Westies fall in opener
Spartans dominate middle two quarters
By MIKE MADERA
The West Haven and Amity boys basketball teams were coming off below average campaigns from a season ago. Amity finished the season with just three wins while the Westies snuck into the postseason.
This year, each team wanted to erase the disappointing memories of last year and get off to a quick start. The two teams got that opportunity last Wednesday evening when they squared off against each other in Woodbridge in the season opener for both teams.
The start was a good one for the Spartans as they dominated the middle two quarters on their way to a 65-54 victory over the Westies. Amity used 16 dominant minutes to post the victory as the Spartans outscored West Haven 37-23 in the second and third quarters of play.
Both teams came out shooting in the contest as West Haven jumped out to a 17-14 lead. Unfortunately for the Westies, they could not get the shots to fall in the second quarter after taking a 20-14 lead. .
Amity took advantage of numerous Westie turnovers and controlled the boards as its offense kept plugging away and took a 30-26 lead. The Spartans continued to roll in the third quarter, scoring 21 points and taking an 11-point lead with help from West Haven which could not connect on offense and turned the ball over numerous times.
“We turned the ball over way too many times,” West Haven coach Harry Bosley said. “We have inexperienced kids. This is my first year in ten years where I do not have any returning players who have played significant minutes in a varsity game.
“Amity is a tough team. They are physical. They were 3-17 last year but I saw them in the fall and knew we would be in a battle. They outhustled and outtoughed us. We needed that guy to guide us through the tough moments. We are a young team.”
Despite a valiant effort from Tieron Jackson, who scored 21 points in the game, the Westies were unable to come back. West Haven was not consistent on offense as only Deshawn Moncrease joined Jackson in double figures with 13 points. Jeff Hill added 8 points in the loss.
West Haven cut the deficit to five in the fourth quarter with five points from Jackson and a pair from Moncrease. But, Pat Sasso put the finishing touches on an opening night loss for West Haven with four points in the final minutes.
If the Westies want to generate more offense, they will need to drive to the basket more. West Haven did not force the issue and went to the free throw line just 18 times, connecting on 11.
“We were up 20-14 (second quarter) and I told the kids if we win each quarter we win the game,” Bosley said. “Amity was much more aggressive. In the second quarter, they crept in the game by making free throws. The tempo and the momentum changed.
“We did not play aggressive enough once they changed the momentum. We were taking long jump shots. They were pushing us out. They are going to be a tournament team. They wanted it more.”
Kevin Kochiss, who keyed a late second quarter Spartan run for a four-point halftime lead, led three Amity players in double figures with 19 points. Sasso had 16 points and Grant Watkins added 14 in the victory.
While West Haven struggled to get to the free throw line, the Spartans got to the line 28 times and made 18 (64%).
Westies pick off Gaels
WH gains first win of year
By MIKE MADERA
After opening the season with a pair of losses, the West Haven boys basketball team was desperate for a victory. A tough loss to Amity was followed by a crushing defeat to Career, leaving West Haven without a victory early in the season.
Going on the road to Shelton, the Westies overcame a slow start and used strong defensive play in both the second and fourth quarters to defeat the Gaels 54-43.
“It feels good especially to win on the road,” West Haven coach Harry Bosley said. “I think the kids needed it. Their spirits were a little down after the first couple of games.”
Trailing by two points after eight minutes of play, the Westies turned up the defense in the second quarter. Allowing just seven points to the Gaels, West Haven turned the deficit into a 5-point halftime lead. West Haven’s 14-7 run gave the team a 24-19 advantage.
“Andrew Martino hit a couple of big shots before the half to keep us ahead,” Bosley said. “Our press worked. We got a couple of steals and the defense led to some easy baskets.
“Ervin Philips played pretty well. He got some steals and some rebounds. He had some nice shots. Kadialy (Toure) hit some big shots as well. They wanted to win this one.”
Each team came out on fire in the third quarter offensively. Each team spread the offense around and scored 17 points apiece as the Westies held on to their five point lead with five minutes to play.
“We still kept up the pressure,” Bosley said. “We played a 2-2-1 and 1-3-1 on defense and that created some easy baskets for us. They (Shelton) started to rebound but Jeff Hill came in and hit a big basket. He got big rebounds as well.”
