Winners of only four games last year, the Greenwich High School girls basketball team displayed marked improvement this season, gaining nine victories to earn a spot in the CIAC Class LL Tournament for the first time in more than 10 years.
The Cardinals finished the season 9-12 after their hard-fought 44-39 loss to E.O. Smith in the first round of the LL tourney, but the record was a bit deceiving considering they lost five games by four points or less. Three of those losses came by just two points (a 50-48 loss to Stamford), (52-50 loss to Fairfield Ludlowe), (55-53 defeat to Staples at the buzzer).
“We set our goals and sights and worked extremely hard to reach them,” GHS coach Chrys Hernandez said. “Our team worked very hard during the offseason.”
After starting the season 1-5, Greenwich gained momentum during the Tony LaVista Tournament over the Holiday break. Victories against Darien and New Canaan gave the Cards the tournament title, with senior guard Caroline Barrett earning tournament MVP honors.
Defeating St. Joseph, Brien McMahon and Norwalk put the Cardinals in prime position to make the state playoffs. Hernandez had GHS playing tough man-to-man defense throughout the season and the arrival of freshman 6-foot-1 center Abbie Wolf greatly helped the squad. Wolf displayed a strong low post game and was an imposing presence on the boards. An ankle injury near the midway point of the year interrupted her season, but she picked up where she left off after missing several games.
Barrett, who will play basketball at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., next season, sparked the team on both ends of the court throughout the season, while providing strong leadership as one of the team’s captains. The Cards say goodbye to Barrett and fellow seniors Jenny Cespedes, Rebecca Kural, Daniela Hernandez, Danielle Raviele, Brittany Rodriguez and Maureen Tracy.
Cespedes was one of the team’s starting guards before a knee injury early in the year ended her season. Kural did a nice job on the boards, as did Rodriguez. Raviele, helped the team off the bench after coming back from a shoulder injury, while Hernandez and Tracey also contributed off the bench.
Though the Cardinals will graduate seven seniors the cupboard isn’t bare. Wolf returns, as does junior Rebecca DeCarlo, sophomore Jamie Kockenmeister, sophomore Leigh Galletta, Alexa Moses, freshman Caroline Beneville and sophomore Colleen Bennett.
DeCarlo started a lot of games in the backcourt, Kockenmeister provided rebounding and scoring at forward, Galletta ran the point the second half of the season and Moses was a threat from the perimeter. Beneville and Bennett also saw more action as the season progressed.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Abbie, Jamie, Alexa, Leigh and all of our young players come back next season,” Hernandez said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next season.”