Girls basketball: Banner Night kicks off home season

St. Joseph High’s girls basketball team will host a Banner Night on Wednesday, Dec. 23, when coach Chris Lindwall’s Cadets play host to Trinity Catholic-Stamford at 7 p.m. at the Vito Montelli Court in Trumbull.

St. Joseph will unveil its latest banner — for Lindwall’s squad capturing the 2014-15 Class M championship. Cadets supporters are expected on hand at 6:30 p.m. to welcome back last year’s graduates from that team and those returning to the court this season.

“Tradition never graduates is our team motto,” said Lindwall, whose team will play non-league foe Newtown High tonight (Dec. 17) at 7. “Expectations don’t change. When I came in to coach St. Joseph five years ago I wanted to get the program back to winning on a consistent basis. Last year’s seniors left their mark. These current players learned firsthand what it takes.”

Bridget Sharnick, Caitlin Sharnick, Ana DoCarmo, Juliana Farmer, Jackie Marconi, Emily Robertson, Maite Gritsko, Tess Lockwood and Shannon O’Meara led the Cadets to a 19-7 campaign that ended with them winning the program’s first state title since 1979.

Jackie Jozefick, the lone returning starter and Shannon Healey will captain this year’s squad.

“Jackie and Shannon have done a great job leading this team through the preseason and through the offseason,” said Lindwall, who will be assisted by Annie Ackerman, Shannon Hovan, Connor Sharnick and Mark Hopkins.  Jozefick averaged 11.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and blocked 2.4 shots per game.

“We’re expecting a lot from Jackie and Shannon at forward, where they’ll be joined by juniors Melissa Bike and Chelsea Dos Santos.

“Ashley Lynch will be our point guard. She is a junior and we are expecting her to run the show. She saw some varsity time as a sophomore, and as you know point guard is the toughest position to play in my system.

Megan Robertson and Shannon Grabowski will start with Lynch at guard. Lauren Haverl, Alyssa Zito, Brenna Hynes and Isabella Moffat, all juniors will help out in the backcourt.

“Once last season was over, we met individually with each player and went over what we expected from them and gave them guidelines,” said Lindwall, whose 14 high school teams have each qualified for states. “They really took it to heart. The team has made a conscious effort to work on their skills and the kids have definitely exceeded where I thought they’d be (in four scrimmages).

“I believe this team wants to do it (be successful) firstmost for the seniors. That’s how it works here. Qualifying for states and the FCIAC is a staple (of goals) for us. Trumbull, Stamford, Fairfield Warde, Fairfield Ludlowe, Greenwich and Ridgefield are teams to watch for. It should be a fun season of basketball in the best conference in the state.”