GREENWICH — A seemingly comfortable 14-point first-half lead for Greenwich in its Class LL Tournament game against visiting Enfield turned into a two-point nail-biter late in the third quarter.
But then the veterans, who were determined to keep their season going, took over for the Cardinals’ girls basketball team in the final quarter.
Making key baskets down the stretch, senior captains Jordan Moses and Julia Conforti helped 13th-seeded Greenwich regain its double-digit lead and turn back No. 20 Enfield, 69-55, in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL Girls Basketball Tournament.
Greenwich (15-7) advances to the Round of 16, where they will visit fourth-seeded NFA on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Moses, a senior guard scored 13 points, while Conforti, a senior forward, totaled 15 points to help power Greenwich. Freshman forward Mackenzie Nelson poured in 19 points and freshman guard Ava Sollenne scored 10 in the winning effort. The Cardinals were effective from 3-point range throughout, making nine shots from beyond the arc, with Moses and Conforti converting three apiece.
“We just wanted to work on our communication, cut down on our sloppy turnovers and work to get every rebound in the second half and just outrun them,” Moses said. “We were working the ball around and not being selfish at all, just looking for whoever could get the best shot.”
Conforti scored seven fourth-quarter points, as did Moses for GHS, which led 44-39 after three quarters, after holding a 37-27 halftime advantage.
“I think the seniors realized this is the last few games that we had and we wanted to leave it all on the court and pave the path and set a bar for the younger people, knowing it’s such a young team,” Conforti said.
Enfield (11-10) received 15 points from freshman guard Amyah Rosado and 15 points from freshman forward Alyssa Rossignol. The visitors trailed 25-11 in the first quarter, with Greenwich flourishing in transition and forcing turnovers.
“I like our girls’ grit and how hard they compete,” Enfield coach Jay Gaucher said. “We have been snake-bit by the injury bug this year, but everyone we had stepped in and was ready to go. Our senior leadership helped set the table for everyone to play hard. We are not intimidated by anything, which gives us an opportunity to compete.”
Senior forward Madison Daly added 18 points, including four 3-pointers for Enfield, which closed to within 39-37 after Rosado scored off an offensive rebound with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter. A layup off a steal by Nelson and a pair of Nelson free throws widened the Cardinals’ lead to 43-37 at the 3:53 mark of the third quarter.
Conforti began the fourth quarter by swishing a 3-pointer against Enfield’s zone defense, then after Sollenne made a foul shot, Moses converted a 3-pointer from the right wing, putting the Cards on top, 51-43.
Four straight points from Conforti, extended the home team’s edge to 55-43 with 3:30 to go in the fourth quarter.
“We just had to play our basketball get it wide and move the ball efficiently, which helped us get our lead back,” Conforti said.
Nelson scored nine points in the first quarter for Greenwich, which lit the scoreboard for 25 points in the opening quarter. Sollenne, Conforti, Moses and Nelson each made shots from beyond the arc in the opening quarter. The Cards also scored 25 points during the fourth quarter.
“We are really happy to get this far,” said Nelson, the Cardinals’ leading scorer in her first season on the squad. We are playing for the seniors and we want to do this for them right now.”
The Eagles worked their way back into the game, holding the Cardinals to 12 points in the second quarter and seven in the third.
“I thought we did a really good job of defending the arc and the corners in the second and third quarter,” Gaucher said. “But everyone Greenwich plays out there can shoot the ball, which makes it tough to defend. They made some plays at the end.”
Sophomore forward Kelly Martyanov added five points and strong rebounding for GHS, which received four points from sophomore guard Kristin Riggs and three from senior forward Ciara Munnelly. Seven different players scored for Greenwich during its 37-point opening half, in which they efficiently moved the ball and forced an up-tempo pace, behind some pressure defense.
“We did not know a lot about Enfield,” Hernandez said. “They did a really good job. We came out strong, but they came back, fought back and knocked down shots.”
— Greenwich Time Spts (@GreenwichSports) March 3, 2020
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Moses and Conforti were clutch when called upon for the Cards. Nelson hurt another opponent with her aggressive drives to the basket and penchant turning steals into transition points.
“Our seniors stepped up big,” GHS coach Chrys Hernandez said. “The seniors stepped up and played like their season was on the line in the fourth quarter.”
GREENWICH 69, ENFIELD 55
ENFIELD 13 14 13 15 – 55
GREENWICH 25 12 7 25 – 69
Amyah Rosado 8 3-6 19; Syerra Taliceo 1 0-0 2; Madison Daly 6 2-4 18; Alyssa Rossignol 6 3-8 15; Nicole Seidell 0 0-0 0; Riley Bridge 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 9-20 55.
Ava Sollenne 3 2-4 10; Julia Conforti 5 2-2 15; Jordan Moses 3 4-4 13; Ciara Munnelly 1 1-3 3; Kristin Riggs 2 0-0 4; Kelly Martyanov 1 3-4 5; Mackenzie Nelson 6 6-7 19; Kayla Anderson 0 0-0 0; Bea Owens 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 18-24 69.
3-POINTERS: E – Daly 4; G – Moses 3, Conforti 3, Sollenne 2, Nelson.