GIRLS BASKETBALL 2012-2013
End of the Road
Westies fall to Stamford in opening round of Class LL state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
STAMFORD (February 26, 2013) – West Haven head coach Jim Eagan was well aware of what his team needed to do if the Westies were going to upset tenth-seeded Stamford in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament. Control of the glass was the key.
That, however, was easier said than done. With the Black Knights getting second and third attempts to go along with poor shot selection by the Westies, the end result was a 55-43 Stamford victory over the 23rd-seeded Westies.
“We got the scouting report,” Eagan said. “We had to keep them off the glass. We did not keep them off the glass. Their second chance opportunities killed us.
“Their missed shots were their best play. They were like a pass. That was basically the ball game. We had 8 turnovers in the first half and 7 in the third quarter.”
That third quarter Eagan was referring to proved to be the difference in the game. Unable to control the boards and watching Kelsey Santagata getting numerous scoring opportunities, the Westies were outscored 22-6 in the first 8 minutes of the second half.
West Haven managed only 2 field goals in the third quarter, baskets by Ava Gambardella and Jayva Johnson, as Stamford ran off to a 17-2 start to the quarter.
The press of the Black Knights proved to be too much for the Westies as Santagata had 6 points in the quarter and freshman Maxine Fodiman and senior Ashyla Cody each had 5 points in the quarter.
“Turnovers and easy opportunities were basically the ball game,” Eagan said. “We did not shoot well at all. We wanted to get opportunities to score. We did that. The shots just did not fall tonight.”
West Haven turned things around in the fourth quarter but the 22-point deficit was too much to overcome. Jayva Johnson, who finished with 25 points in the game and 473 points on the season, scored 9 of her team’s 17 points in the final 8 minutes.
“I thought our offense moved nicely,” Eagan said. “We had nice opportunities. We just could not knock down the shots. We had the right people taking the shots. They just did not fall.”
Senior Katy Hoyt opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer before a basket by Gambardella and 4 straight points by Johnson led a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 52-37.
Johnson’s brilliant high school career would end with a basket and free throw to cut the deficit to 55-40 in the final minutes. Maggie Borer closed the scoring with a 3-pointer for West Haven.
“It is tough,” Johnson said after she finished with a 22.5 points per game average on the season. “They definitely beat us on the boards. We did not box out well enough.”
West Haven started the contest well as baskets by Johnson and Borer gave the Westies a 4-2 lead. Johnson and Borer were at it again to give the Westies a 10-6 lead beforeStamford closed the period on a 6-0 run.
Junior Brianna Gordon cut the deficit to 10-8 and after Santagata sank one free throw, Ansia Fortt sank a basket and free throw for a 12-10 Stamford lead.
The Black Knights began to pull away in the second quarter. West Haven’s offense consisted of 10 points from Johnson while Stamford had 4 players propel them to the lead.
After Johnson cut West Haven’s deficit to 18-15, Santagata hit an easy basket underneath and Tiana England followed with a pair of free throws. Johnson got West Haven within 24-20, but Fortt’s basket ended the first half with Stamford in front 26-20.
“It is bitter sweet,” Hoyt said of playing her last high school basketball game. “I think it was nerves and sloppiness. They took it to us and we did not match it.”
Santagata led Stamford with 21 points. Borer finished with 7 points, Hoyt added 5, Gambardella had 4 and Mykelle Coleman finished with 2 points in the loss for West Haven.
On a Roll
Westies cap season with 2 straight wins
By MIKE MADERA
(February 20, 2013) – With the team facing a 4-9 record, the West Haven girls’ basketball team was on the cusp of not playing in the postseason. The final 7 games of the regular season turned everything around.
Winning 5 of their last 7 games, including the last two games, West Haven finished the season with a 9-11 record and a berth in the postseason.
"From where we were at 4-9 to now is incredible," West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. "We finished winning 5 out of 7. We worked hard for it."
West Haven picked up its ninth win of the season Wednesday evening on the road atNorth Haven with a 50-32 victory. Jayva Johnson again was the star of the game, scoring 31 points, including 17 from the free throw line.
West Haven’s defensive effort was also superb as the Indians scored in double figures in just the third quarter. West Haven led by 6 after one quarter, by 7 at the half and by 11 after 3 quarters.
Behind 9 points from Johnson and a 3-pointer by Maggie Borer in the first quarter,West Haven took a 12-6 lead. Johnson and Borer were at it again, combining for all 9 second quarter points for the Westies and a 21-14 lead.
