DARIEN -- It is very crowded at the upper echelon of FCIAC girls basketball.

Warde, Wilton, Trumbull, Stamford, Ridgefield and Greenwich are all Twitter scoreboard watchers having three losses or less in the closing month of the regular season.

The Greenwich High School girls saw a 10-game win streak end last Tuesday. But it was back to business for the Cardinals Friday as they downed Darien 71-58 at the Blue Wave gym.

"The loss at Ridgefield (64-46) was an eye-opener for us," Greenwich coach Chrys Hernandez said. "After that, we went back to the drawing board. We took a hard look at what our identity should be. We got back to business tonight."

Indeed. Greenwich (13-3, 11-3 FCIAC) was very aggressive with its press, forcing enough Darien turnovers to build a 25-11 edge after one quarter.

"We came out with fire," Hernandez said. "The girls had worked hard on the press in practice. They anticipated Darien's passes well and created havoc with their energy."

When Greenwich wasn't scoring in transition, the Cardinals dominated in the paint with junior center Abbie Wolf (15 of her 19 points in the first half) and Emily Anderson (eight points).

With the 6-foot-1 Wolf intimidating around the basket, Greenwich's half-court defense forced Darien (7-9, 7-7 FCIAC) to launch a host of wayward 3-pointers.

It added up to a 48-28 halftime cushion for Greenwich.

With the playoffs in mind, Hernandez made a concerted effort to give the Cardinals' reserves extended minutes and experience.

With Wolf sitting, Darien used a 13-0 surge to close to 57-45 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Darien used a 9-2 run to get within 66-54 with 2:20 to go. With every victory precious, the GHS starters went back in to run out the clock as Jamie Kockenmeister (game-high 21 points) scored Greenwich's last five points.

"We played three good quarters. Going forward we will need four good quarters," Hernandez said. "It was a good opportunity to have our bench players develop. We'll need everybody at playoff time."

Darien, which played without perimeter threat Emily Coyle, had balanced scoring. Erin Karczewski (pair of 3-pointers) had 12 points followed by Kaeleigh Morrill (11 points, 7-for-7 free throws), Katie Richter (nine points), Casey Ryan and Katie Ramsey (eight points each).

"We struggled in the first half. We adjusted in the second half by being more active on defense with Wolf sitting," said Darien coach Katie Lauten. "There are so many strong teams in this league. We want to be able to compete. My girls are giving me great effort. That's all I can ask."


Greenwich 71, Darien 58

GREENWICH (13-3, 11-3 FCIAC)

Abbie Wolf 7 5-5 19 Jamie Kockenmeister 7 7-8 21 Alexa Moses 4 0-0 10 Leigh Galletta 2 0-0 4 Colleen Bennett 2 0-0 4 Emily Anderson 3 2-2 8 Caroline Beneville 1 0-0 3 Amanda Yu 0 0-2 0 Jayla Faison 1 0-2 2 Shaye Galletta 0 0-0 0 Kim Kockenmeister 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 14-19 71.

DARIEN (7-9, 7-7 FCIAC)

Erin Karczewski 5 0-0 12 Kaeleigh Morrill 2 7-7 11 Katie Richter 4 1-4 9 Avery Maley 2 0-2 6 Kendra Fitzpatrick 1 2-3 4 Casey Ryan 4 0-0 8 Katie Ramsey 3 2-2 8 Megan Hobbs 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-18 58.

GREENWICH 25 23 9 14 --71

DARIEN 11 17 17 13 --58

3-Pointers: G -- Moses 2, Beneville. D -- Karczewski 2, Maley 2.

Highlights: G -- L. Galletta 6 assists. Wolf 4 assists, 12 rebounds.