Greenwich High School’s boys basketball team entered the week knowing it needed to win its final two regular season games to have a chance to qualify for the FCIAC Tournament and it took care of its first order of business tonight with a sensational Senior Night performance.
The Cardinals weren’t about to have a letdown against winless Westhill on their special night, soaring to a 16-point halftime lead, then extending it to more than 30 points with a huge second-half spurt on their way to recording a resounding 61-34 home triumph.
The Senior Night victory improved Greenwich’s record to 10-9 overall and 7-8 in the FCIAC. Currently, New Canaan, McMahon and Greenwich each have 7-8 records in FCIAC play and are battling for the eighth and final berth in the eight-team FCIAC Tournament, which commences on Saturday. Greenwich hosts New Canaan Wednesday in a 7 p.m. matchup that could determine the No. 8 and final seed for the FCIAC Tournament.
McMahon lost to Trumbull tonight, putting their FCIAC record at 7-8, while New Canaan was defeated by Ridgefield, making them 7-8 in the conference, along with Greenwich. Darien, which topped Greenwich last week, dropped to 6-9 in the conference with a loss to Ridgefield tonight.
“It was a must win game for us, we had to win to stay alive,” Cardinals coach Todd Trimmer said of tonight’s game against visiting Westhill. “It was a playoff game basically for us. If things happen a certain way tonight then that’s a play-in game.”
Things did break right for the Cardinals tonight, as the results listed above illustrate, so Wednesday’s game against New Canaan is especially significant. Against Westhill, held a slim 14-12 lead after the first quarter, extended it to 33-17 at halftime, then opened the second half with a eye-opening 21-0 run to soar to a 54-17 advantage.
Greenwich honored its seven seniors with a Senior Night ceremony prior to the FCIAC matchup against the Vikings and started some of its senior athletes. All seven seniors scored points in the decisive win.
“It was fun seeing the seniors get out there, they work hard in practice,” Cardinals senior captain/forward Dominic DeLuca said. “So, it’s a good reward for them to get out there and play.”
DeLuca scored 13 points, all of which came in the first half. Eleven of those points came during the second quarter, as he used his strength and 6-foot-6 frame to his advantage. Senior 6-8 center Jack Quinn posted 10 points, with all of them coming in the third quarter, while senior guard Ryan Brown had nine points, six of which were scored in the opening quarter for the Cardinals.
“It was definitely special, this is a good group of guys, I’m so close with all of them and it was good to get a convincing win tonight,” Quinn said. “This win gives us momentum for Wednesday. It was special to go out there with all of them, we were all having a good time.”
Senior guard/captain James Wailgum added five points and his usual tenacious defensive play, while junior guard/captain Aidan Karson had four points in the winning effort.
“My senior year on the team has been great, it’s nice to come out every day and be with a good group of guys and play basketball,” Wailgum noted. “It was a feel-good game, it was nice to get everyone out on the floor, especially the seniors. It’s also nice to get the freshmen, who got pulled up, some minutes as well.”
Senior guard JP Maher banked in a runner in the lane, putting GHS on top, 8-3, early in the first quarter. A 3-pointer by Westhill sophomore guard Joey Homicki from the right corner tied the score at 12-12 with 2:26 remaining in the opening quarter, but the Cards regained the lead at 14-12 on a putback by DeLuca.
DeLuca ignited the Cardinals in the second quarter. His basket off a strong move in the paint, followed by a 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the home team a 23-14 lead at the 4:46 mark of the second quarter. Two more baskets by DeLuca in the low post, made it 27-14. Wailgum converted a layup and DeLuca scored again, making it 33-17 at halftime.
Elliot Staple, a senior center, scored four points, as did junior forward Ryan Brennan and junior guard Connor Parkes for GHS, which used a 27-0 run to open a 54-17 lead on the Vikings. Senior forward Luke Marzullo and junior guard Jonathan Brennan added two points apiece for the victors.
Homicki had 12 points with two 3-pointers for Westhill, which received six points from Juan Rangel.
“We didn’t have that much chemistry going into the season, but we have grown as a family and we have definitely bonded,” Karson said. “We’ve had bonding situations and have grown as a family.”
Trimmer appreciates the seniors on the squad and the commitment and teamwork they have shown over the years.
“They are a nice group, they are nice guys, it really is a special group,” he said. “When I took over the program, these kids were sophomores. I’ve been very blessed, I’ve had good kids and they are very close.”
Greenwich, which has qualified for the state tournament, hosts New Canaan in an all-important game on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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