By David Fierro
Greenwich High School entered Tuesday’s girls basketball showdown against formidable Fairfield Ludlowe knowing it needed to once again, display the balanced scoring attack it’s showcased this season to beat the Falcons — one or two players carrying the scoring load wouldn’t get it done.
The Cardinals’ did just that, putting four in double figures and using a big fourth quarter to add a crucial late-season victory to their ledger. Sophomore center Abbie Wolf scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while junior forward Jamie Kockenmeister tallied 17 points and seven rebounds for Greenwich in its impressive 63-53 win over visiting Fairfield Ludlowe.
Junior point guard Leigh Galletta added 13 points and six assists and sophomore shooting guard Caroline Beneville contributed 14 points for the Cardinals (11-4). The loss was just the second of the season for a surging Falcons squad (13-2).
“This was a big game for us to win,” GHS coach Chrys Hernandez said. “We knew Fairfield Ludlowe was a tough, aggressive, fundamentally sound team, so it was important for us to match their intensity.”
“Despite the loss, this was a great game for us,” Ludlowe coach Jason Purzycki said. “We did some good things in this game — things we wouldn’t have done a week ago. Our team hasn’t had many close games like this recently, so this was a good game for us to play as the postseason come up.”
Beneville’s layup tied the score at 42-42 heading into the decisive final quarter. Wolf helped the Cards seize the momentum in the fourth quarter, scoring off a layup and a strong low post move, putting the Cardinals ahead for good at 46-42. A Galletta fastbreak layup and back-to-back baskets off putbacks from Kockenmeister, made it 52-45 midway with 4:10 left to play.
“It’s great to see everyone contribute, which has been happening all season,” Wolf said. “In the fourth quarter, our press and aggressiveness led to open shots and layups, helping us build a lead.”
Wolf and Kockenmeister ignited the home team with crucial offensive rebounds down the stretch.
“Rebounding is a big part of our game,” Kockenmeister said. “I tried to do the best I could to come up with those offensive rebounds. We knew it was going to take a total team effort today.”
The game was up-tempo throughout, with the Falcons using an aggressive man-to-man defense, mixed in with some full court pressure and the Cardinals utilizing a 2-2-1 and 1-2-1-1 press and a 2-3 zone. Consecutive baskets in the post by Wolf and a baseline jumper by senior guard Rebecca DeCarlo helped spur GHS to a 15-13 first-quarter edge. Beneville scored eight points, including a 3-pointer in the second quarter for Greenwich, which entered halftime with a 31-26 advantage. Behind the offensive rebounding of Blatt and solid defense, the Falcons opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run to go up 32-31, but following a timeout, the Cardinals settled down.Read Full Article
“Ludlowe was tied for second in the league, so this win means a lot to us,” Wolf said. “We have to try to improve our position in the standings for the playoffs.”
Wolf registered four blocked shots for the Cards, who were also led by the aggressive play of junior guard Alexa Moses and DeCarlo.
“Our defense always gets us going, it’s a very important part of our game,” Moses said. “We definitely feel we can build off this win and take the momentum we have into the next game.”
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE (53): Pauline Blatt 9 4-5 22; Sara Grabowski 1 2-2 4; Caroline Pangallo 5 2-3 15; Charlotte Blatt 1 0-0 3; Anna Lee Riccio 0 0-0 0; Julia Pangallo 1 0-0 2; Alex McKinnon 1 0-0 2; Regan Steed 1 0-0 3.
GREENWICH (63): Caroline Beneville 4 5-6 14; Leigh Galletta 5 3-5 13;Alexa Moses 0 1-2 1; Abbie Wolf 8 0-2 16; Jamie Kockenmeister 7 1-2 17; Rebecca DeCarlo 1 2-4 4; Emily Anderson 0 0-0 0; Colleen Bennett 0 0-0 0.
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 13 13 16 11 — 53
GREENWICH 15 16 11 21 — 63