Greenwich Time: St. Luke’s defeats Sacred Heart for fourth straight FAA title
This article originally appeared in the Greenwich Time; to read it in full please visit the paper's website.
Already crowded with basketball trophies, the display case at St. Luke’s School’s athletic center will hold one more shiny girls basketball winner’s title.
Entering Saturday’s FAA Tournament final as three-time defending champions, the Storm were challenged by Sacred Heart Greenwich, but they weren’t about to see their long reign of supremacy halted.
Behind a balanced scoring effort and an effective defensive performance, top-seeded host St. Luke’s remained the gold standard in the FAA, capturing the league championship for the fourth straight season with a well-earned 53-43 win over second-seeded Sacred Heart before an enthusiastic crowd at Cary Gymnasium.
Senior forward Janelle Johnson scored a team-high 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while freshman guard Caroline Lau had 10 points and made two shots from beyond the arc for the victors (23-2, undefeated in the FAA). Johnson, who sparked the Storm with her impressive perimeter shooting, has 997 career points. She’ll look to get to the 1,000-point milestone in the team’s next game, which will occur in the NEPSAC Class B Tournament.
“Winning this title again means so much to us,” Johnson said. “I’ve been on this team for five years and this our fourth time getting (the title), including four in a row. These girls work very hard day in and day out at practices and everything. It really means a lot to our seniors.”
The Storm, who defeated King School (63-44) and Hamden Hall Country Day School (53-40) on their way to advancing to the tournament’s title game, held a slim 29-25 halftime lead against a spirited Sacred Heart squad.
“It always feels great to win this tournament, that is our first goal always, to win FAAs,” St. Luke’s coach Matt Ward said. “It’s fun to win FAAs, especially when you play teams that are competitive and play really hard. We battled against Hamden Hall on Thursday and because of that experience on Thursday, it helped us in today’s game. Sacred Heart is well-coached, they have good athletes and they work really hard, so we knew they were going to come out strong.”
The Tigers (18-6) received a team-best 14 points from senior center Sarah Eckerson and nine points from junior guard Leah Atkins. Sacred Heart were defeated by 23 points in their regular-season meeting against St. Luke’s, but made adjustments and hung with the FAA’s premier team on Saturday.
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