"Jayva had 16 points in the first half," Eagan said. "Katy (Hoyt) and Maggie (Borer) played well. It was nice to see."
Katy Hoyt and Borer drained 3-pointers and Johnson added 7 points for a 36-25 lead in the third quarter. West Haven iced the game in the final quarter as Johnson continued her torrid pace with 8 points and Mykelle Coleman, Hoyt and Borer each scored two points apiece.
The Westies were 21 of 29 from the free throw line in the game, while North Haven hit just 2 of 6. Gina Carbone had 8 points in the loss for the Indians.
Westies qualify for state tournament with win over Wilbur Cross
By MIKE MADERA
NEW HAVEN (February 15, 2013) – Not wanting to waste any time, the West Haven girls’ basketball team made sure its bid in the CIAC state tournament was secured. Scoring the first 16 points of the game and holding Wilbur Cross without a field goal until the final 15 seconds of the first quarter, West Haven defeated the Governors 54-37 Friday evening at Wilbur Cross.
The victory not only snapped West Haven’s mini two-game losing skid, but it allowed the Westies to qualify for the state tournament. At 8-11, the win would have also put the Westies in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, but due to last week’s blizzard and the change of schedule, only the top 8 teams will now play in the league tournament.
"At 4-9, we were in trouble," West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. "If we can win our last game, that would be five of our last seven with Mercy one of the teams in there. I will be very happy with that.
"There is a big difference between 8-12 and 9-11. You go down the line from the top team a little bit. We want to get that ninth win."
The Westies set the tone of the game early. Both Maggie Borer and Katy Hoyt came out firing with Hoyt draining a pair of 3-pointers and Borer scoring 7 points for a 16-0 lead in the opening quarter.
"Maggie (Borer) and Katy (Hoyt) were big for us," Eagan said. "The quick start was huge. I told the kids before the game this game scared me. I thought it was very important we got out to that lead. We put them away early.
"The game scared me because we went a week without touching a basketball. We were out of sync at practice and it got me a little nervous."
Hoyt got the offense going as she drained a 3-pointer from the left corner for a 3-0 lead. After Ava Gambardella hit 1of 2 free throws, Borer connected on a basket, was fouled, and hit the free throw for a quick 7-0 lead.
Borer, who scored 5 straight points, gave the Westies a 9-0 lead before Jayva Johnson scored her only points of the opening quarter for an 11-0 advantage.
Borer and Hoyt then finished the quarter they way they started it for the Westies, A basket by Borer increased the lead to 13-0 and Hoyt nailed another 3-pointer to increase the margin to 16-0.
The Governors made things interesting as they scored in the final 15 seconds of the opening quarter and started the second quarter with the first 4 points to cut West Haven’s lead to 16-6.
Johnson and Borer then restored order. A basket and free throw by Johnson extended the West Haven lead to 19-6 and Borer’s 3-pointer gave West Haven a 22-9 lead.
Johnson scored the next four points at the free throw line to extend the West Havenmargin to 26-10. The quarter would end with Gambardella hitting a shot underneath as the Westies went to the half with a 28-12 lead.
Borer continued her sharp shooting in the third quarter with 6 points and Kial Watts added 5. The Westies closed the scoring in the fourth quarter with 11 points, 7 coming from Johnson and 4 from Hoyt.
"Give the kids credit," Eagan said. "They never got down. We kept pumping them up saying we were going to make the tournament and they worked hard to make it."
Johnson led the Westies with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Borer added 16 points and 4 rebounds, while Hoyt had 10 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds.
Westies fall to Lyman Hall on Senior Night
By MIKE MADERA
(February 7, 2013) – With three games left in the regular season, the West Havengirls’ basketball team is well aware of what is at stake. Needing one win to qualify for the postseason, the Westies were hoping to do so at home on Senior Night.
For one half, the plan looked good. It was the final 16 minutes which were not so good.
Scoring just 10 points in the second half, including 2 in the fourth quarter, West Haven fell to Lyman Hall 48-35 on Senior Night at West Haven High Thursday evening.
The loss dropped the Westies to 7-11. With Friday’s game against North Haven postponed due to snow, the Westies will have to wait until Monday to try and qualify with a road game at Wilbur Cross. The Westies conclude the regular season Tuesday evening at North Haven.
“It is very disappointing,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “They are a good team, but I felt we could play with them. They had 10 or 11 wins, but we were on our home court.
“We had a 15-point lead and we didn’t know how to play with a 15-point lead. We let them get right back in the game.”
