seasons as a member of the varsity team.

“This program has given me a lot of friends,” Frankle said. “I talk with them all the time, I hang out with them all the time. I’ve known coach Wax since sixth grade. I was with her freshman year. Overall, this program has given me the joy of my school day.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich freshman guard Madi Utzinger looks to pass the ball, while being guarded by Zahara Widito of Danbury during an FCIAC matchup on Feb. 9, 2023, at Greenwich High School.
Photo by Dan Utzinger: Greenwich’s Sophia Sergio drives to the basket while being defended by Reagan Lalor of Danbury, left and Zahara Widito during a basketball game at Greenwich High School. The Cardinals were defeated, 43-39.
Photo by David Fierro: Laura Smego of Greenwich dribbles around a pick set by Greenwich teammate Madi Utzinger.

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