GREENWICH -- While not the most aesthetically pleasing performance, the Convent of the Sacred Heart girls basketball team was able to scrape together a win against Greens Farms Academy, 45-32, Thursday night in the FAA quarterfinals.
Sacred Heart (16-4, 9-1), which advanced to the semifinals on Saturday, was led by senior captain Colleen O'Neill, who had 15 points, six steals, five assists and six rebounds. Sacred Heart coach Sean Green lauded his talented guard for her performance, despite the pressure mounted on her shoulders.
"I hold her to a very high standard, I consider her to be the best player in the league," Green said of O'Neill. "But I told her she has to play like that, she can't make mistakes. That's the whole thing, with great talent comes great responsibility and that's a lot to deal with. I call her the glue that holds the team together. She makes the team go."
With O'Neill at the helm Sacred Heart grabbed momentum early in the second half as it mounted a 20-point lead largely based on not allowing a Greens Farms (10-11, 4-6) point for the first six minutes. Flanking Colleen were here sister, Claire, who scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Emily O'Sullivan, who contributed 10 points and nine boards to the win.
It wasn't all smooth sailing, however as Greens Farms was able to rally late, at one time bringing the score to a single-digit difference, which worried Green.
"We put in little spurts of good basketball, enough to get a lead, but it's not championship basketball." Green said. "I want to win because we played good basketball. A win is a win, great, but we need to build good tendencies so we have a shot at the championship."
Green did praise his team for the way it hung tough when Greens Farms made its run.
"I'm still proud of them," Green said. "When adversity happened they held it together and come out with the win."
Despite the loss, Greens Farms coach Jenn Doughty was pleased with her team's effort.
"I told them I don't care the score I want to see you on the ground, I want four white jerseys down there and I want them to play every single minute hard and this game showed that," Doughty said. "It showed what they're made of, they're all heart."
Greens Farms' offense was led by freshman Lexi Kimball, who scored 25 of her team's 32 points, shooting 11-for-19 from the field, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range.
"She's obviously a very special player," Doughty said. "She's a natural scorer. What makes her that way is she works harder than anybody else; she's in the gym in her free periods working on her shooting, she's there on Sundays after six days of practice working on her ballhandling. She just loves the game. It's very nice to see what the hard work results in."
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY (10-11)
Caroline Kruk 0 0-0 0 Daly Naughton 0 2-4 2 Campbell Goldsmith 1 1-2 3 Lexi Kimball 10 0-1 25 Lisa Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 3-7 32. Read Full Article
CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART (16-4)
Colleen O'Neill 7 1-2 15 Emily O'Sullivan 5 0-2 10 Claire O'Neill 4 0-0 10 Bridget Scaturro 3 0-0 6 Shelby Holland 1 0-0 2 Lily O'Sullivan 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 1-4 45.
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 17 15--32
CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART 27 18--45
3-pointers: CSH--Cl. O'Neill 2; GFA--Kimball 5.