The Westies were in good shape seconds before the half with a 25-20 lead. But, with 5 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Lyman Hall hit one free throw then buried a 3-pointer off a missed free throw to cut the deficit to 25-24 at the half.
The four points allowed the Trojans to steal the momentum and Lyman Hall never looked back. The Trojans outscored West Haven 24-10 in the second half, with West Haven’s only 2 points in the fourth quarter coming from Katy Hoyt at the free throw line with less than a minute remaining in the game.
West Haven jumped out to a 13-0 first quarter lead as Jayva Johnson scored 9 points and Mykelle Coleman and Ava Gambardella each scored 2 points.
Maggie Borer helped lead the way in the second quarter. Borer connected from long distance and hit two field goals in the quarter. Borer’s 7 points along with 5 from Johnson, gave West Haven a 25-20 lead before Lyman Hall’s late run in the first half.
The Trojans took the lead for good in the third quarter. West Haven had only two players score in the quarter as Hoyt drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 2 points and Johnson finished with 5 points as West Haven trailed 35-33 entering the final quarter of the home season.
The final quarter was anything but one to remember as the Westies were held scoreless over the first 7 minutes and were outscored 10-0. Hoyt finally got the Westies on the scoreboard in the final minute before the Trojans drained a late3-pointer for the 48-35 final.
West Haven scored just 10 points in the final 16 minutes and turned the ball over 15 times in that time frame.
“It all starts in practice,” Eagan said. “I did not like our last two practices. We win some games and outscore Mercy in the second half and all of a sudden there is a lot of fooling around in practice. We have two days to get it straightened out.”
Johnson had a game-high 19 points and added 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals in the loss. Borer finished with 7 points and 3 rebounds and Hoyt added 5 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
“We play Monday and Tuesday and hope for the best in the tournament,” Eagan said. “10-10 would not have been a bad draw. Now, we have to work to get to 9-11.”
Taylor Mierzejewski and Krista Petersen each had 15 points for Lyman Hall, while Nicole Mierzejewski added 13.
Tigers thump Westies, 60-41
By MIKE MADERA
(February 5, 2013) – Having won three games in a row and inching closer to the state tournament, the West Haven girls’ basketball team was presented with one of its biggest challenges of the year.
That challenge was not met head on.
Scoring only 2 points in the first quarter and trailing by 30 points at the half, the Westies could not come back in a 60-41 defeat at West Haven High Tuesday evening. The loss dropped West Haven to 7-10 and kept the Westies one game away from qualifying from the postseason.
“The first half was one of the worst halves we have played all year,” West Havencoach Jim Eagan said. “We talked a little at the half. We came out a different team in the second half but you are not going to come back from 30 points against a team like Mercy.
“We were not ready to play in the first half. We played like scared rabbits. We had the deer in the headlight look.”
While the Tigers only had a pair of players in double figures, they had 9 players in the scoring column. Maria Weselyj led the way with 12 points, Maura Fitzpatrick had 10 and Liz Falcigno finished with 9 points for the Tigers.
Mercy came out firing on all cylinders in the decisive first quarter. The Tigers had 8 offensive rebounds which they turned into 16 points and led 24-2 after 8 minutes of play.
The Westies had only 2 rebounds in the first quarter and just 6 rebounds at the half.
“We talked about the importance of defending the initial shot,” Eagan said. “They would take the shot, we did not box out and they would get the put back.
“They had 8 offensive rebounds in the first quarter. Rebounding is all about intensity, hard work and drive. Everyone can rebound. You have to want to rebound.”
The Westies trailed by 22 points after one quarter and 41-11 at the half.
“We were a totally different team in the way we played in the second half,” Eagan said. “If we want to beat anybody, we can’t come out like we did.
“You have to play hard for 32 minutes, not 16 minutes. We practice 120 minutes every day to play 32 minutes. Tonight is the most disappointed I have been all year.”
West Haven outscored Mercy 30-19 in the second half but it was not nearly enough. The Westies got within 16 points, but Mercy would not allow for a comeback.
Jayva Johnson, who scored the only 2 points for West Haven in the opening quarter, led West Haven with 24 points. Johnson scored 14 of West Haven’s 19 points in the third quarter with Katy Hoyt draining a 3-pointer and Ava Gambardella adding the other 2 points.
Maggie Borer finished with 10 points, including 5 in the final quarter. Amanda Martino also added 2 points in the final quarter.
Johnson scores 36 points as Westies stun Amity, 60-54
By MIKE MADERA
WOODBRIDGE (January 30, 2013) – With five games remaining in the regular season, the task at hand for the West Haven girls’ basketball team was simple. Win two of the five and play in the postseason.
