Greenwich girls basketball team reclaims LaVista title with 66-36 victory over Darien

The Greenwich High School girls basketball team poses for a team photo after winning the LaVista Tournament championship game over Darien. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School girls basketball team poses for a team photo after winning the LaVista Tournament championship game over Darien. — Paul Silverfarb photo

For the second season in a row, the Greenwich High School girls basketball team was able to celebrate the holiday season with a trophy to bring home to Hillside Road.

Yesterday afternoon, the Lady Cardinals battled Darien High School in the championship game of the Tony LaVista Basketball Tournament at New Canaan High School and came away with the 66-36 victory.

“It’s a great feeling winning two game against two teams that we play a lot,” junior Alexa Moses said. “It gives us good momentum going into the season to stay on top. This is the first time in a while that we have had such a good start to the season and the confidence booster this tournament gave us will go a long way. When we put four quarters of basketball together, like we did today, and make sure we are hungry for all the balls, I think we are a dangerous team.”

Leading the way for Big Red was junior Jaime Kockenmeister, who finished with 16 points and added 12 rebounds.

“It’s great to defend our title,” Kockenmeister said. “Every year we are trying to build off what we did before and this year being able to repeat as champions here shows that we are on the right track. This trophy means so much to me. It shows that all the hard work we have done this season is paying off.”

For her effort in the tournament, Kockenmeister was named the LaVista Most Valuable Player.

“Jaime is an outstanding player,” Hernandez said. “She’s a hard worker and came into this season with a can’t lose attitude. She’s put everybody on her back. Losing (Connie) Barrett last season, I didn’t know who was going to step up and take that role. Jaime has and has done a really good job with that.”

Named to the LaVista All-Tournament team was fellow junior Leigh Galletta, who finished with six points and was stellar on the defensive side of the ball.

“It feels awesome right now,” Galletta said. “This is a really big game for us and it feels really good winning the tournament for the second time in a row. We didn’t hold back and made sure we played all four quarters of the game. We played hard and all the loose balls were ours. We focused on the little things that helped us get this big win.”

“Lee’s a solid point guard for us, which is something we really haven’t had in a couple of seasons,” Hernandez said. “She’s been doing an amazing job leading the team and letting them know where she wants them to be. She earned it.”

In addition, sophomore Abby Wolf finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow sophomore added 12 points and got half her points from behind the three-point line. Joining Galletta with six points on the day was senior Colleen Bennett. Senior Rebecca Decarlo rounded out the scoring with five points.

Big Red, which was tied with the Blue Wave 13-13 heading into the second quarter, exploded out of the gates to close out the half, grabbing a 20-6 lead in the second quarter and ending the half up 33-19.

“The girls really turned it up, worked hard and executed our game plan,” Greenwich head coach Chrys Hernandez said. “We were working our butts off on defense but we weren’t finishing on the other end. We gave Darien the opportunity to get back into the game and they were hanging with us. We finished a lot better the rest of the way.”

In fact, Greenwich held Darien to 17 points the entire second half. Leading the way on defense was the GHS trio of Rebecca Decarlo, Kockenmeister and Galletta.

“Defensively has been our identity,” Hernandez said. “Our defense will always spark our offense. Our defense gave them problems.”

With the victory, Greenwich won the LaVista Tournament for the second consecutive season.

“It feels good,” Hernandez said. “We had some of the alumni coming back to watch us and it means a big deal for them. I am just happy for the girls and it’s just one step in validating all the hard work we’ve been putting in.”

By beating Darien, Greenwich upped its overall record to 5-1 on the season.

“This is wonderful way to start the season,” Galletta said. “Winning five games so far is such a positive start. We are going to continue to build on this going forward and continue to do the things that have made us successful so far.”

“Our record so far shows how far we’ve come as a program,” Kockenmeister said. “We’ve been working so hard in practice and the preseason and I am hoping that we continue to improve and get a better record as the season really kicks off.”

Please note: Max Bearfoot helped contribute to this article

 

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