If the Westies were going to come away with their first win of the season, they would need to tighten up the defense and make their free throws in the fourth quarter. West Haven did just that, allowing only seven points to pull away for the 11-point victory.
“Everybody did their role,” Bosley said. “Everybody has to do their role for us to win.”
Junior Tieron Jackson led three Westies in double figures with 12 points. Kadialy Toure and Deshawn Moncrease each added 11 points, while freshman Ervin Philips scored eight.
“We had balanced scoring which is always good,” Bosley said. “The kids felt comfortable and everybody feels involved that way. That is the way we are going to have to win and that is to be balanced.”
Shelton had three players in double digits, led by Christian Pierre’s 15 points. Shaquil Holman scored 11 points and Arron Gagner added 10 in the loss for the Gaels.
Neither team shot well from the free throw line as West Haven connected on just 7-of-14 shots (50%) and Shelton hit on just 3-of-8 (38%).
Cheshire takes two from Westies
Young team learning on the go
By MIKE MADERA
With an inexperienced team on the floor, West Haven boys basketball coach Harry Bosley knew his team might have some growing pains. Through a handful of games, Bosley’s thoughts have proven correct.
West Haven opened the season with one win in its first three games before playing a pair against Cheshire. Bosley lamented an opening night loss against Amity, where the Westies had chances to win, saw an overpowering Career team win by 37 and finally got the team’s first win of the season in a battle at Shelton.
The Westies were looking to make it two straight wins last Tuesday night against Cheshire at West Haven. In a game which was postponed from Monday’s snowfall, the Westie offense looked sluggish at times as the Rams posted a 47-42 victory.
“I never really had a team with no returning players the following year,” Bosley said. “We play well as a team until it is time to finish and it gets to that next level. When it comes down to it, we don’t have that guy to relieve the pressure, to say give me the ball I am going to finish this.”
West Haven (1-3) struggled on offense as Tieron Jackson and Deshawn Moncrease did the bulk of the scoring, combining for over half of the team’s points with 29. The Rams did a good job neutralizing the rest of the offense and the hard work by Cheshire’s defense paid off, especially in the second and fourth quarters.
Kadialy Toure (23) battles for loose ball with Jeff Hill (25) looking on. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
In each quarter, the Cheshire defense held the Westies to single digit scoring. In the second quarter, that effort prevented West Haven from pulling away after building a three point lead after one quarter.
The defensive effort by the Rams paid the biggest dividends in the fourth quarter to over come a seven-point deficit. The Rams held West Haven to just nine points after the teams entered the final eight minutes tied at 33 , then hit their free throws down the stretch to post the five-point victory.
“It is a group effort,” Bosley said. “There are certain parts of the game where nobody comes though. We go through lapses at the wrong times. We were up 40-33 with 4 minutes, 50 seconds to go. All we had to do was close it out. You have to give Cheshire credit. They hit some big shots.”
While Nate Howard led the Rams with 18 points, the Westies could not contain Matt Bailey from the outside. Bailey kept his team in the game and gave the Rams momentum by draining four 3-pointers.
“They made their shots when they needed to make them,” Bosley said. “They came up with some big shots.”
The Westies led 19-18 through two quarters of play before a Cheshire run in the third quarter evened the game at 33. The Rams finished the game 13-of-16 from the free throw line.
Bosley has stressed to his team getting to the free throw line but the smaller Westies could not establish an inside presence against the Rams. As a result, West Haven attempted only four free throws, connecting on all four.
“We are not big enough,” Bosley said. “We don’t have an inside game. We do not have anybody who can play with their back to the basket.”
Jackson connected on three 3-pointers in the game for West Haven. Alex Ford scored six points and Ervin Philips added four in the loss.
The Westies had another crack at Cheshire two nights later in Cheshire. Unfortunately for the Westies, the game ended with the same result as the Rams tied the game in the final seconds of regulation and used a late shot in overtime to defeat the Westies 70-69.
“We had opportunities to close it out,” Bosley said. “We had a five-second call, then another turnover. They hit their shots at the end.”
West Haven appeared to have the game under control with 39 seconds remaining as Philips’ two free throws gave the Westies an eight point lead. Cheshire’s comeback then began as Bailey hit a 3-pointer with 33.5 seconds to go in regulation, West Haven turned the ball over and fouled the Rams.
