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Greenwich boys earn trip to FCIAC playoffs

Updated 7:34 am, Thursday, February 21, 2013

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  • At left, Danyjoel Harris # 2 of Danbury scores on a reverse layup beating Alex Wolf # 32 of Greenwich during the boys high school basketball game between Greenwich High School and Danbury High School at Greenwich, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Photo: Bob Luckey / Greenwich Time
    At left, Danyjoel Harris # 2 of Danbury scores on a reverse layup beating Alex Wolf # 32 of Greenwich during the boys high school basketball game between Greenwich High School and Danbury High School at Greenwich, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Photo: Bob Luckey

 

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With the Greenwich boys basketball team trailing by 11 with 7 minutes left in the game the student cheering section, known as the "Cardinal Crazies" began chanting "Bassick won, Bassick won."

The chant may have seemed a bit out of place until you realize that with a Bassick win over Staples and a Greenwich win over Danbury, the Cardinals would punch a ticket to the FCIAC playoffs for the first time in four years.

The Greenwich players heard the chant and used it as motivation, going on a 13-0 run en route to a 50-46 come- from-behind victory over the Hatters.

Greenwich (11-9, 10-8 FCIAC) will now play Saturday against No. 1 St. Joseph in the FCIAC playoffs as the No.8 seed at noon at Fairfield Ludlowe.

"Hearing that chant was all the motivation we needed," Greenwich senior guard Alex McMurray said. "It feels amazing. I have dreamed about playing in the FCIACs since I was a kid. I have been to states but it is such a good feeling to win this game and get in."

After three sloppy quarters with numerous missed layups and foul shots, the Cardinals switched up their defense, turning up the intensity in the process and went on the best run they have had all season.

Trailing 40-29, Jon Palmer got the Cardinals rolling with a steal and layup, followed by another steal by Alex Wolf that led to a transition basket.

"We were in a funk. We were not making bunnies, easy chippies," Greenwich coach Bill Brehm said. "But then Thomas Baietto and Alex (McMurray) hit big 3s and we switched to a 13 trap which is something we have not played all year and it led to some turnovers. (Jon) Palmer played unreal `D' tonight."

The Cardinals tied the game 40-40 with 4:28 to play and scored twice more before Danyjoel Harris hit a layup with 1:26 to go for the Hatters' second field goal of the quarter, making it 44-42.

Harris fouled out on the next play and with him went Danbury's top scoring threat.

Harris finished with a game-high 19 points, 13 in the second half, but it was not enough for the Hatters (7-13, 5-13 FCIAC), who fell one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament.

"I am proud of these guys because we had a rough season," Danbury coach Casey Bock said. "We just couldn't pull this one out. Our goal is always to make states and to fall one game short is tough."

Finally playing with the lead, Greenwich started making free throws, knocking down 10 of 12 in the fourth quarter after going 8 for 16 in the first three quarters, the biggest coming from Baietto with 10.8 seconds left to push the lead to 50-46.

The Cardinals trailed 13-4 after one quarter and 25-17 at halftime.

Greenwich teams in the past have listed making the FCIACs as a goal but the goal for this team all season has been to win the FCIACs and that remains the focus.

"We are not happy just making it, we want to win it" McMurray said. "We are excited to be going but that is not enough for us, we are winning it."

Greenwich began the game with an all-senior lineup featuring Jake Tennenbaum, Baietto, Mike Ellsworth, Dan Guise and Sam Latto and the quintet saw ample playing time in the first half.

GREENWICH........................... 4 13 12 21 -- 50

DANBURY...............................13 12 12 9 -- 46

Greenwich: Jake Tennenbaum 1 0-0 2; Thomas Baietto 2 4-4 10; Mike Ellsworth 0 0-0 0; Dan Guise 0 0-0 0; Sam Latto 0 0-0 0; Alex McMurray 2 3-4 9; Jon Palmer 1 1-2 3; Alex Wolf 4 4-8 12; CJ Byrd 2 4-9 8; Leonel Hyatt 1 2-2 4; Jimmy Djema 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 18-29 50

Danbury: Danyjoel Harris 8 3-4 19; Corey Chaffee 2 0-0 5; Marquise Marrero 2 1-1 6; Jalen McCallum 1 1-1 3; Mike Klein 2 1-2 5; Michael Schneider 2 1-2 6; Donovan Trimandillis 0 2-2 2. Totals: 17 9-12 46

3-point field goals: G -- Baietto 2, McMurray 2; D -- Scheider, Marrero, Chaffee

Fouled out: D -- Harris

Records: G 11-9, 10-8 FCIAC; D 7-13, 5-13 FCIAC

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