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St. Luke's Burned by Greens Farms in Opener

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – St. Luke’s boys basketball coach Brian Kriftcher knew 2011-12 would be a rebuilding season when the final buzzer sounded on the Storm’s conference title run this past February. Only five players from that team, not one of them a starter, have returned.

The experience deficit was painfully obvious in St. Luke's 65-31 season opening loss against Greens Farms Academy on Tuesday. First-game jitters ran amok as the Storm shot under 15 percent from the field and struggled with poor passing and traveling violations.

St. Luke’s could not contain Greens Farms center Sean Obi. The 6-foot-9 junior was in midseason form, posting his 27th consecutive double-double. He finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks.

“We’ve been working on a lot, but it’s a lot different playing against ourselves, and when the lights go on, you have to make plays,” Kriftcher said. “Obi is a tremendous player and we really had no answer for him. We tried playing him man-to-man, but we just don’t have the team to play him like that.”

St. Luke’s top scorer was Sean Cullinane, but he was held to just eight points. Elijah Holyfield contributed seven points, and Noel Prince added six.

Both teams started slowly, with neither taking the advantage. Then Obi came to life and the rout was on. Greens Farms led 34-21 at halftime, and its defense came down hard in the second,  holding St. Luke’s to 14 points.

“The team that contested pressure best would take this game, and there was no question [Greens Farms] did,” Kriftcher said. “We’ll be back at it. It’s one game. We have to go 1-0 each game.”

St. Luke’s takes on Hopkins School (New Haven) at home on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest Main Street Connect coverage of Fairfield County sports.

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