Bailey hit two free throws to cut the deficit to three with 24 seconds remaining. A West Haven turnover gave the ball back to the Rams and Bill Weyrauch.
With West Haven leading 62-59 and looking to pick up its second win of the season, Weyrauch knotted the game as he drained a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation. The Westies had another chance to win in overtime but that opportunity slipped away when Howard’s basket with 17 seconds to go proved to be the winner for Cheshire as the Rams never trailed in the extra quarter of play.
“They had three shots at the basket with twelve seconds to go (regulation),” Bosley said. “All we needed was to get the rebound. They outhustled us to the ball.”
The loss wasted a solid start for West Haven as the Westies played well in the first quarter, limiting the Rams to just four points and holding an 11-point lead after starting the game on a 15-2 run.
Cheshire opened up the offense in the second quarter and inched closer as the Westies led only 33-27 at the half. West Haven was 15-for-21 from the field in the first half of play.
“The guys have to understand the big difference between this level and junior varsity is when you get a team down, you have to keep them down. Momentum and tempo is a big part of the game. You could feel it coming in the game.”
Cheshire did a nice job chipping away at the Westie lead. The Rams cut the deficit to four points heading into the final quarter where they took the lead by one for a short amount of time, then eventually tied the game on Weyrauch’s shot.
West Haven had used six straight free throws to take a 62-54 lead before Cheshire started its comeback.
Moncrease led three Westies in double figures with 21 points. Kadialy Toure scored 14 and Philips added 10 in the loss. Jackson and Ford added 9 and 8 points, respectively. West Haven was superb from the free throw line, connecting on 17-of-20 shots.
Weyrauch led Cheshire with 22 points, including four 3 -pointers. Bailey scored 15 and Howard added 10 in the victory.
Xavier too much for Westies
Falcons ride second half to victory
By MIKE MADERA
Losing four times in its first five games, the West Haven basketball team knew if it was going to get back on the winning track, the defensive effort needed to improve. Allowing an average of 65.5 points in the four losses and just 43 in the lone Westie victory, West Haven had to see the correlation.
Last Tuesday evening at West Haven saw the Westies square off against a tough Xavier-Middletown team, which played an aggressive defensive style. Looking to snap a two-game skid, West Haven could not match Xavier’s second half offense in a 59-43 loss.
“They (Xavier) are big,” West Haven coach Harry Bosley said. “Their game plan was to force it inside and they forced it right inside on us. Their guy (Michael Boornazian) had eighteen or twenty points in the first half alone.”
Trailing by just three points at the half, the Westies knew the third quarter could play a big part in the final outcome of the game. That theory proved to be correct as Xavier held the Westies to just 9 points in the first eight minutes of the second half, took a 10-point lead, then sealed the game in the fourth quarter.
“We made some mistakes,” Bosley said. “You can’t make mistakes against a team like Xavier. With two or three turnovers, we went from being down one or two points to down seven or eight. That puts way more pressure on you to make shots. Once you get down against Xavier by that many, you very rarely see a team come back against them.”
After holding Xavier to just 26 points in the first half, the Westies could not do the same in the final two quarters. West Haven’s offense was also slowed down in the second half as the Falcons held the Westies to just 20 points in the final 16 minutes.
“We were getting just one shot,” Bosley said. “They were daring us to take the outside shots. We had the shots but our young kids are not confident enough to take them.”
The story of the game for both teams was Xavier’s Michael Boornazian, who scored 35 points in the contest. Boornazian scored nearly 60 percent of the Falcons’ points and West Haven did not have an answer to slow him down.
Boornazian drained a pair of 3-pointers, hit on all five of his free throw attempts and hit on 12 shots from the field. Jovan Santos scored 15 points as the duo combined for 50 of the team’s 59 points in the game.
“He (Boornazian) is tough,” Bosley said. “I think he missed one shot the whole night. Their other big guy (Santos) was tough too.”
The Westies had two players in double figures in the game. Tieron Jackson led the way with 14 points and Kadialy Toure was right behind with 13. Alex Ford also added 8 for the Westies.
As has been the case all year, West Haven again did not help its cause, getting to the free throw line just 10 times, hitting on five.
“We got to the line,” Bosley said. “We need more. We also need to sure up our rebounding more.”