Senior Jayva Johnson is not about to leave without a postseason appearance. One night after scoring 31 points against Hamden, Johnson was even better, scoring 36 points in a 60-54 West Haven victory over Amity at Amity High Wednesday evening.
Johnson connected on 18 free throws, hit another 9 shots from the field and pulled down 7 rebounds. The senior helped West Haven to a 17-point first half lead with 19 points and never slowed down despite being the center of Amity’s attention.
“She is putting up numbers which are impressive in the NBA,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “We have been getting her the basketball. The kids understand she is our go-to girl. There are no egos on this team.”
Once staring at an improbable task to qualify for the postseason with 4 wins in their first 13 games, the Westies have rolled off 3 straight victories to improve to 7-9.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Westies closer to postseason with win over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
(January 29, 2013) – Fresh off scoring her 1,000th career point, Jayva Johnson had one milestone out of the way. The senior looked ready to accomplish another goal.
Scoring 31 points, Johnson led the Westies to a 54-43 victory over Hamden Tuesday evening at West Haven High. The win improved West Haven’s record to 6-9, leavingWest Haven 2 wins shy of the postseason with 5 games to play.
“It is a big win,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “6-9 sounds a lot better than 5-10. We have to get the two wins. It is right there for us. We have to want it. It is within reach.”
The Westies (6-9) decided the contest in the second quarter when they held Hamdento just 7 points and scored 19. Johnson, Katy Hoyt and Maggie Borer were behind the scoring in the quarter and the game.
Leading 12-11, Johnson, who scored 20 first half points, led the way in the second quarter as she scored 11 points, Hoyt and Borer each drained 3’s in the quarter as West Haven led 31-18 at the half.
“Jayva scored 31 points tonight,” Eagan said. “I don’t care what league you play in, that is a lot of points. The game is 32 minutes. She scored a point a minute. We made a slight change by putting her in the high post. Everything we wanted her to do, she did.”
The Westies increased the lead to 16 points in the third quarter. Johnson had 7 points in the quarter and Hoyt and Borer each drained 3’s for a 44-28 lead.
The Westies went up 18 points in the fourth quarter before emptying the bench.Hamden scored 7 straight points late to make the final a respectable 54-43.
“Katy Hoyt chipped in 13 points, Maggie Borer did what she had to do and Mykelle Coleman had 9 assists,” Eagan said. “That is a lot. She knows her role. We had 2 turnovers in the first half and 8 in the game. It is the kind of game we have been waiting a long time for.”
Johnson had a solid game all around. The senior added 8 rebounds and 4 blocks, while Mykelle Coleman had 9 assists. Hoyt had 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 3-pointers, while Kial Watts had 4 boards and Ava Gambardella had 3 rebounds.
Lauren Singleton led Hamden with 17 points.
Johnson scores 1,000th career point in victory
By MIKE MADERA
(January 24, 2013) – Needing 9 points to become the sixth player in the history of the West Haven girls’ basketball program to reach 1,000 points, Jayva Johnson wasted no time. The senior scored West Haven’s first 10 points of the game to reach the milestone and finished with 25 points to lead West Haven to a 42-36 victory over Jonathan Law Thursday evening in Milford.
"She scored the first 10 points and 12 out of 15," West Haven coach Jim Eagan said."It's great for the fact she has played only two postseason games. She has done it in a legit 4 years. Others, who play in the postseason, basically get 2 more years with all the games. It is remarkable she has done it with only two postseason games. She is a scorer. She finds a way."
Jayva Johnson is seen with coach Jim Eagan after Johnson became the sixth player in West Haven girls' basketball history to score 1,000 points. Photo courtesy of Terri-Mancinelli Borer.
The milestone was huge for Johnson but the road victory was even bigger for the Westies as West Haven improved to 5-9. The Westies need 3 victories in their final 6 games to qualify for the postseason.
"We have to play with some urgency," Eagan said. "We told the kids it was a must-win game. If we won, we would need 3 of our last 6. I think once they get one more, they will smell it (postseason)."
Johnson reached the milestone with 4 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Her basket gave West Haven a 10-7 lead and put her in select company in West Haven history.
Johnson scored all 6 of West Haven’s points in the first quarter then added 6 more in the second. Along with a 3-pointer by Katy Hoyt, Johnson helped West Haven to a halftime lead.
"We held them to 13 points at the half," Eagan said. "We held them to 27 points less than last time we played them. The key for us is playing good defense. We are not a high-powered offense.
