Greenwich defeats Warde in FCIAC girls basketball

Fairfield Warde's Olivia Parisi (32 in white) and Greenwich's Jamie Kockenmeister (23) battle for a rebound. (Photo by Dave Stewart)

Fairfield Warde’s Olivia Parisi (32 in white) and Greenwich’s Jamie Kockenmeister (23) battle for a rebound.
(Photo by Dave Stewart)

Greenwich High defeated Fairfield Warde, 47-44, in the FCIAC girls basketball semifinals at Fairfield Ludlowe High on Tuesday and the closeness of the score doesn’t give justice to the final quarter.

Warde coach Dave Danko called for a timeout with 2:44 remaining. The third-seeded Cardinals had used its transition game to tie the game for the eight time, at 35-35.

The second-seeded Mustangs came out of the break and seemingly took control.
Daja Polk fed Shania Osborne inside, she was fouled and made both free throws.
Down the other end, Osborne rebounded a missed 3-pointer, and Sarah Cotto scored on a nifty left-handed layup. Warde led 39-35.

The Mustangs looked to stretch their lead to six on a run-out, but the Cards’ Abby Wolf hustled back to block Cotto. The possession later ended with Alexa Moses coming away with a steal.

Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez called her third time out with 1:34 remaining, and out of the break Leigh Galletta buried a 3-pointer from the corner off a pass out of a double team by Wolf.
Galletta then stole the ball and fed Caroline Beneville for a layup and a 40-39 lead. Warde called for time at the 1:05 mark of the final period.

Osborne scored on a press-break basket, and on Greenwich’s next trip down court, Cotto poked the ball loose, corraled it, and turned the steal into a three-point play.
Warde had scored five points in 25 seconds and led 44-40 with 40 seconds remaining.

The rivals exchanged turnovers before Wolf drove to the rim to take the score to 44-42 with 20 seconds remaining.
Warde now led 44-40 with 40 seconds remaining.

A jump ball call saw the possession error favor Warde, and the Mustangs used their last timeout to set up a way to run out the final 12.9 seconds.
Instead, Greenwich used the timeout, and the time remaining, to make history.

Warde inbound’s pass was knocked free by Wolf, and bounced right to Moses, who checked to see if her feet were behind the three-point circle.
The senior then released the ball, and everyone in the gymnasium tracked its flight. It caught nothing but net and Greenwich had the lead at 42-41.

The Cardinals forced another turnover, Jamie Kockenmeister made two free throws, and the bench players raced on to the court to celebrate when Warde’s Iliana Krasniqi’s off-balance 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.

This was Greenwich’s second win this season over Warde. It won a 49-47 decision at Warde on Jan. 22.

“It’s amazing,” Moses said of the victory that advanced Greenwich to its first FCIAC girls hoop final in 25 years. “As freshman we won four games. Last year we lost in the FCIAC semifinals.”

Top-seeded Wilton High met fifth-seeded Ridgefield High in the second semifinal.

The title game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ludlowe High.

Wolf finished the game with 18 points, 17 rebounds, six blocked shots. Beneville had 10 points and Moses 8.

Cotto led Warde with 18 points, Osborne netted nine points and Jacqui Lanese had five.

“Heartbroken,” was Danko’s response when asked about his team. “They’re beat up mentally and physically. Face it, we wanted to be playing on Thursday night. They (Greenwich) worked hard and we relinquished it.”

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