New Canaan 6th Grade Girls Basketball Runners-Up in Coppo Tourney


For athletes in the New Canaan Basketball Association the Joe Coppo Memorial Tournament is an annual right of passage, kicking off the winter hoops season for the 18th time in 2014. Formerly known as the NCBA Tip-Off Tournament, the event was renamed in honor of Joe Coppo, a local leader in New Canaan youth sports prior to his death in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

For the 6th grade NCBA girls team the 2014 was a successful one, as it finished in second place with a 3-1 overall record. Here is a recap of the action from this past weekend:

Game 1 – Stamford 27, New Canaan 25

In the first game of the Joe Coppo Tournament, New Canaan lost a heartbreaker to Stamford, 27-25. New Canaan started the scoring with a jump shot by Marlee Smith, but quickly fell behind, and never led the game again. Strong scoring from Emma Gibbens (9 points), Smith, Elizabeth St. George and Quinn McKiernan, (each adding 4 points) kept New Canaan close to Stamford, along with strong inside rebounding from Olivia West and Tyler Towers. Both Julia Bazata and Chloe Reidy had defensive steals that were converted into baskets, and Cameron Murphy’s strong ball movement at point guard helped New Canaan dominate while in the Stamford end. New Canaan almost tied the game at the buzzer, but Emma Gibbens’ rebound of Chloe Reidy’s last-minute shot came after the buzzer.

Game 2 – New Canaan 28, High Rise 27

In game 2, New Canaan won a nail-biter over High Rise in overtime, 28-27. The game started with jump shot baskets by Elizabeth St. George and Brynne Harris, but the team needed consecutive baskets from Marlee Smith and Emma Gibbens to take a lead. High Rise used oppressive defense and speed to take the lead, but an outside jump shot by St. George and a clutch free-throw by Quinn McKiernan brought the lead back to New Canaan by the end of the third quarter. New Canaan opened the fourth quarter with a 9-3 run on alternating baskets by Smith and Gibbens, assisted by Murphy. However, High Rise fought back to be within 3 in the last minute of play. High Rise stunned New Canaan with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime. The overtime period was a defensive battle between the teams with strong defense from Reidy and Towers, and after a foul by High Rise, New Canaan won the game on a free-throw by Olivia West.

Game 3 – New Canaan 23, Scarsdale 16

Right from the start New Canaan dominated their third game in the Coppo Tourament against Scarsdale on Sunday. Olivia West tipped off to Emma Gibbens who scored immediately. In the first half, Julia Bazata played strong defense, Tyler Towers blocked a Scarsdale shot and West grabbed several key rebounds. Scarsdale would make a come back by the end of the third to bring the game to within 2 points, but New Canaan exploded offensively in the fourth to pull away and win the game. Gibbens had a strong offensive showing with 11 points. Quinn McKiernan scored 2 baskets for New Canaan. Bazata, Cameron Murphy, Marlee Smith, and Elizabeth St. George each scored buckets for the team. Brynne Harris, Chloe Reidy and West had great ball handling and strong defense with several rebounds and forced turnovers against Scarsdale.

Game 4 – New Canaan 23, Wilton 18

New Canaan played another close game against Wilton for their Coppo finale. The girls started out strong with a basket from Quinn McKiernan and Olivia West scored on a free throw from a technical foul. Tyler Towers helped keep up the New Canaan defense, but the team couldn’t stop Wilton from dominating the first quarter. In the second quarter, scoring went back and forth between the two teams. McKiernan would score 2 more baskets, Marlee Smith scored on a layup and Emma Gibbens on a foul shot. Julia Bazata, Brynne Harris and Elizabeth St. George came up with several rebounds and steals to help New Canaan push ahead by two points. Wilton came back strong at the start of the third quarter and were up by six, but once again New Canaan didn’t disappoint. Chloe Reidy had a clutch defensive rebound and then the girls started on a scoring spree. Cameron Murphy scored 7 points along with two 3-point shots from both Emma Gibbens and Marlee Smith that allowed New Canaan to finish strong and win 3 of their 4 games this weekend.

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