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Danbury girls hold off feisty Cardinals

News-Times, News-Times
Published 1:00 am, Monday, December 22, 2008
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DANBURY -- The Danbury High girls basketball team played well enough to win, but it doesn't mean coach Jackie DiNardo was completely content with its performance.

The Hatters were tied with 1-3 Greenwich late in the second quarter, then finally pulled away in the fourth to defeat the Cardinals 52-36.

"I think they have to at least appreciate practice now," said DiNardo following an extended locker room conference with the team after the game. "They were lethargic. They weren't moving, their shots were flat. I think they're going to come out with some more appreciation for practice."

The Hatters (3-1) led by eight points early in the second quarter, but a 10-2 run by Greenwich -- led by the Cardinal frontline's feisty rebounding effort -- tied the game at 20 with 2:32 left in the half.

Greenwich junior forward Erin Laney scored a team-high 12 points and was quick to crash the boards. Though not as strong as Danbury center Erin Boggan, she was able to sneak through the paint to grab offensive rebounds.

"(Greenwich was) going after every loose ball in sight," said DiNardo. "I told (Danbury) at halftime, you guys are just standing there."

In the second half, the Hatters held Greenwich to just 16 points. Boggan and sophomore forward Casey Smith combined to form an imposing force on the interior, frequently altering Greenwich's put-back attempts.

"I think we had some good opportunities," said Greenwich coach Danielle Morgan. "But it comes down to free throws, taking care of the ball, and getting good shots. We need to continue to work on being patient and taking care of the ball."

With Boggan -- Danbury's leading scorer -- frequently double- and triple-teamed in the paint, it was fellow senior Nicole Eanniello who rose to the occasion.

Eanniello scored 24 points, combining a dangerous outside jump shot with persistent slashes to the basket. She was 8-for-8 from the foul line and scored 10 of the Hatters' 12 points in the third quarter.

She also limited Jana Jagodzinski, Greenwich's leading scorer entering the game, to one point in the second half.

"I knew if they doubled down (on Boggan) I had to step up," she said. "We can always kick it out and that's what we did. I just took it to them."

Added DiNardo, "Nicole and Erin, they work together. If they triple down, then we can pop it out. Nicole has to be able to take on that role. Both of their goals should be 20 points a game."

Boggan scored 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Amanda Ghannam added 10 points. The Hatters also did significantly better at the foul line. They were 19-for-27, while the Cardinals were just 6-for-17.

Though the Hatters were already dealt a wakeup call in their previous game, a 43-38 overtime loss to Stamford, an inconsistent game against Greenwich -- which lost its previous two games -- will serve as even more motivation.

"We know we have to come out and play 10 times harder next time," said Eanniello.

Danbury (3-1) 14 13 12 13 -- 52

Greenwich (1-3) 8 12 9 7 -- 36

DANBURY (56): Raquel Cordeiro 0 0-0 0; Amanda Ghannam 4 2-2 10; Casey Smith 1 1-4 3; Jasmine Holmes 0 0-2 0; Gabriela Olavarria 0 0-0 0; Alison Kornhaas 0 0-0 0; Nicole Eanniello 7 8-8 24; Erin Boggan 4 7-11 15. TOTALS: 16 19-27 52.

GREENWICH (36): Jana Jagodzinski 2 1-2 6; Kristina Magdalinos 3 1-4 8; Erin Laney 4 4-6 12; Tori Dobson 2 0-1 4; Jessica Fiscella 2 0-3 4. Sara Rosenband 1 0-1 2. TOTALS: 12 6-17 36.

3-POINT GOALS: Danbury: Nicole Eanniello 2. Greenwich: Jana Jagodzinski; Kristina Magdalinos.