GREENWICH — Tuesday marked the beginning of the FAA girls basketball tournament, and conference rivals Sacred Heart Greenwich and Greens Farms Academy each rose to the important occasion, as each squad had its moments on both ends of the court.
Yet a balanced scoring effort and effective play inside turned the tide in the Tigers’ favor.
Senior forward Ciara Henry led three players in double figures with 12 points in Sacred Heart’s hard-fought 57-49 win over Greens Farms Academy in the FAA quarterfinals.
With the win, the Tigers (8-9) advanced to the semifinal round of the FAA Tournament, where they will play either Hamden Hall Country Day School or Hopkins School on Thursday.
Senior forward Laura Holland added 11 points, sophomore guard Leah Atkins contributed 10 and junior center Sarah Eckerson had nine points for the host Tigers.
“The team played so well and so fluidly together,” Henry said. “Everyone was awesome. We made great passes, we looked around, got the ball inside and reversed the ball.”
The Dragons, who dropped a 52-44 regular-season decision to the Tigers earlier this month, finished their season at 9-14.
“Overall, we played two halves of basketball, which is what we have been fighting for all season,” GFA coach Jennifer Harris said. “I don’t think our players have anything to be upset about, other than losing. They left it all out on the court.”
Greens Farms was powered by the outstanding perimeter shooting of Georgia Grabowski. The Dragons’ freshman forward scored a team-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
“We played well and never gave up,” Grabowski said. “I really appreciate these girls, they play hard no matter what. Give Sacred Heart credit, they played very good defense. They were just very good”
Junior guard Ryan Smith scored seven points and chipped in with a number of rebounds and steals, while junior forward Claire Liddy had six points for the Tigers.
EVEN FIRST HALF
Both squads went on mini-runs in the opening half and Sacred Heart entered halftime with a 23-21 edge. Eckerson’s jump shot from the right corner, and Liddy’s two free throws and jumper gave the Tigers a 21-14 lead with 3:10 left in the first half.
The visitors closed to within 23-21 when junior forward Kristiana Modzelewski scored in the low post and Grabowski converted a putback.
Grabowski made two 3-pointers in the first half, while junior Katherine Marcus and senior Hannah Kozdeba each had one for Greens Farms against the Tigers’ match-up zone defense.
Marcus finished with 15 points, while junior Kelly Van Hoesen contributed eight points for the Dragons.
Sacred Heart extended its halfcourt defense in the second half, playing more man-to-man defense to prevent Greens Farms’ shooters from having room to hoist shots from the perimeter.Read Full Article
“The second half, we face-guarded their two best players a lot, which helped us,” Smith said. “Once we did that on defense we were able to get it done.”
Marcus made two foul shots to tie the score at 26-26 and Grabowski buried a 3-pointer, bringing GFA to within 30-29 with 13:05 left in the second half. Holland swished two free throws, scored off a strong low post move and Eckerson made a basket in the paint, making it 36-29.
Three straight points from Van Hoesen cut Sacred Heart’s lead to 52-48 with just over one minute remaining in the game, but strong free throw shooting from Atkins and senior Stephanie Jordan sealed the Tigers’ win.
“Hats off to GFA, they played tonight like they played the second half of our first game against them,” Tigers coach Ayo Hart said. “We were fortunate that we had an inside presence that helped us to control the boards. It was a physical game that could have gone either way.”
Said Holland: “In the first half, we let them take a lot of 3-pointers, but in the second half we adapted our defense to their 3-point shots. We brought more intensity on defense in the second half and rebounded more.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Henry stepped up for the Tigers, scoring seven of her 12 points in the second half. Grabowski kept the Dragons within striking distance throughout with her impressive perimeter shooting. Sacred Heart shot 15 of 30 from the foul line, while GFA made eight of its 11 free throw attempts.
“They had a little bit of a rebounding edge and made some clutch shots at big moments and we missed some clutch shots at big moments,” Harris said. “I have 10 players coming back next year, so I feel we will be a strong team.”
Said Holland: “In my four years on the team, I have never been to a championship game, so that is our goal, getting to the finals.”
SACRED HEART 57, GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 49
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 21 28 — 49
SACRED HEART 23 34 — 57
GREENS FARMS (49)
Georgia Grabowski 6 0-0 17; Katherine Marcus 4 5-8 15; Kelly Van Hoesen 3 1-1 8; Isabella Litt 0 2-2 2; Kristiana Modzelewski 2 0-0 4; Hanna Kozdeba 1 0-0 3. Totals: 16 8-11 49
SACRED HEART (57)
Ciara Henry 5 0-0 12; Ryan Smith 3 1-6 7; Claire Liddy 2 2-2 6; Sarah Eckerson 4 1-2 9; Laura Holland 3 5-6 11; Leah Atkins 3 4-6 10; Morgan Smith 0 1-4 1; Stephanie Jordan 0 1-2 1; Alana Frederick 0 0-2 0; Ayna Ramseur-Moore 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 15-30 57.
3-pointers: GFA — Grabowski 5, Marcus 2, Van Hoesen, Kozdeba; SH — Ciara Henry 2.
Records: Sacred Heart 8-9; Greens Farms 9-14