GHS girls basketball team upends McMahon

With two starting players sidelined due to injuries, Greenwich High School girls basketball coach Chrys Hernandez knew senior guard Caroline Barrett needed provide the squad with some much-needed scoring punch during Tuesday’s game against visiting Brien McMahon.

Barrett, one of the team’s four captains, answered the call, scoring 11 of her team-high 18 points in the first half of the Cardinals’ 54-46 win over the Sentators. Barrett, who made two 3-pointers, got the ball on the wing numerous times Tuesday, enabling her to either drive to the basket or shoot. In previous games she spent a lot of time taking the ball up the court.

“Being down players, we are moving the rotation around trying to figure out what’s best,” Hernandez said. “I knew we needed more production from Caroline Barrett, so we tried to get her more open shots and set her up for shots.”

Once again, Greenwich (5-7) took the court without freshman starting center and leading scorer Abbie Wolf (foot injury) and starting guard Jenny Cespedes (injured knee). Senior center Brittany Rodriguez and sophomore guard Leigh Galletta played well in place of Wolf and Cespedes. Galletta made a key basket and foul shot in the final minute, helping the Cards secure the win, while Rodriguez was a force on the boards. Galletta scored six points, while Rodriguez had five for Greenwich, which gave the Senators problems with its full court press.

Sophomore point guard Kayla Croswell beat the Cards’ press several times during the first half, but it was a different story in the second.

“We made adjustments to take the ball out of her hands,” Hernandez said.

It worked, as the Cards forced a number of turnovers, which of course, resulted in points. Sophomore forward Jamie Kockemeister had 13 points, while Rebecca DeCarlo added 10 for Cardinals, who also enjoyed a huge rebounding advantage.

On one possession, I counted Greenwich getting six attempts at the basket, on another there were five.  Brien McMahon coach Mark McElveen could only shake his head after the game. GHS also had a huge free throw shooting advantage. The Cards shot 14-of-23 from the charity stripe, while the Senators went to the foul line just seven times, making only one shot.

“We have been working on boxing out and our last game we did a better job of rebounding,” McElveen said. “But tonight we went right back to our hold habits. I hope they learn from this loss. I told our team, ‘this loss should hurt.”

The game had sentimental value for some involved. Sisters Brittany Rodriguez (Greenwich) and Sabrina Rodriguez (McMahon) played against each other. Sabrina scored six points off the bench in the loss. Coach Hernandez also went up against her alma mater. McMahon fans remember Hernandez for starring on the Senator teams that reached the FCIAC and state finals, before she went on to play on the collegiate level.

For Barrett, Tuesday’s win was especially sweet.

“I went out with a concussion during last year’s game,” Barrett said. “I’m glad we came back from a tough loss Friday (against Wilton) with a vengeance.”

Greenwich has begun to count down the wins now as it’s closing in on its first appearance in the state tournament in recent memory. Right now, they have five wins, so they need three more to qualify. They also still have to play Bassick, Harding and Central, all of whom are struggling.

“We’re going for states, and hopefully, we can grab some more wins and make FCIACs,” Barrett said.

Dave Fierro