Converting four 3-pointers in the first quarter certainly set the tone nicely for the Greenwich Country Day School girls basketball team to accomplish its mission against Greenwich Academy and put itself in the best possible position for the rapidly approaching FAA Tournament.
The Tigers’ standout shooting in the opening quarter enabled them to build an early lead and continue to peak into top form for the all-important league tournament.
Greenwich Country Day School extended its winning streak to three games in the FAA, registering an impressive 56-25 victory over host Greenwich Academy in a league matchup. With the triumph, GCDS improved its record to 4-4 in the FAA, heading into Wednesday’s home game against league foe School of the Holy Child, which is sports a 4-4 FAA mark. The winner of Wednesday’s game will earn the No. 5 seed in next week’s eight-team FAA Tournament, with the losing team getting the No. 6 seed.
Junior point guard Brianna McDermott scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Tigers, who held leads of 16-9 and 30-14, following the first and second quarter, respectively.
“I thought we played super hard,” said McDermott, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half. “We definitely had to come together at certain points, so we did that well.”
Greenwich Country Day coach Elisa Brown has enjoyed watching McDermott help ignite the team’s offense.
“She’s become not just a scoring point guard, she’s a facilitator,” Brown said of McDermott. “She’s now putting her teammates, not only in the best place possible, but pushing her teammates to be their best selves. Watching that has been fantastic.”
Junior guard Paloma Snisky scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while senior forward Kylie Frank totaled nine points, all of which came off shots from 3-point range for Greenwich Country Day.
“We worked on it in practice, we had an early morning shoot around,” McDermott said. “We prepared for this and everyone pushed each other. They were keying on me, but Kylie was shooting so well.”
Pacing Greenwich Academy was senior forward Ellie Johnson, who scored eight points. Senior guard Ellie Burdick and freshman guard Mirabel Rodgers added four points apiece for the Gators, who have a record of 3-5 in the FAA. GA, seems to be locked into the No. 7 seed for the FAA Tournament.
Greenwich Academy, which has four wins on the season, after having one win last season, has defeated FAA foes Masters School, Rye Country Day School and Hopkins this winter.
“Games like this go a long way for us to move forward,” GA coach Jordan Griffith said. “Brianna (McDermott) is a great player, she can score from anywhere on the court. They have a lot of great shooters around them and they shot the ball well.”
Driving to her left, McDermott’s layup gave GCDS the lead for good at 4-3 midway through the first quarter. Frank swished a 3-pointer from the left side, McDermott made shot from beyond the arc from the top of the key and Frank made another 3-pointer from the left corner, upping the Tigers’ lead to 13-3 with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
“We’ve been putting in the time to focus on hitting the open shots,” Brown said. “You get so many opportunities, so it’s huge when you do get the opportunity, to knock it down.”
For the game, GCDS made eight 3-pointers, five of which came during the opening half.
“Paloma (Snisky) has been putting in the time in getting in the gym to get her shot up. Kylie (Frank) is trying to fight for our record for the most 3s in our school. She’s had a high of six 3s in a game.”
GA closed to within 13-9 on a basket by Rodgers, a putback by Johnson and a basket from the low post by freshman Mallory Walker. A 3-pointer by Frank, gave the Tigers a 16-9 advantage heading into the second quarter. The second quarter began with a 9-0 run for the Tigers, raising their lead to 25-9.
Freshman forward Mia Grant nailed a foul line jumper, Snisky swished a 3-pointer from the right left wing and McDermott converted four foul shots to cap the visitors’ scoring spurt.
“I thought our bench energy was really good and I love how everyone was so supportive,” Frank said.
GCDS applied full court pressure during the first half and was aggressive defensively.
“We were really good at causing turnovers and we have a lot of great defenders,” Frank noted.
A 3-pointer by McKenna Brewer and a fastbreak layup by Burdick brought Greenwich Academy to within 25-14, however, Greenwich Country Day capped the second quarter with a 6-0 run, behind a 3-pointer from sophomore Nina Ferry and a pair of free throws from McDermott, making it 30-14.
Ferry scored eight points, while junior forward Ana Lonski added four points in the winning effort. Jashiyah McCoy had three points, while GCDS teammates Carmelia Zuniga, Grant and Reva Bodas added two points apiece.
Sydney Dettmer, Elizabeth Spaulding and Walker each had two points, while Brewer totaled three for the Gators.
“They had quite a few players, we did a good job of marking them, but we also we have room for improvement,” said Burdick, who guarded McDermott throughout. “We have room for improvement in figuring out how we can be a cohesive defensive team.”
Said Johnson: “Everyone continued to work hard and do their best. The bench was enthusiastic and loud, which helped us to continue to get out there.”
Greenwich Academy was coming off a 34-25 win over Canterbury School – a Senior Day triumph for GA, this past Saturday.
“Saturday was a great day, we have five incredible seniors – Alie and Lizzy Spaulding, Maddie Azrak, Ellie Johnson and Ellie Burdick,” Griffith said. “Our girls came out and supported them as much as they could.”
“It was so nice for our underclassmen put on such a good senior day for us and it was great for our team chemistry,” Burdick added. “We’ve come a long way from the start of last year and start of this year.”
Greenwich Country Day has made a marked improvement from a season ago as well and has emerged into a threat in the FAA.
“From last year, we have come together as a group,” McDermott said. “And this year, from our first game to today, there’s been such a big improvement.”
The game was the last regular season matchup for Greenwich Academy, which will take the court next in the first round of the FAA Tournament. Greenwich Country Day hosts Holy Child in a significant FAA game, before beginning tournament play.
“I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen,” Frank said. “I’m manifesting that we’re going to do so well and hopefully, make it to the championships.”
Categories: Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School, Winter sports
Do you plan on ever reporting on GA’s squash team? They just won their 7th national championship in a row and have won 15 of the 17 (no tournament in 2021 for COVID) championships since it was established in 2005. It’s bizarre that you don’t even mention what is arguably the most dominant high school sports team in the USA.