girls basketball Norwalk defeats Greenwich, continues perfect season
GREENWICH — They can score from the perimeter, in the low post, or on the fastbreak — and oh yes, their defense can be a turnover-causing machine.
Indeed, the Norwalk High School girls basketball team can beat its foes in many ways, as host Greenwich learned all too well on Friday night.
Scoring the game’s first 16 points, Norwalk seized control early and kept its perfect season going, registering an impressive 82-36 win over Greenwich in an FCIAC matchup.
Ranked No. 2 in the GameTimeCT poll, the Bears raised their record to 13-0 overall and 9-0 in the FCIAC. Excelling in transition, senior guard Ashley Wilson led five Norwalk players in double figures, scoring a game-high 18 points. Senior forward Naeva Rene and freshman forward Serenity Mayhew added 12 points apiece, while sophomore Jakara Murray-Leach and junior Carsyn Langhorn contributed 13 and 10 points for the victors.
“Our chemistry has been good all season, it’s something we’ve been trying to work on each practice and every game,” Norwalk coach Ricky Fuller said. “So far they have jelled really well and have played some pretty good basketball.”
The Bears gave the Cardinals (3-11, 1-9 FCIAC) trouble with their full-court press and ability to quickly push the ball up the court.
“I thought we were sharp,” Fuller said. “We have a big game against New London tomorrow, so we wanted to make sure we came out sharp tonight, right from the beginning.”
Norwalk also consistently got second and third shots, with Rene and Mayhew leading the way in the paint.
“They are a very athletic team, very skilled team and we just wanted to slow down their pace and we were not able to do that today,” GHS coach Chrys Hernandez said. “No. 32 (Rene) is a good inside presence. She finishes well and was getting her own rebounds.”
Junior forward Julia Conforti tallied a team-high 17 points for Greenwich, which trailed 22-7 after the first quarter and 45-13 at halftime.
“They are a really aggressive team and are really good at boxing out and rebounding,” Conforti said of Norwalk. “We definitely picked it up in the second half, after a slow first half. Our intensity increased.”
BEARS BUILD THEIR LEAD
Murray-Leach’s layup, Rene’s foul shot, a 3-pointer by Langhorne and consecutive layups from senior guard Sanaa Boyd gave the Bears a 10-0 lead 2:15 into the first quarter.
Boyd and Rene’s layups, coupled with a pair of free throws from Langhorne, made it 16-0. In the halfcourt, Norwalk solved Greenwich’s man-to-man defense with effective ball movement.
Conforti scored off a putback for the Cardinals’ first points, then sophomore Marielle Povinelli gave Greenwich a quick boost with five straight points, including a 3-pointer, to pull the home team within 18-7. But the Bears scored the final four points of the opening quarter and increased their advantage in the second quarter.
Rene scored seven points during the second quarter, which saw Norwalk outscore Greenwich 23-6.
“It’s really fun and exciting knowing the team for so long, since I’m a senior,” Rene said. “It’s really good to watch us progress, have fun on the court and still win all of our games.”
Norwalk caused Greenwich to throw the ball away numerous times with its pressure defense.
“Our defense is important to us and in practice we emphasize that,” Wilson said. “We always make sure we pressure the other teams we play.”
Said Hernandez: “We knew with their athleticism, we had to utilize ball fakes and bounce passes and we didn’t do that enough, which led to turnovers we had. This was a learning lesson for our team; after the game we talked about what we learned from this game. I’m happy that we didn’t put our heads down.”
Junior Anaijah Morgan had six points, while Boyd scored eight for Norwalk. Junior guard Jordan Moses and Povinelli contributed five points apiece for Greenwich, which is playing without senior center Jordan Stamos and sophomore guard Beatriz Owens, both of whom are injured.
The Bears visit top-ranked New London for a Saturday showdown at 3 p.m.
“We have a big game tomorrow (Saturday), which we’re excited about,” Rene said. “It’s been great knowing that we’re the best team in the FCIAC so far, at 13-0.”
Greenwich hosts Trumbull on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“Mentality is one of the biggest aspects of basketball, or any sport, so we have to stay positive and keep pushing forward,” Conforti said.
“Our goals are to win states and FCIACs this year and I’m really happy with the way our team is playing,” Murray-Leach said. “We’ve been on a good streak and we hope to keep it going.”
NORWALK 82, GREENWICH 36
NORWALK 22 23 19 18 — 82
GREENWICH 7 3 11 13 — 36
NORWALK (82): Carsyn Langhorn 2 5-6 10; Anaijah Morgan 3 0-1 6; Sanaa Boyd 4 0-0 8; Ashley Wilson 8 2-2 18; Jakara Murray-Leach 6 1-2 13; Naeva Rene 4 4-7 12; Lamia Ashley 0 1-2 1; Serenity Mayhew 5 2-4 12; Jessica Parker 0 2-3 2. Totals: 32 17-27 82.
GREENWICH (36): Julia Conforti 7 2-6 17; Jordan Moses 2 0-0 5; Michelle Morganti 0 1-2 1; Kristin Riggs 1 0-0 2; Marielle Povinelli 2 0-0 5; Kate Loughran 2 0-0 4; Kelly Martyanov 1 0-0 2; Ciara Munnelly 0 0-2 0. Totals: 15 3-10 36.
3-pointers: N — Langhorn; G — Povinelli, Conforti, Moses.