Taking and making 3-pointers was Francesca Sileo’s trademark during her four seasons on Greenwich Academy’s basketball team, yet there’s one particular shot from beyond the arc she’ll always remember. Playing in the final game of her high school career, Sileo swished a 3-pointer from outside the left elbow area, giving her a milestone she had her sights set on.
Her 3-pointer with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter against Canterbury this past Saturday gave her career point No. 1,000.
The senior guard entered the Gators game against visiting Canterbury needing 15 points to become the third player in GA’s history to reach the milestone. She wound up scoring 25 of the team’s 44 points and ended her career with 1,010 points.
“I’ve been seeing all my friends from a bunch of teams get their 1,000th point the past couple of years, so I was looking forward to getting it,” said Sileo, GA’s leading scorer. “I always imagined having a ball in our school’s trophy case.”
Kaitlyn Davis, a 2019 Greenwich Academy graduate, was the last player from the school prior to Sileo to score 1,000 career points. Davis, who is enjoying a stellar freshman season as a member of the Columbia University women’s basketball team, reached the 1,000 point plateau at GA during her junior season of 2017-2018.
A teammate of Davis’ at Greenwich Academy for several seasons, Sileo looked up to the former Gators star.
“Kaitlyn Davis and I would always play horse before games and I lost to her many times,” Sileo laughed. “I’ve tried to learn how she plays. She is a mature player, which I also like about her.”
It was an especially tough and frustrating season for the Greenwich Academy basketball squad, which entered Saturday’s matchup winless. Yet GA, which competed with only six players in their final game, captured its long-awaited first win of the season on Saturday, defeating Canterbury, 44-29, on its senior day.
“It’s been a long season,” Sileo said. “It’s tough to go on the road and lose and also tough to lose at home. It doesn’t help with your confidence. It was our senior game, everyone was pumped up, everyone was excited and we got the win, even though we only had on substitute, since we were missing players with injuries and other school events. Everyone scored and contributed, which made it great.”
Leaving Greenwich Academy with 1,010 career points, Sileo didn’t play her last competitive game of basketball this past weekend. She will continue her basketball career at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, later this year.
Coached by Sara Lee, Denison has won seven NCAA Division III women’s basketball titles, to go along with seven North Coast Athletic Conference championships in its successful history.
Late last month, Sileo announced her commitment to Denison.
“I visited in the fall and went on an overnight, then made my decision, once I got my acceptance letter,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, I will be playing a lot my freshman year. I know it is going to be hard, but I’m excited.”
Lee who is in her 31st season as coach at Denison, is one of the winningest coaches in NCAA Division III history.
“I have never had a female coach before out of all the teams I’ve played on,” Sileo said. “That’s going to be something new and different for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
Sileo began playing basketball as a third-grader, playing up in competition for her father Frank’s Catholic Youth Organization Corpus Christi (Port Chester, N.Y.) fifth-grade team. Over the years, Sileo has played AAU basketball for the Rye Brook (N.Y.) Rebels, the Westchester Lady Bears and most recently, the Hoopers New York program, based out of Briarcliff, N.Y.
“Basketball has always kept me grounded,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed competing with my teammates and coaches and it has always been my favorite sport.”
During her first three seasons, Greenwich Academy made the FAA Tournament each year for coach Wes Mathews.
“I loved being a part of the team, it was such a fun atmosphere and I hope other girls join next year,” Sileo said.
The spring will see Sileo play on Greenwich Academy’s defending New England champion water polo team, which will also help her conditioning for basketball. Then she’ll continue to train to compete at the next level.
“At college, I will probably be both a shooting and point guard, I’m looking forward to seeing where everyone will fit in together,” Sileo said. “They have a strong program and they are doing so well this year.”