Greenwich girls basketball to play Ridgefield in FCIAC finals

Greenwich High School's Colleen Bennett looks to gain the upper hand on her Fairfield Warde opponent during Tuesday's FCIAC semifinal game. — Dave Stewart photo

Greenwich High School’s Colleen Bennett looks to gain the upper hand on her Fairfield Warde opponent during Tuesday’s FCIAC semifinal game. — Dave Stewart photo

The marching orders for the Greenwich High girls basketball team coming out of a timeout trailing Fairfield Warde, 44-42 with 12.9 seconds remaining in its FCIAC semifinal game had a few options — Alexa Moses chose a more direct path.

Cardinals’ coach Chrys Hernandez had been asked by Moses that if the Greenwich press forced a turnover should they call for a time out. Hernandez said yes, then added taking the ball in for a wide-open layup to her instructions.

Warde inbound pass was knocked free by Abby Wolf, and bounced right to Moses.

Moses checked to see if her feet were behind the three-point circle. The senior then released the ball, and everyone in the Fairfield Ludlowe gymnasium tracked its flight. It caught nothing but net and Greenwich had the lead at 42-41.

The Cardinals forced another turnover, Jamie Kockenmeister made two free throws, and the bench players raced on to the court to celebrate when Warde’s Iliana Krasniqi’s off-balance potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.

“Alexa can be very impulsive, but she always does it with good intentions,” Hernandez said. “I tell the girls that I give them an opportunity to let them be players. She came up clutch for us.”

This was No 3 seed Greenwich’s second win this season over No 2 Warde. It won a 49-47 decision at Warde on Jan. 22.

“It’s amazing,” Moses said of the 47-44 victory that advanced Greenwich to its first FCIAC girls hoop final in 25 years. “As freshman we won four games. Last year we lost in the FCIAC semifinals.

Moses, and her fellow seniors Leigh Galletta, Colleen Bennett, Kockenmeister and Emily Hunt, wanted nothing more this season than to take the next step. With help off the bench from Caroline Beneville, Jayla Faison and Emily Anderson they did.

Top-seeded Wilton High met fifth-seeded Ridgefield High in the second semifinal.

The title game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ludlowe High.

Wolf finished the game with 18 points, 17 rebounds, and six blocked shots. Caroline Beneville had 10 points and Moses 8.

Sarah Cotto led Warde with 18 points, Shania Osborne netted nine points and Jacqui Labese had five.

“Heartbroken,” was Warde coach Dave Danko’s response when asked about his team. “They’re beat up mentally and physically. Face it, we wanted to be playing on Thursday night. They (Greenwich) worked hard and we relinquished it.”

The eighth and final tie in the game came when Wolf scored on a breakaway off a Galletta assist to make the score 35-35 with 2:47 left to play.

Osborne made two free throws and Cotto banked in a difficult left-handed layup.

Warde looked to stretch its lead to six on a run-out, but Wolf hustled back to block Cotto. The possession later ended with Moses coming away with a steal.

Hernandez called Greenwich’s third time out with 1:34 remaining, and Galletta buried a 3-pointer from the corner off a pass out of a double team by Wolf.

Galletta stole the ball and fed Beneville for a layup and a 40-39 lead. Warde called for time at the 1:05 mark of the final period.
The Mustang’s press break saw Osborne get free for a bucket, and Cotto poked the ball loose and turned her steal into a breakaway basket and a three-point play.

Warde had scored five points in 25 seconds and led 44-40 with 40 seconds remaining.

The rivals exchanged turnovers before Wolf drove to the rim to take the score to 44-42 with 20 seconds remaining.

A jump ball call saw the possession error favor Warde, and the Mustangs used their last timeout to set up a way to run out the final 12.9 seconds.

Instead, Greenwich used the timeout, and the time remaining, to make history.

— Dave Stewart photo

— Dave Stewart photo

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress