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Greenwich stays perfect after pulling away from New Canaan in second quarter

Updated 10:56 pm, Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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NEW CANAAN -- The New Canaan girls basketball team enjoyed what was arguably its best opening quarter of the season in its attempt to defend its home court against visiting Greenwich, but by halftime the Cardinals had all but guaranteed their unblemished record would be intact at game's end.

The Cards, which claimed a 65-28 victory, used a 40-4 run that started at the end of the first quarter and extended all the way into the third to boost their season-opening win streak to three.

"We really pulled together as a team and started to play more aggressive," said Greenwich's Leigh Galletta, who tied for a game-high 13 points with teammate Caroline Beneville. "We were a little hesitant in the first, and I think we just picked up the energy, picked up the speed and started to gain more momentum. We've been pushing each other a lot in getting ready for these games."

The Cardinals were able to spread the wealth during their one-sided run -- and throughout the game -- in a performance that saw five Cardinals (Galletta, Beneville, Jamie Kockenmeister, Abbie Wolf and Emily Anderson) notch at least six points.

Greenwich's ability to get so many players involved should be beneficial in the long run, according to coach Chrys Hernandez.

"I think we got back to our game plan, which was to be aggressive and push the tempo. Once we limited our turnovers and we took care of the ball, we were able to do that," Hernandez said. "We're not a one-man show. To date, we've been able to get everybody in the game, and everyone who steps on the court contributes."

The Rams were left still searching for their first win of the 2013-14 campaign, but coach Kim Palmer saw some positive signs, particularly her team's willingness to keep competing in the fourth quarter despite the lopsided score.

"I've seen growth from the start of the season until now. Anytime I put anyone in they give everything they have. We moved the ball well today against a two-three zone," said Palmer, whose Rams were outscored 13-12 in the fourth. "The offense is starting to connect and we're starting to get what we're supposed to do out there and recognize what's happening out on the floor."

Top scorers for New Canaan included Hailey Paddock, who notched all six of her points in the second half, and Olivia Hunsinger, whose five points all came from the free throw line.

The Rams will look to remove the goose egg from their win column when they travel to take on Wilton Friday night at 7 p.m.

"It's a work in progress and the kids are playing hard, and that's all I can ask for right now," Palmer said. "When we go into each quarter and at halftime I tell them that it's 0-0, and let's win each quarter and compete that way. The kids understand that, and that's where I give them a lot of credit."

All three Cardinal wins have been of the blowout variety, but Hernandez and company don't want to get too high, especially so early in the season. The Cards have a chance to make it 4-for-4 on Friday when they play host to Danbury at 7 p.m.

"We need to keep a level head and I try to practice what I preach to the girls. We don't want to get too high," Hernandez said. "It's always nice to have a win, but we want to stay consistent. It's still early and it's a very long season."

jchik@bcnnew.com Twitter: @jchik17

GREENWICH 65, NEW CANAAN 28

NEW CANAAN (0-2)

Hailey Paddock 3 0-0 6; Olivia Hunsinger 0 5-6 5; Tess Decker 2 0-0 4; Devin Selvala 2 0-1 4; Marina Braccio 1 1-4 3; Liz Miller 1 0-0 2; Meghan Selvaggi 1 0-0 2; Kylie Murphy 1 0-0 2; Campbell Armstrong 0 0-1 0; Lindsay Seelert 0 0-0 0; Erica Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 6-12 28.

GREENWICH (2-0)

Caroline Beneville 4 4-4 13; Leigh Galletta 5 3-3 13; Jamie Kockenmiester 3 4-6 10; Emily Anderson 3 0-0 6; Abbie Wolf 3 0-0 6; Rebecca DeCarlo 2 0-0 4; Colleen Bennett 2 0-0 4; Shaye Galletta 2 0-2 4; Alexa Moses 1 1-2 3; Raquel Irefies 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 12-17 65

GREENWICH 13 22 17 13--65

NEW CANAAN 8 4 4 12--28

3-pointers: G--Beneville.