Though the 2018-2019 season was a challenge for the Greenwich girls basketball team, it accomplished plenty moving forward.
“We didn’t have the season we wanted, or the record we wanted at the end of last year,” Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez said. “But I think we laid the foundation for the future and we now have the pieces that can definitely move the team along.”
Greenwich, which didn’t qualify for the FCIAC Tournament last season, but earned the final spot in the CIAC Class LL playoffs, return most of its players from last season’s squad, which showed improvement as its campaign progressed.
“The experience factor is going to help us a lot, because the players that we have coming back are players who played significant minutes at key positions,” Hernandez said. “Their experience is going to be helpful and they should help set the tone for the underclassmen coming up.”
Among the Cardinals’ four captains are two who are captaining their second sports squad. Senior quad-captain Jordan Moses also served as a captain of the Cardinals’ soccer team, while senior Ciara Munnelly was one of the captains of the school’s successful volleyball squad.
“It’s pretty exciting being a captain again,” said Moses, who was also a captain on the basketball team a year ago. “I like the variation of going from one season to the next. It’s exciting and fun at the same time.”
Said Munnelly: “Transitioning from basketball to volleyball was easy, because I’m really comfortable with all my teammates and we have a lot of returners this year. Our couple of new players will be great additions to our team.”
Moses will be relied upon to help lead the offense from her point guard/shooting guard position, while Munnelly is one of the Cards’ post players.
Senior Julia Conforti, also one of the captains, was one of Greenwich’s leading scorers last year at the forward position and junior captain Beatriz Owens provided an offensive spark at guard/forward.
“We already have played together for a bit, so we have some experience,” Conforti said. “We know how to play with each other and we know how to move the ball and execute on offense.”
Added Owens: “I feel we have the potential to go farther this year. We have a lot of guards who are going to be running and pushing the break and our chemistry is great.”
Greenwich visits Wright Tech in its season-opener on Dec. 16.
AT THE HELM: Hernandez is entering her ninth season as coach of the Cardinals. She has led Greenwich into the postseason in all but two of her first eight seasons. Last season, Greenwich went 6-15 and lost in the opening round of the Class LL Tournament. In Greenwich’s 2015-16 season, it advanced to the Class LL Tournament finals at Mohegan Sun, where it was defeated by Stamford.
Forward/center Taylor Stamos, who was one of Greenwich’s leading scorers, rebounder and shot blocker, graduated, along with guard Michelle Morganti, who brought solid shooting to the backcourt.
WHO’S BACK?: Moses has played at the varsity level for several seasons.
“Jordan’s experience and leadership is hard to duplicate,” Hernandez said. “We are looking to her to share her knowledge with our two freshman guards.”
Owens was one of the Cards’ key players offensively last season.
“Bea definitely gave us much-needed points and made some key shots from the outside,” Hernandez said. “She is a tough player.”
Said Owens: “It was good coming in last year as a sophomore and integrating myself as part of the team. We know we can improve from last year.”
Sophomore Kristin Riggs saw significant action at point guard as a freshman last winter, while senior Kate Loughran brings strong perimeter shooting to the backcourt.
Kelly Martyanov, a sophomore, is coming off an impressive freshman season, in which she played forward and center. Munnelly is one of the Cards’ most experienced low post players and Conforti will be looked upon to provide scoring at small and power forward. Senior Violet Mikalopas gives the Cardinals depth at forward.
NEWCOMERS: Ava Sollene and Mackenzie Nelson earned spots on the varsity squad as freshman and are expected to aid the Cardinals at guard. Sophomore Kayla Anderson, who was sidelined with an injury last winter, plays forward.
STRENGTHS: “The amount of ball-handlers we have is definitely a strength,” Conforti said. “Also our post players look strong.”
Added Moses: “On fastbreaks, we should be really good. Anyone can take the ball and go.”
QUESTION MARKS: “Can we put it all together offensively and put the ball in the basket,” Hernandez said. “Our ability to finish at the basket, that’s one of the aspects we’re focusing on. We have a lot of skilled guards and posts, who can run the floor. We have the pieces, but it’s going to take a team effort.”
QUOTABLE: “We have a lot of improvements we need to work on from last year to this year,” Munnelly said. “One of our goals is to make both FCIACs and states.”
SHOWDOWNS: Trinity Catholic, away, Dec. 20; Fairfield Ludlowe, home, Dec. 23; Ridgefield, away, Jan. 3; New Canaan, away, Jan. 7; Darien, home, Jan. 10; Stamford, home, Jan. 14; Staples, home, Jan. 24; Fairfield Warde, home, Jan. 30; Danbury, home, Feb. 3; Westhill, home, Feb. 6; Trumbull, away, Feb. 19.