Staples girls fall to Greenwich in LaVista final
DARIEN -- With Alexa Moses making 3-pointers at a rapid pace and the Greenwich High School girls basketball team playing lockdown defense, it was apparent early in Monday's Tony LaVista Tournament final that the Cardinals were going to seize what they captured the previous two years -- the tournament title.
Behind Moses' hot shooting the Cardinals jumped out to a 14-point lead on Staples less than four minutes into the first quarter and never looked back, earning the three-peat they were determined to achieve. Receiving points from all 11 players, Greenwich claimed the LaVista Tournament championship, defeating Staples 81-42 at Darien High School.
Senior forward Jamie Kockenmeister scored a game-high 18 points, Moses registered 14 points, 12 of which came during the opening quarter, and junior center Abbie Wolf finished with 13 for the Cardinals (5-2). Moses scored nine of Greenwich's first 10 points and 12 of the team's opening 19, all of which came on 3-pointers. The Cardinals' sharp-shooter was in the zone from the corner, converting three shots from the right corner and one from the left.
"Today the corner was my favorite spot, I was feeling good from there," Moses said. "We hit a lot of 3's and foul shots today, which is how we scored a lot of our points. Everyone off the bench scored, so we couldn't have asked for a better way to get a three-peat."
Besides hitting nine 3-point shots, Greenwich was an impressive 20 of 27 from the foul line. Kockenmeister shot a solid 7 of 10 from the line.
"That might have been the best we shot from the outside and free-throw line the whole season so far," Cardinals coach Chrys Hernandez said. "Yesterday in practice I challenged them, because we had our worst foul shooting performance since I've been here. We were 4 for 13 from the line on Saturday (in a win against Darien). The second challenge I presented to the team was picking up our defensive effort."
As was the case in their win against Darien in the tournament's opening round on Saturday, the Cards' man-to-man defense, 2-3 zone and 1-2-1-1 full court press got the opposition's offense a bit out of rhythm.
"Our offense is built off our defense," Kockenmeister said. "We had a lot of steals in the second half, which we turned into points."
"Right now, we're doing our best to put together longer spurts of good minutes," Staples coach Paco Fabian said. "We have those two or three minutes when teams like Greenwich take over the game. If we could put together longer spurts of good minutes and eliminate those two to three minutes, when we let teams scored 10 quick points in a row, we'll be in more games."
Sophomore center Emily Anderson added 10 points off the bench and senior point guard Leigh Galletta chipped in eight for Greenwich, which led 24-10 after the first quarter and 41-19 at halftime. Moses fueled the Cards' 16-2 first-quarter run and several players ignited the squad's 11-0 spurt to end the third quarter -- a run giving GHS a commanding 61-30 advantage.
Wolf and sophomore guard Jayla Faison each scored in transition, Kockenmeister buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Anderson scored on a pair of putbacks, making it 61-30.
"We really pushed up our intensity on defense and got a lot of stops," Wolf said. "Today, we scored a lot of points in transition from our defensive play."
The 6-foot-4 Wolf has caught the attention of numerous Division I schools, including defending national champion UConn. She was to attend UConn's home game against Duke Monday night. Senior Tessa Mall contributed seven points, while senior Sarah Mahoney had six for the Wreckers, who shot just eight foul shots. Leigh Galletta made all six of her free throws for the Cardinals, who made six of their nine shots from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Sophomore forward Shaye Galletta and freshman guard Kim Kockenmeister had five and four points off the bench, respectively for GHS.
"We were trying to work on our halfcourt plays today, which is something we have been trying to improve on in practice," Jamie Kockenmeister said. "I thought we were pretty efficient offensively."
Said Moses: "We're ready to keep the momentum we have going throughout the rest of the season."
Maggie Fair 1 0-0 2 Tessa Mall 3 1-1 7 Madeline Schemel 4 0-0 8 Olivia Troy 5 0-0 10 Rachel Seidman 1 2-2 4 Sarah Mahoney 2 2-4 6 Gabby Perry 2 0-1 5 Julia Brower 0 0-0 0 Talza Hendel 0 0-0 0 Totals: 18 5-8 42.
Leigh Galletta 1 6-6 8 Colleen Bennett 1 0-0 2 Alexa Moses 5 0-0 14 Abbie Wolf 6 1-2 13 Jamie Kockenmeister 4 7-10 18 Emily Hunt 1 0-0 2 Shaye Galletta 2 0-0 5 Emily Anderson 4 2-4 10 Jayla Faison 1 0-1 2 Kim Kockenmeister 1 2-2 4 Emma Banker 1 0-0 3 Totals: 27 20-27 81
STAPLES 10 9 11 12 -- 42
GREENWICH 24 17 20 20 -- 81
3-pointers: S -- Perry; G -- Moses 4, Jamie Kockenmeister 3, Shaye Galletta, Banker