Westies stuffed by Hamden
Green Dragons control boards in victory
By MIKE MADERA
Entering last Friday evening’s game at West Haven High, both the West Haven and Hamden boys basketball teams were pretty similar. Each was struggling to get going and each team had gone through losing streaks.
Both teams knew they needed to get going if they wanted to play in the state tournament. Using a 17-10 fourth quarter run, Hamden rallied to defeat West Haven 55-48.
“Not being able to rebound kills us,” West Haven coach Harry Bosley said. “We give up too many second shots and that hurts us. We give up too many second shots.”
West Haven has struggled all year as it looks for someone to step up and take over the game. No one did against Hamden.
The end result was a five-point loss which saw West Haven’s record fall to 2-7. Hamden improved to 2-6.
Deshawn Moncrease drives to the basket against Hamden. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
“I do not have a returning player with any experience,” Bosley said. “Sometimes you get that one guy that can step up and carry you through. Everybody on the team is inexperienced.”
West Haven’s defense had its moments of glory but also had moments it would like to forget. The Westies did a nice job in the first quarter, allowing only nine points and did an even better job in the third quarter, allowing seven.
It was the second and fourth quarters which were the difference. Hamden scored 16 total points in the first and third quarters but tallied 39 in the second and fourth quarters.
“We came out and did what we had to do,” Bosley said. “We pressured them into turnovers. It was 18-9 but the kids don’t understand tempo is very important. There is a big difference when you go 18-9 to 18-12. We have to learn how to keep other teams down.”
Leading by five points after 8 minutes of play, West Haven wanted to extend the lead. That never happened as the Green Dragons picked apart the Westies for 22 points in the quarter and led 31-27 at the half.
The Westies picked up their defensive efforts in the third quarter, allowing just seven points and knotting the game at 38.
The fourth quarter was a different story. Hamden pulled away, hitting key shots to come away with just the second victory of the year.
Hamden had nice balance on offense with three players in double figures. Chazz Yopp was a threat all night from the outside, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 19 points. Antonio Lucky scored 14 points and Wesley Johnson added a pair of 3-pointers, finishing with 13 points.
“They (Hamden) got their second shots because of rebounds,” Bosley said. “We don’t have that prolific scorer to outscore someone.”
Deshawn Moncrease and Tahj Eaddy led the Westies with 10 points each. Tieron Jackson scored nine points and Alex Ford scored six in the loss.
Tahj Eaddy looks for the basket against Hamden. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Hamden got to the foul line 21 times, hitting 13 while West Haven was just 6-of-8.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
BOYS BASKETBALL 2010-2011
State champions - '87
All-State players - Mike McMahon '85; Paul McMahon '87; Terry Rountree '91; Ivoree Stanley '95; Bruce Wesley '96; Matt Turner '98; Sly Williams '06
Retired numbers - Michael McMahon (Class of 1985) #31; Jerry Gambardella (Class of 2000) #21
Westies pick up third win of season
By MIKE MADERA
If the West Haven boys basketball team had any hopes of playing in the state tournament, Wednesday evening’s home contest against Guilford was an absolute must-win. With just two wins in their first nine contests, the Westies knew they needed to quickly make up some ground.
In what was a solid defensive effort by the Westies, the team picked up its third win of the year by defeating Guilford 59-34. With 10 games remaining in the regular season the Westies need a split of those games to qualify.
Anything less than five victories against the likes of Fairfield Prep twice, Notre Dame, Xavier and Career would mean an ouster before the postseason begins. West Haven has not missed the state tournament in the ten years of coach Harry Bosley's reign.
“Every game is important,” Bosley said. “We struggled in the first quarter but then we started playing like we should in the third quarter. That was big for us.”
The Westies knew they would have to capitalize on the opportunity early in the contest against the Indians. Guilford struggled from the field in the opening quarter and was only able to connect for three points.
While West Haven’s offense was barely better, it was the West Haven defense which helped out. The Westies forced the Indians into hurried shots and grabbed the rebounds as well.
“We changed our defensive scheme,” Bosley said. “We went from a 3-2 zone to a man-to-man. Our defensive pressure stymied them. It allowed us to get to the basket and make baskets.”
The two teams struggled on offense in the opening half, with West Haven holding a 20-14 lead. That would all change in the third quarter.
The Westies came out on fire in the third quarter on the offensive side and kept up the pressure on the defensive end. West Haven surpassed its first half scoring in just 8 minutes of the third quarter, pouring in 24 points.
