NORWALK — Norwalk girls basketball’s dangerous duo of Jakara Murray and Belinda Hunte are laying waste to opponents in their Class LL State Title defense.
The two seniors led the Bears once again Monday night, matching each other with 19 points each in Norwalk’s 62-54 over FCIAC foe Greenwich.
“Murray and Hunte, those are our two go-to girls,” Norwalk coach Evan Kelly said. “They set the tone for us offensively, defensively, in practice and in film. They set the tone for everyone else so when they are locked in and focused everybody’s intensity and urgency changes.”
No. 3 Norwalk (10-2) got off to a 9-0 start behind 3-pointers by Murray, Hunte and Grace Potochney while holding Greenwich (8-5) scoreless through the first five minutes.
Greenwich eventually cracked the scoreboard on a 3-pointer that ignited a 15-4 run carrying over into the second quarter for a 15-13 lead, its only of the night.
Norwalk responded rattling off 11 straight points to reclaim its lead 26-15, taking a 26-20 lead into the locker room after surrendering five consecutive points at the end of the half.
Trailing 35-29 midway through the third, Greenwich once again took the momentum bringing, it all the way back to 37-37 at one point before Norwalk regained composure.
“I think we did a good job overall” Kelly said. “We could have done a little bit better at stopping (Greenwich’s) momentum. We were able to stretch the out a little in the fourth quarter but they are a tough scrappy team, they are well coached and they have a really great player but we found a way to break through.”
Norwalk held a steady lead in the final quarter as Murray and Hunte combined for 13 of the teams 19 points to secure the victory.
“I am happy where we are right now but I still think we have a long ways to go,” Kelly said. “I think there are still a couple things we need to clean up offensively and defensively to really take that next step and be back to where we were last year, but overall I am happy with where we are right now.”
Despite the loss, Greenwich morale is high after a strong showing against the GameTimeCT Top 10 Poll’s number three team in the state.
“I was super proud of our team today,” Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez said. “We came in talking about wanting to compete at the top of our competition and having statement wins. We have had a good start to the season but we just dropped a couple of games that we knew we should have won, no discredit to those teams that beat us.
“We knew today we had to come in focused against the defending state champion and one of the top teams in the FCIAC. With the exception of the transition points we gave up in the fourth quarter which killed momentum a little bit, I am so proud of how they played. They disrupted (Norwalk’s) offense, they didn’t back down against the defense and I think this is a game we can build on for sure.”