Car­di­nals look­ing to make noise

Greenwich Time - - SPORTS - By David Fierro

With the sea­son rapidly ap­proach­ing, Green­wich High School girls bas­ket­ball coach Chrys Her­nan­dez re­cently de­cided it was time to give her squad, which is a bit short on ex­pe­ri­ence, a brief his­tory les­son.

“Our theme is, ‘you don’t know where you are go­ing, un­til you know where you came from,’” Her­nan­dez said. “We lit­er­ally went back to the his­tory books and did a time­line of ev­ery bas­ket­ball team Green­wich has ever had. We no­ticed the ebbs and flows of the pro­gram and its rich his­tory. There were a cou­ple of years in there where we were re­ally good.”

A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the pro­gram’s suc­cess has come in the past decade, with the Car­di­nals qual­i­fy­ing for the post­sea­son al­most ev­ery year — in­clud­ing the 2015-16 sea­son when it ad­vanced to the CIAC Class LL cham­pi­onship game at Mo­he­gan Sun.

Last win­ter marked the first time Green­wich didn’t make the Class LL Tour­na­ment since the 2012-13 sea­son, so it’s in­tent on reestab­lish­ing it­self as a con­tender.

“We have a lot of new play­ers who have the de­sire to want to take it to the next level and we have ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers too,” Her­nan­dez said. “We have a good foun­da­tion to build from, which will hope­fully, help us get to where we were two years ago.”

Se­niors Michelle Mor­ganti and Tay­lor Sta­mos and ju­nior Jor­dan Moses, all of whom, saw sig­nif­i­cant time on the court last sea­son, are the Car­di­nals’ cap­tains. Mor­ganti also served as one of the Cards’ cap­tains last sea­son.

“Last sea­son was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me in terms of be­ing more of a leader,” Mor­ganti said. “It also helped me learn about over­com­ing a lot of chal­lenges. So far, we are work­ing on get­ting our chem­istry go­ing for the sea­son.”

Said Sta­mos, who should spark the Car­di­nals at the for­ward and cen­ter po­si­tions: “I am try­ing to step up this year by not only be­ing a pres­ence on the

court, but off the court as well. I want to help the un­der­class­men step into their roles on the team.”

Like Mor­ganti, Moses will be re­lied upon to help for­tify the back­court, which hopes to set the squad’s up-tempo style of play.

“It def­i­nitely feels re­ally good to lead this team, I think we can do re­ally good things this sea­son,” Moses said. “One of things we’ve been fo­cus­ing on is to be more of a run­ning team. In or­der to out-run ev­ery other team it comes down to de­fense and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

AT THE HELM:

Her­nan­dez is be­gin­ning her eighth sea­son as coach of Green­wich. She has guided

GHS to the play­offs in all but two of her first seven sea­sons. In the Cards’ 2015-16 cam­paign Green­wich reached the Class LL fi­nals at Mo­he­gan Sun, where it lost to Stam­ford. Two sea­sons ago, (2016-17) Green­wich fin­ished with a record of 12-9 and lost to Ridge­field in the FCIAC Tour­na­ment quar­ter­fi­nals.

Tony Her­nan­dez, Chrys’ hus­band, is the Car­di­nals’ as­sis­tant coach.

WHO’S GONE?: Guard Kim Kock­en­meis­ter, Green­wich’s lead­ing scorer last sea­son, grad­u­ated and is con­tin­u­ing her bas­ket­ball ca­reer at Swarth­more Col­lege. Com­mence­ment also claimed for­wards Beth Wil­liamson, Jor­dan Ste­fanow­icz and Tess Lamhaouar.

GUARDS: Ju­lia Con­forti, a ju­nior, who was side­lined last year with an in­jury, is

back in ac­tion and should be one of the team’s main back­court play­ers. Mor­ganti, Moses added ex­pe­ri­ence and skill to the back­court, while fresh­man Kristin Riggs has shown plenty of prom­ise dur­ing the pre­sea­son and should be a key con­trib­u­tor.

Ju­nior Kate Loughran, sopho­more Nealia Ma­heia and sopho­more Marielle Povinelli bring depth to the guard po­si­tion.

FOR­WARDS/CEN­TERS:

Sta­mos has a solid low post game and could help the Cards in the re­bound­ing depart­ment. Fresh­man for­ward/cen­ter Kelly Martyanov will start for the Car­di­nals, fol­low­ing a stel­lar pre­sea­son and ju­nior Vi­o­let Mikalopas and se­nior Ciara Mun­nelly join the squad in the front­court.

STRENGTHS: “Our

team bond­ing and chem­istry has been amaz­ing,” Her­nan­dez said. “Prac­tices have been fun, they re­ally do look for­ward to com­ing in and work­ing ev­ery day.”

Said Sta­mos: “Our skills are im­prov­ing, which will hope­fully, help us get our record up from last year.”

CAP­TAIN’S COM­MENT: “Some of our goals this year, in­clude mak­ing states and FCIACs,” Mor­ganti said. “We have a lot of chem­istry this year, with a lot of new girls and some re­turn­ing play­ers.”

OPEN­ING WEEK: Green­wich hosts Trin­ity Catholic Wed­nes­day at 6 p.m, then will com­pete at the Rye Ro­tary Tour­na­ment at Rye (N.Y.) High School on Fri­day and Satur­day.

David Fierro / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

From left to right: Jor­dan Moses, Tay­lor Sta­mos and Michelle Mor­ganti are cap­tains of the Green­wich High School girls bas­ket­ball team, which opens its sea­son Wed­nes­day at Trin­ity Catholic.

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