The 24-8 run allowed the Westies to take a 44-22 lead with 8 minutes remaining. With the way the Westies were playing on defense and Guilford's shots not falling, West Haven cruised through the final quarter.
“We got everybody involved,” Bosley said. “Deshawn Moncrease got to the basket. We started finishing. Kadialy (Toure) played pretty good in the third. Alex Ford made some shots. It was a team effort. The defense was where it was supposed to be to help the offense.”
Although the Westies came out on top, Bosley could not have been happy with the team’s efforts from the free throw line. While the Westies got to the line 15 times, they converted on just 4 shots (27%).
“That (free throws) is a little concerning to me,” Bosley said. “We have to get better at our free throws. Our main concern going in was rebounding. We can’t give up second shots.
“We have to battle on the boards and play good defense. We have to put an emphasis on free throws. It is a growing process.”
Deshawn Moncrease led the Westies with 20 points. Alex Ford added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, Ervin Philips had 9 and Kadialy Toure had 7 in a balanced attack.
“Everyone is starting to understand their roles and assignments,” Bosley said. “Once that happens, everything will fare well.”
Jake Battipaglia led Guilford with 11 points.
West Haven then picked up what may be its biggest win of the year, along with defeating Notre Dame, by beating Fairfield Prep 61-59 on the road. The Westies did not lead until the final seconds when Ford came up with a steal and scored the go-ahead basket.
“We trailed the whole game,” Bosley said. “We never gave up. We did not give them extra shots off the boards. We were able to keep it even on the boards.
“Ervin (Philips) played (Terry) Tarpey for thirty-two minutes. He did a great job. I couldn’t sub. We caught our second wind and never gave up. It was truly true grit. We really gritted it out. I never gave up and the kids never gave up.”
West Haven trailed by five after one quarter and 35-29 at the half. The Jesuits increased the lead to 41-29 in the third quarter before the Westies fought back with a 17-8 run to close the third quarter.
Trailing by three points, the Westies had the momentum heading into the fourth quarter. West Haven finally pulled ahead with Ford’s heroics then sweated out the final seconds for the win.
“Deshawn Moncrease had 22 points and he is undersized compared to them,” Bosley said. “He is 6-1 and playing guys who are 6-5 and 6-6. He is doing what I thought he could do. He did a heck of a job. Ervin played well. Kadialy had 9 points and 9 rebounds. All five played well. It was truly a great team effort.”
Ford finished with 13 points to go along with Moncrease’s 22 and Tieron Jackson had 11. Toure added 9 points and Philips had 6 in the victory. The Westies also improved at the free throw line, hitting 14-of-20 (70%).
“I hope this gets us going,” Bosley said. “We have had some major wins against Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame. Those are major wins in West Haven. They are huge wins for the psyche of the team.”
Rob Bier led three Jesuits in double figures with 23 points.
Big third quarter keys WH victory
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN – West Haven boys basketball coach Harry Bosley knows he does not have the biggest team around. What Bosley does know is if his team starts running and hitting its shots, the Westies can play with anyone.
After watching a 12-point lead dwindle to four, the Westies went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter to pull away in a 57-25 victory over Shelton Tuesday night at West Haven High. The run was part of a 19-3 sprint which extended a 21-17 West Haven advantage to a 20-point lead after three quarters of play.
“It took us a little too long to get going,” Bosley said of the team’s start to the game. “We are not a big team. This game is about tempo, momentum and rhythm. That is the game. We have the speed. That is going to be the benchmark the rest of the year.”
Leading 21-17, West Haven pulled away quickly. Alex Ford started the run with a basket and added four more points while Deshawn Moncrease had three points as West Haven took a 32-17 lead.
Christian Pierre broke the streak with a basket for the Gaels but Andrew Martino answered with a 3-pointer. Another 3-pointer by Martino was part of an 8-1 run to close the quarter for the Westies.
“Andrew Martino had a couple of big shots for us,” Bosley said. “He hit some big 3’s.”
Comfortably in front by 20 points thanks to a pressure defense which forced numerous turnovers and low percentage shots for Shelton, the Westies increased the margin in the fourth quarter. Baskets by Tieron Jackson and Ford extended the lead to 44-20 before Pierre’s free throws got Shelton on the board.
