GIRLS BASKETBALL Cardinals rally in fourth quarter
Falling behind by eight points to New Canaan in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s girls basketball game, didn’t signal panic, or letdown time to Greenwich.
The Cards didn’t fold. Instead, they raised their defensive intensity, cut down on their turnovers and converted their foul shots.
All of that added up to a significant momentum-boost for the Cardinals heading into the Holiday.
Scoring 16 of the matchup’s final 20 points, Greenwich erased an eight-point deficit and recorded a 43-39 comeback win over host New Canaan in an FCIAC game.
Senior center Taylor Stamos scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed a team-best 19 rebounds to power the Cardinals (2-3, 1-2 FCIAC). After freshman Meghan Driscoll gave New Canaan a 35-27 lead by swishing a 3-pointer from the right side, GHS finished with a flurry, outscoring the Rams, 16-4, the rest of the game.
“The key was to lower our turnovers and get to the line more, because we won that game on the line,” Stamos said. “We also had to keep up our energy and play with high intensity, because that’s where we have been slacking in recent games.”
Guard Jordan Moses, a senior, scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter, six of which came from the foul line, for the victors. Senior guard Michelle Morganti and sophomore forward Beatriz Owens added six points apiece for Greenwich, which led 22-19 at halftime.
“I’m really proud of the girls for their effort,” Cardinals coach Chrys Hernandez said. “Their composure at the end of the game was the difference-maker. The game could have gone either way the last few minutes, but we stuck to our game plan of stepping to the ball and attacking the basket. Because of that we went to the line a lot.”
New Canaan (3-2), which entered the matchup riding a three-game winning streak, was paced by 10 points from sophomore Quinn McKiernan and seven points apiece from junior Katherine Dunn and Driscoll.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Rams coach John Winchester said. “Greenwich got to a lot of the 50/50 balls, which is big in the game of basketball. They got a lot of second and third chance points by getting offensive rebounds.”
Trailing 35-27, Greenwich began its comeback. Junior forward Ciara Munnelly made two free throws, Owens converted a layup off a steal and Stamos swished a pair of shots from the line, cutting the Rams’ advantage to 35-33.
A basket by Morganti evened the score at 35-35 with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter, then two foul shots by Dunn gave New Canaan a 37-35 edge at the 3:12 mark. The home team managed only two points the rest of the way, while Moses scored Greenwich’s final eight points — which were all of her points in the game.
Her transition layup tied the score at 37-37 and foul shot less than a minute later gave the Cards the lead for good at 38-37 with 1:35 remaining.
Three more foul shots from Moses made it 41-37, before a basket by junior forward Jane Charlton pulled New Canaan to within 41-39. Moses sealed the win by making two foul shots with 17.2 seconds remaining, giving GHS a four-point lead.
“We definitely knew we should have won this game, so when we were trailing that sparked us to play good defense and get the ball back,” Moses said. “At the end of the day, hard work, hustle and getting to the ball helped us come back. It was a little nerve-wracking at the end, but you have to pull yourself together and finish it off.”
A solid third quarter enabled the Rams to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 29-27 edge following the third quarter. McKiernan made a 3-pointer, then banked in a runner in the lane, putting New Canaan on top, 29-24, with 35 seconds to go in the third quarter. Owens’ 3-pointer made it a two-point game heading into the final quarter.
Stamos, who had five steals, scored 10 first-half points for Greenwich, which received four points apiece from Munnelly and forward Kelly Martyanov.
“This is an important win for us,” Stamos said. “Hopefully, it will give us some momentum.”
Both teams played aggressive man-to-man defense most of the game and mixed in some full-court pressure, which forced turnovers.
“We were losing after the first half and we got the lead in the second half with a good third quarter,” Dunn said. “It was a tough game. We just need to come into every game focused and we need to work on playing our game and not make our opponents get us frantic. Staying disciplined is important for us.”
Greenwich plays in the Planville Holiday Tournament, beginning Thursday.
“I think this win will help put us back on our feet, after two tough losses,” Morganti said. “We know we are capable of winning and this gives us confidence going into the break.”
Said Hernandez: “New Canaan is an aggressive team and we had to match and exceed their intensity tonight to be successful.”
New Canaan hosts Darien on Dec. 29.
“We didn’t play our best game, but we were still in the game and winning it at certain points,” Winchester said. “We just need to tighten up our play and take care of the basketball.”
GREENWICH 43, NEW CANAAN 39
Julia Conforti 1 0-0 2; Jordan Moses 1 6-8 8; Ciara Munnelly 1 2-2 4; Michelle Morganti 1 3-6 5; Bea Owens 2 1-2 6; Kelly Martyanov 1 2-2 4; Taylor Stamos 5 4-10 14. Totals: 12 18-30 43.
NEW CANAAN (39)
Emily Shizari 1 1-2 3; Katie Dunn 1 5-6 7; Quinn McKiernan 4 0-0 10; Katherine Lisecki 2 0-2 4; Meghan Driscoll 3 0-0 7; Jane Charlton 2 0-2 4; Caity Blair 1 0-0 2; Elizabeth DeMarino 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 6-12 39.
3-pointers: G - Owens; NC - McKiernan 2, Driscoll.
Records: Greenwich 2-3; New Canaan 3-2.