With senior center Oliver Milledge excelling in the low post and his teammates thriving in transition, the Greenwich High School boys basketball team was a tough squad to defend on Friday night.
Milledge scored a game-high 26 points, while guards Chris Genaro and Greg Altamore added 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Greenwich in its convincing 67-51 win over Darien in an FCIAC game held at Brien McMahon High School.
The 6-foot-8 Milledge scored 14 second-half points, while Altamore posted 12 points after halftime for the Cardinals, who ran their record to 4-1.
The game was supposed to be played at Greenwich High School, but the school’s gymnasium is not being utilized due to a flood in the Performing Arts Center, which affected the gym.
Senior forwards Gavin Muir and Billy Nail notched seven points apiece for Greenwich, which broke the game open in the third quarter, after holding a four-point halftime lead. Freshman guard Miles Drake had 11 points, while senior guard Will Rolapp scored 12 points for Darien. The Cardinals capitalized on their size advantage, pounding the ball inside to Milledge and crashing the offensive and defensive boards.
“Our No.-1 priority was to get the ball inside to Milledge,” GHS coach Christopher Lovermi said. “He is tough to defend in the post, plus we can create off him offensively. He’s a good passer, who really makes good decisions. I thought he also had a great game on the defensive end of the court as well.”
Said Milledge: “My teammates know where to get me the ball and they did a great job of setting me up. I thought our guards won this game, they played great the whole game.”
Leading 27-23 to start the third quarter, Greenwich went on a 14-5 run to seize a 41-28 lead with 4:27 remaining in the quarter. Baskets from Milledge, Altamore and Guir gave the Cards a 35-25 advantage at the 5:32 mark of the third quarter. The Cardinals kept their double-digit lead thereafter.
“Darien is always a team that we hope to play our best against,” said Genaro, a junior. “Defense won this game for us. We raised our defensive intensity and were able to force turnovers.”
Behind 10 points from Milledge and seven from Genaro, Greenwich entered halftime with a 27-23 advantage.
Catching the ball deep in the post, Milledge converted a layup, giving Greenwich a 23-21 lead with 1:55 remaining in the second quarter.
Forward Chris Mark’s basket from the low post and Genaro’s layup off a long outlet pass from Milledge put the Cardinals on top, 27-21 in the final minute of the second quarter.
Ryan Darby’s layup in the final seconds brought Darien to within 23-21 at halftime.
The Cardinals led 15-14 after the first quarter. A 3-pointer by Rolapp and a shot from beyond the arc from Drake gave the Blue Wave a 12-8 edge at the 3:15 mark of the first quarter.
Greenwich ended the first quarter with a 7-2 run. Nail and Genaro each swished 3-pointers and Muir made a foul shot, making it 15-14.
With Milledge effectively throwing outlet passes, Genaro, Atamore and Max Steinman were able to get down the court in transition for layups throughout the second half.
“We have multiple guards, who give us versatility,” Lovermi said. “Our guys shared the ball well and executed pretty efficiently on offense.”
Added Milledge: “We are trying to change the culture of Greenwich basketball. We are focusing on playing with a lot of intensity and teamwork.”
GREENWICH 67, DARIEN 51
DARIEN 14 9 6 22 – 51
GREENWICH 15 12 21 19 – 67
Will Rolapp 2 6-12 12; Peter Bredahl 4 0-0 9; Miles Drake 4 0-0 11; Ryan Darby 3 2-3 8; Henry Williams 3 0-0 7; Cole Anderson 1 0-0 2; James Mathus 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 8-15 51.
Chris Genaro 6 0-0 13; Gavin Muir 3 1-2 7; Chris Mark 1 0-0 2; Greg Altamore 5 1-1 12; Billy Nail 3 0-0 7; Oliver Milledge 13 0-0 26; Max Steinman 0 0-0 0; Brian Ricks 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 2-3 67.
3-pointers: D – Drake 3, Rolapp 2, Bredahl, Williams; G – Genaro, Altamore, Nail.
Brunswick battled back from an early three-goal deficit against top-ranked Salisbury School, but was edged by the host Crimson Knights by a 5-4 margin on Friday.
The Bruins return to action at home against Hotchkiss School on Monday.
Facing a 3-0 deficit in the first period, Brunswick’s Jude Brower scored a power-play goal with 1:20 left in the period. Brower’s goal was his first as a Bruin.
Special teams paid off again for the Bruins in the second period, as Henry Foster scored a short-handed goal at the 11:41 mark, making it 3-2. However, Salisbury countered with a tally three minutes later, taking a 4-2 edge heading into the third period.
Trailing 4-2 in the third period, Brower made it a one-goal game with his second tally at the 7:35 mark.
In a 4-3 contest, the hosts responded with a key goal to bump the lead to 5-3 with 2:57 remaining.
The Bruins pulled their goalie for an extra skater and it paid off, as Charles Shaffer notched his seventh goal of the season with under a minute to play.