Moncrease then scored the next 6 points to increase the lead to 50-22 with 4 minutes, 14 seconds remaining. The Westies, on a 3-pointer by Tahj Eaddy and baskets by Jackson and Gary Dudley, closed the game with the final 7 points for the 32-point victory.
“We had good ball movement,” Bosley said. “Tieron Jackson and Deshawn Moncrease run the floor well. If we can get going, we are tough on the break.
“We told them at the half, if we let them hang around, it is going to be a game. The guys responded to what we had to say.”
West Haven jumped out of the gates quickly in the game taking an 8-2 lead on baskets by Moncrease, Ford, Jackson and Kadialy Toure. When Jackson hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter and followed with a basket, West Haven had a 15-7 lead.
Shelton (2-9) did not score its first points of the second quarter until 3:25 remained on a Pierre basket but the bucket started a 7-2 run to end the quarter for the Gaels.
“We knew we had to make some shots,” Bosley said. “We were letting them hang around in the first half. But, we got going in the second half.”
With the victory, West Haven improved to 5-7 on the year. The Westies have gone 4-2 since winning just once in their first six games and are closing in on a state tournament bid.
“We are close, but not there yet,” Bosley said of playing in the state tournament.
Ford and Jackson led three West Haven players in double figures with 15 points apiece. Moncrease added 14 and Martino finished with 6.
Shanar Lorthe led Shelton with 7 points. Pierre finished with 6 and Ryan Testani and Arron Gagner each had 4 for the Gaels.
Westies take second straight against Green Knights
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (Feb. 8, 2011) – When looking at the Notre Dame and West Haven basketball teams, it has definitely been a tale of two seasons. The Green Knights started with five wins in their first six games, while the Westies won once in that same time frame.
Yet when the two teams met Monday evening at West Haven High, the Westies were looking for a season sweep of the series and were gaining ground on the Green Knights. As Ervin Philips dribbled out the remaining time on the clock of a 57-55 West Haven victory, the Westies continued to make a run for the state tournament.
The victory allowed West Haven to improve to 6-8 on the year while Notre Dame fell to 7-7. The Green Knights remain one win away from the tournament while West Haven needs a pair of wins in the final six games to qualify.
Jeff Hill battles for a rebound against Notre Dame in an earlier contest against the Green Knights. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
“This is a big win for us,” West Haven coach Harry Bosley said. “To beat Notre Dame twice and Fairfield Prep is big for this team. Overall, I am very happy with the win and to be able to sweep a team like them. We have not done that in five or six years.”
The victory for West Haven did not come without its share of anxious moments for the Westies. Leading by 10 points with 3 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Westies watched as Cory Bidon’s 3-pointer capped a 10-2 Green Knight run to cut the West Haven lead to 44-42 with 6:20 remaining in regulation.
Two straight Alex Ford baskets and another by Kadialy Toure sparked a 6-0 run which brought West Haven’s lead to 50-42. After Bidon got Notre Dame within 52-48 with 1:40 remaining, Ford’s basket and free throw with 41.5 seconds to go gave West Haven what looked to be a safe 55-48 lead.
Inexperience for West Haven took over. Instead of pulling the ball out and forcing Notre Dame to foul, the Westies chose to penetrate and turned the ball over on two occasions. The Green Knights hit 4-of-7 free throws in the final 2 minutes to cut the deficit to 56-52 with 14 seconds remaining.
Bidon, who had a big night for the Green Knights with 20 points, missed the first of three free throws or Notre Dame would have been within one possession of tying the game. Joe Bongiorni hit a basket and sank a free throw with 4 seconds to go, but Philips hit 1-of-2 free throws then ran out the clock with a tenth of a second remaining to seal the victory.
“Our inexperience sums it up,” Bosley said. “The inexperience was creeping up on us. I am still learning how to handle the inexperience. We tried to pull it out at the end. We are going to work on clock management.”
West Haven used its speed to counter the size advantage of the Green Knights from the start. A pair of 3-pointers by Bidon in the first quarter gave Notre Dame a 9-5 lead before the Westies closed the quarter on a 9-2 run.
Ford scored the first 7 points in the run with two baskets and a 3-pointer before Philips’ basket with 32 seconds remaining in the opening quarter gave the Westies a 14-9 lead. Bidon and Tieron Jackson matched 3-pointers in the second quarter for a 19-17 Westie lead.
