Sacred Heart Greenwich

Sacred Heart Greenwich basketball team topped Storm King School on Senior Day

Contributed photo: Sacred Heart Greenwich’s basketball team gathers after their win against Storm King School. The Tigers paid tribute to senior Olivia Caponiti (center, holding the sign) with a Senior Day ceremony.

Sacred Heart Greenwich’s basketball team celebrated Senior Day in winning style on Thursday, a game in which they honored their only senior Olivia Caponiti.

The Tigers put the finishing touch on a successful regular season with a 53-49 comeback win over visiting Storm King School in a non-league matchup. Up next for the Tigers is a game against Greenwich Country Day School in the quarterfinal-round of the FAA Tournament on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Sacred Heart will host the playoff game as the No. 4 seed, while Greenwich Country Day is seeded fifth.

On Thursday, the Tigers honored Caponiti, a senior, who has been on the varsity team since she was an eighth-grader.

“Olivia first joined the varsity squad as an eighth-grader and was an immediate sponge, soaking up all she could from Sarah Eckerson and Sarah Augustine (Sacred Heart graduates and former basketball standouts). She had just had a breakout sophomore winter season when she tore her ACL during her spring lacrosse season,” Sacred Heart coach Ayo Hart said. She rehabbed in the pool with the swim team last season.”

A power forward/center, Caponiti came back strong this season, helping SHG a lot in the rebounding department, as well as providing effective defense in the low post and scoring from her position.

“I thought losing her junior year and coming back from a serious injury would make Olivia hesitant and that she would need a lot of time to get back into the flow,” Hart said. “On the contrary, she came back this year stronger than ever. She has made an immediate impact on the team both on and off the court.”

Olivia is a three-sport athlete, committed to play field hockey at Princeton,” Hart continued. “She is our student body President and an incredible young lady.”

Contributed photo: Olivia Caponiti, center, was honored on Senior Day by the Sacred Heart Greenwich basketball team.

In Thursday’s well-earned win against a formidable Storm King squad, junior guard/forward Payton Sfreddo, a co-captain, who recently reached the 1,000-point scoring milestone, scored a team-high 20 points to lead the Tigers.

Junior guard/co-captain Madison Hart scored eight points, while sophomore guard Eva Wilkerson had seven points for the Tigers. An 11-0 run in the first half, sparked by Madison Hart and sophomore forward Jada Marie Henry gave the Tigers a 20-6 lead, but Storm King responded with a 12-2 run to close to within 24-20 late in the first half.

“Storm King tried to press, but co-captains Payton Sfreddo and Madison Hart worked seamlessly with sophomore Eva Wilkerson in the backcourt to capitalize on pressure and convert easy baskets, with Henry at the rim.”

Sacred Heart entered halftime with a 27-22 lead, then padded its advantage on five straight points by Sfreddo to open the third quarter. However, Storm King proceeded to post leads of 39-35, 41-37 and 49-45 in the fourth quarter.

Wilkerson connected on a floater in the line with 1:53 left to play, cutting Storm King’s lead to 49-47 and with 40 seconds remaining in the game, Sfreddo converted a 3-pointer from the corner off a pass from junior guard Victoria Hart, giving the Tigers the lead for good at 50-49.

In the game’s final seconds, Sfreddo swished three foul shots, sealing Sacred Heart’s victory. Sfreddo grabbed nine rebounds, Henry totaled 12 rebounds and Caponiti snared nine rebounds in the winning effort.

Caponiti scored five points, Henry finished with six points and forward Maddie Hooper contributed three points for SHG. Victoria Hart and junior guard Olivia Leahy had two points apiece for the host Tigers.

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