DARIEN -- Round 2 of Greenwich vs. Darien girls basketball had a decidedly different outcome than Round 1.
On Dec. 27 in the semifinals of the LaVista tournament, the Cardinals claimed an overtime victory, but the Blue Wave had no such troubles this time around.
Darien's Meg Marren scored a game-high 17 points and Darien played strong defense after the first quarter to cruise to a 56-38 win.
"It was a really big win. In the LaVista tournament, we played a little off and I was injured," said Marren, who did not appear in the LaVista tournament. "We came back tonight and worked hard together. In practice, we've been working hard on defense to not let them get many shots."
Darien, which did not trail in the game, got off to a red-hot start and scored nine of the game's first 11 points. Greenwich closed to within 19-15 by the end of the opening quarter, but that was as close as the Cardinals would get.
In the opening quarter, Greenwich's Caroline Barrett, who scored a team-high 14 points, got her team rolling by dropping nine.
"We came out flat, plain and simple. We had no energy right from the get-go and it carried on through four quarters. We were never able to pull ourselves out of it," Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez said. "Every single game counts and that's our mantra to ourselves. It's whoever comes to play tonight, and tonight Darien came to play."
The scoring slowed down considerably in the second quarter, as the Blue Wave defense permitted just four points in the stanza while increasing their lead to 29-19 by halftime. Emily Stein scored a quarter-high four points.
"The defense we played for the last three quarters is what we normally do. What was nice is we finally finished out a game," Darien coach Katie Lauten said. "We usually make it exciting all the way to the end, and we had a solid finish tonight. Everybody contributed and stepped up. Everything was clicking."
Darien continued its strong defensive play in the third quarter, once again giving up only four points. Stein scored six points in the quarter to outscore the entire Greenwich team, providing Darien with a 41-23 lead going into the fourth.
As a result of the big lead, Lauten emptied her bench and got her subs some significant playing time in the game's waning minutes.
Darien entered the night in sole possession of eighth place in the tightly contested FCIAC standings and the win was its fourth in a row.
"We know that we're as good as any other team and we're excited for the games coming up," Lauten said. "It's a tight race right now and it's going to be fun."
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DARIEN 56, GREENWICH 38
DARIEN (8-4, 7-3)
Meg Marren 7 3-6 17, Emily Stein 6 0-0 12 Kelly Karczewski 4 0-0 9, Kate Fiore 3 0-2 6, Kendra Fitzpatrick 1 2-4 4, Erin Karczewski 1 0-0 2, Ali Aparicio 1 0-0 2, Dagny Belah 1 0-0 2, Claire Naughton 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 5-12 56.
GREENWICH (3-8, 5-8)
Caroline Barrett 5 2-2 14, Jamie Kockenmeister 5 1-2 11, Rebecca DeCarlo 2 1-2 5, Alexa Moses 2 0-0 4, Leigh Galletta 1 0-0 2, Abigail Wolf 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 4-6 38.
Records: Darien 8-4 (7-3 FCIAC), Greenwich 5-7 (3-7 FCIAC).
GREENWICH 15 4 4 15--38
DARIEN 19 10 12 15--56
3-pointers: D-Kelly Karczewski; G-Barrett 2