The Westies pulled off the regular season sweep against cross-town rival Notre Dame. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Tahj Eaddy capped the 6-0 run with another 3-pointer and a basket by Philips had West Haven ahead 26-25, Bongiorni followed with a 3-pointer giving Notre Dame its last leads of the night at 28-26.
Philips, who had 6 points in the second quarter, evened the game at 8 and Ahmad Ward and Jackson matched baskets to send the game to the half tied at 30.
“We practiced it (fast break) all week long,” Philips said. “We wanted to run the fast breaks and get points off it. I wanted to use my speed so no one (Notre Dame’s Tom Doyle) could get by me.”
Jackson’s points in the final 2 seconds of the second quarter started a 10-0 West Haven run and gave the Westies a 38-30 lead.
“This is really big for us,” Philips said after finishing with 13 points. “This is another step towards the state tournament. We are taking it game by game. We are going to try our best to make the tournament.”
Bidon led all scorers with 20 points for Notre Dame. Bongiorni and Javon Grey each finished with 9 points for the Green Knights.
Ford led the Westies with 14 points. Philips added 13 and Jackson had 12 in the victory for the Westies.
Neither team shot well from the free throw line. Notre Dame hit on just 12-of-26 shots (46%) while West Haven hit on 6-of-14 (43%).
Westies fall short of tournament with loss to Career
By MIKE MADERA
The season has come to a crushing end for the West Haven boys basketball team. Trying to overcome a 1-5 start to the season to qualify for the postseason, the Westies ran out of gas down the stretch.
Needing two wins in their final six games, the Westies closed the season just as they began with one victory in those six contests. West Haven’s last shot at qualifying for the tournament came Monday night in New Haven against Career, the No. 3 team in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll.
While the Westies played considerably better than the first time the two teams met earlier in the season, the end result was the same. Career used an 8-point edge in the first quarter and carried that advantage throughout the game in beating West Haven 57-51.
The Westies failed to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in coach Harry Bosley’s 11-year reign, finishing at 7-13
“I am disappointed,” Bosley said in not qualifying for the postseason. “I had youth that I never had before on any team. We were starting freshmen and we did not have that experience. We had seniors that had not played before. But, we fought hard.
“I am really proud of this team. I wish we had gotten it earlier. We gave some games away due to inexperience. We needed that experience to win some of the close games.”
After losing to Amity Friday night in a heartbreaker in the final seconds, the West Haven season came down to beating Career. The Panthers were coming off big wins against Lyman Hall and Hillhouse and West Haven hoped for a letdown.
While Career (19-1) struggled at times, the Westies were not able to overcome a slow start in which they scored only 10 first quarter points. Career led 38-32 at the half and 48-41 after three quarters of play.
“The last time we played them they beat us by thirty-something (37) points,” Bosley said. “They were playing at home on Senior Night. We brought some emotion. We really turned it around. This team deserved to be in it.
“We had two freshmen on the court in Ervin (Philips) and Tahj (Eaddy). The seniors we had in Deshawn Moncrease, and Alex Ford played hard. They went out like winners.”
The Westies knew defense was going to be the key in the final 8 minutes and West Haven did what it had to do, holding the Panthers to just 9 points. Unfortunately for the Westies, they never got going on the offensive side.
“We did not have that experienced guy that said I have this,” Bosley said. “We did not have that guy to take care of the inexperienced guys. We had no go-to guy which made it tough. I have always had a go-to guy.”
As has been the case all year, West Haven was hurt at the free throw line. The Westies got to the line just 7 times and made only 2 of those shots.
“We did not have an inside game,” Bosley said. “We were small and we were not the best free throw shooting team. We did not get there a lot.
“But, there are all positives. To take this team where we are now from where we were and miss by one game, I can not be that disappointed. I hope these kids do what they are supposed to do in the off season. If they do, the future looks bright for this team.”
Deshawn Moncrease and Tahj Eaddy (three 3-pointers) led three Westies in double figures as each scored 13 points. Alex Ford scored 10 points, Ervin Philips added 8 and Tieron Jackson rounded out the scoring with 7.
Career also had three players in double figures. Kevin Hoff led all scorers with 18 points, Kenny Armstead had 14 and Brandyn Benson added 12.