Learning from losses at the Southfield Holiday Tournament


Mrs. Ayo Hart

The Sacred Heart Greenwich varsity basketball team dribbled their way into winter break with the Southfield Holiday Tournament.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich varsity basketball team kicked off their winter break with the Southfield Holiday Tournament at the Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts, December 20 to December 22.  During their first time participating in the tournament, the team faced four opponents, finishing with a record of zero wins and four losses.

The team, led by senior co-captains Morgan Smith and Leah Atkins, Head Coach Mrs. Ayo Hart, and Assistant Coach Ms. Carol Leib, began the tournament with a loss to Wilbraham & Monson Academy 43-35 December 20.  In a double-header December 21, Sacred Heart fell to the Holderness School 53-36 and Dexter by a score of 50-38.  In their last competition December 22, the team lost to the Millbrook School 53-47.

Mrs. Hart believes that the team’s experience will provide an opportunity for growth and improvement. 

The varsity basketball starters huddle together before their game at the Southfield Holiday Tournament. Courtesy of Mrs. Ayo Hart

“While our record in the tournament was not what we had hoped for going into it, as a team, we learned a great deal about ourselves both as individuals and as a team,” Mrs. Hart said.   “We had a great chat in the locker room after our final game and left knowing what we each one of us needed to commit to doing in the New Year if we wanted to enjoy some of the success we had last season.  Right now, we are focusing on taking this season one day at a time, even one play at a time.  I know it won’t be long before this squad has a breakout game.”

Returning from a historic season last year, the varsity basketball team will aim to secure a seed in the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) tournament at the end of the season.  The team may also earn a bid into the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament.

This year, the varsity basketball team is small and young.  Featuring only three upperclassmen, Morgan, Leah, and junior Alana Frederick, Mrs. Hart enjoyed watching the entire team grow during the tournament.

“We have a very young roster with only three upperclassmen all the way down to two eighth-graders so it is definitely a year for us to define our identity and look to capitalize on our strengths while minimizing our weaknesses,” Mrs. Hart said.  “The holiday tournament provided us with the perfect place to start to do all of the above while most importantly strengthening the bonds amongst teammates.”

The team began their winter season November 21 with a victorious scrimmage over the Hackley School.  They then lost to Maria Regina High School, the Hotchkiss School, and St. Luke’s School.  The team defeated the School of the Holy Child and Greenwich Academy, entering the Southfield Holiday tournament on a two-game win streak.

While visiting Massachusetts, the team attended a basketball game at Boston College.  Courtesy of Leah Atkins ’20

Morgan felt as though the tournament allowed the team to bond and form connections on and off the court.  

“Although it is very important to connect on the court, it really starts by having connections off the court as well,” Morgan said.  “Spending time with the team away from our normal routines was really beneficial to the atmosphere we hope will flourish over these next three months.”

To begin the second half of their season, Sacred Heart will travel to Hamden Hall Country Day School January 8.  The team will then face The Masters School, Rye Country Day School, Hopkins School, and four more opponents during January.  

Mrs. Hart hopes that the varsity basketball team’s season this year will provide a positive example for the Sacred Heart community. 

“Looking ahead, the future is bright for basketball at Sacred Heart Greenwich,” Mrs. Hart said.  “Our junior varsity team is off to a strong 4-1 start, and we have an unprecedented 55 student-athletes in our Middle School program.  Our captains, Morgan Smith and Leah Atkins, are well aware of building a culture and legacy that they are proud to leave to the next generation of [basket]ballers at Sacred Heart.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Mrs. Ayo Hart