St. Luke's girls hoop tops GA to reach FAA final
NEW CANAAN -- The wonderful journey of the youthful St. Luke's School girls basketball team took yet another giant step forward Wednesday night as the Storm conquered Greenwich Academy 67-45 in the Fairchester Athletic Association playoff semifinals.
The victory before a thrilled partisan crowd at the St. Luke's gym means that No. 2 St. Luke's will travel to No. 1 Hamden Hall Friday at 5 p.m. to battle for the FAA Championship. Hamden Hall earned its berth by ousting No. 5 Convent of the Sacred Heart, 60-31 Wednesday.
"It means the world to be in the finals," said St. Luke's Sydney Lowery, who finished with 20 points. "It's been a long time (2006-07) since St. Luke's girls basketball has won an FAA title. The finals are about our legacy. A title is an accomplishment that will last forever at St. Luke's."
St. Luke's (18-4) is living the basketball dream with a roster that has one senior, one junior, one sophomore and a multitude of freshmen.
Leading 30-29 at halftime, St. Luke's took command over No. 3 Greenwich Academy (9-10) by opening the second half with a 15-3 surge. An 8-2 run featuring back-to-back 3-pointers from Maya Klein (19 points, five 3-pointers) settled the issue at 57-39 with 6:11 to go.
"All season long, we're usually losing at halftime and we make a great comeback in the second half," St. Luke's coach Greg Thomas said. "Our first half shooting was off. We raised our defensive intensity and the girls responded."
Greenwich Academy had no answer for the trio of sophomore Lowery (16 second-half points), Klein (four second-half 3-pointers) and Caroline Thompson (19 points).
"Our early success this season (11-0 start) helped the girls believe and trust in each other," Thomas said. "Thompson is the wild card for us. And she was so clutch today. When Caroline does her thing, the skies the limit for us."
"Davis is an elite player. We tried to double-team her whenever she touched the ball," Thomas said. "Her length and athleticism is great."
The season may have ended for GA, but the Gators believe they have a bright future.
"I'm so proud of my girls. Nobody expected us to reach the FAA semifinals," Gators coach Wes Matthews said. "A lot of hard work and dedication got us here. We're only losing two seniors so our program is on the rise. I can't wait until next year. We're changing the girls basketball culture at GA. The future is bright."
For St. Luke's, however, the future is now with an FAA final and probable NEPSAC tournament invite on the horizon.
"We lost to Hamden Hall 65-55 in the regular season back on January 30," Thomas said. "We fought hard but we couldn't keep them off the offensive glass. That's where they hurt us. Rebounding will be our point of emphasis for Friday."
St. Luke's 67, Greenwich Academy 45
GREENWICH ACADEMY (9-10, 5-5 FAA)
Jordan Fischetti 0 1-2 1 Kaitlyn Davis 9 6-13 24 Brooke Powers 3 0-0 9 Katie Tenefrancia 2 1-5 5 Phoebe Morris 1 2-4 4 Katherine Larsen 0 0-0 0 Alex Elam 0 0-0 0 Grace Sargent 0 0-0 0 Sarah Saco 0 0-0 0 Alice Hudson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 10-24 45.
ST. LUKE'S (18-4)
Sydney Lowery 7 5-6 20 Maya Klein 6 2-2 19 Caroline Thompson 8 0-0 19 Kit Hamill 0 0-0 0 Janelle Johnson 2 0-0 5 Hannah Amendola 0 0-0 0 Jada Boggs 1 0-0 2 Bridget Dalton 0 0-0 0 Hannah Smock 1 0-3 2 Elizabeth Laub 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 7-11 67.
GREENWICH ACADEMY 29 16--45
ST. LUKE'S 30 37--67
3-Pointers: GA -- Powers 3. StL -- Lowery, Klein 5, Thompson 3, Johnson.
Highlights: StL -- St. Luke's travels to No. 1 seed Hamden Hall for FAA Championship Friday at 5 p.m. StL -- Lowery 7 rebounds, 4 assists. Thompson 4 steals, 7 rebounds.