"We had the lead the whole game. We had the luxury of not having to have to score every possession. We kept a comfortable lead the entire game. When you do that, you play with a lot less pressure."
Johnson and Hoyt were at it again in the third quarter, with Johnson connecting for 4 points and Hoyt draining a pair of 3’s. Maggie Borer also got in the mix in the quarter with a pair of 3-pointers as West Haven led after 3 quarters.
West Haven and Johnson closed the game in style. Johnson scored 9 of her team’s 11 points in the fourth quarter and Borer hit the other basket as West Haven prevailed.
Hoyt finished the game with 9 points and Borer rounded out the scoring with 8 points. Johnson also grabbed 4 rebounds and had 2 blocks, while Hoyt added 4 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in the win. Ava Gambardella had 5 rebounds and Mykelle Coleman pulled down 4 rebounds.
Out of Reach
Westies fall to SHA 48-43
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (January 22, 2013) – It was all there for the taking. With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, West Haven trailed Sacred Heart Academy by one point with possession of the ball.
The Westies never took over.
Going five straight possessions without a point, the Westies never caught the Pacers and dropped a 48-43 decision at West Haven High Tuesday evening.
The loss was a stinger for West Haven as the team dropped to 4-9, needing 4 wins in the final 7 games to qualify for the postseason. Sacred Heart improved to 9-5.
“We had four turnovers in the last quarter,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “They stick out a little more at the end. They hurt. But, we only had 15 turnovers in the game.
“We had a 3-point lead and we had some breakdowns on defense. I think our defense, all in all, caused them some problems, but we didn’t take advantage when we had opportunities.”
Trailing 35-34 to start the fourth quarter, the Westies took a 38-35 lead on baskets by Katy Hoyt and Jayva Johnson. Alexis Iannone quickly evened the game with a bucket and free throw.
Katy Hoyt (5) scored 7 points in a loss to Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After West Haven turned the ball over on its next possession, Sacred Heart answered with a 3-pointer by Sabrina Schiano for a 41-38 Pacer lead. A pair of free throws each by Ava Gambardella and Johnson gave the Westies their last lead of the night at 42-41 with 4:10 remaining.
Ava Gambardella drives to the basket against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Shyla Osmond put the Pacers on top on their next possession before the Westies went cold. Hoyt was called for a charge with 1:24 left and Johnson, with a chance to even the game, hit only 1 of 2 free throws to cut the West Haven deficit to 44-43 with 37.2 seconds remaining.
Osmond sealed West Haven’s fate at the free throw line, hitting her final 4 free throws in the last 33 seconds.
“Shyla (Osmond) was huge,” Sacred Heart coach Gail Cheney said. “To be in that spot and make those shots is huge.
“West Haven is definitely a good team. It was a good game. It came all the way down to the wire. We both missed a lot of key shots.”
Johnson, who finished with a game-high 24 points, was hot from the start as she scored 8 points in the first quarter for the Westies. Johnson’s effort was not enough as a late turnover led to a basket by Micaela Montini for a 14-11 Sacred Heart lead after one quarter.
Jayva Johnson lays in a basket against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jayva Johnson takes a shot before falling to the court against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Pacers increased the lead to 5 points, before a basket by Mykelle Coleman and a 3-pointer by Kial Watts evened the game at 18. Johnson put the Westies in front at the end of the first half with a free throw and basket, but Schiano’s 3-pointer off the bench with 52 seconds remaining in the first half sent the Pacers to the half up 25-23.
“Sabrina Schiano was big as she cane off the bench and drained two 3’s,” Cheney said. “That was big for us.”
Mykelle Coleman (15) hit some big shots early for West Haven against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing by 4 points, West Haven went on a 7-0 run in the third quarter to take a 32-29 lead. Johnson started the run with a basket and Hoyt ended it with a 3-pointer and two free throws.
“We held them to under 50 points but we made too many mistakes,” Eagan said. “We made mistakes at crucial times when we had chances to take the lead.
“They keyed on Jayva and we needed someone to step up. Unfortunately, it was not enough at the end. We have 7 games left and need 4 to get in.”
Hoyt had 7 points and 3 rebounds in the loss, while Gambardella had 4 assists. Iannone led Sacred Heart with 14 points, Osmond had 13 and Siobhan Fennell added 10 for the Pacers.
Mykelle Coleman dribbles up the court against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Maggie Borer (l. 12) drains a 3-pointeragainst Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mercy dumps Westies
Tigers use 10 different scorers in 73-32 win
By MIKE MADERA
(January 18, 2013) – With a week off since defeating Hamden for its fourth victory of the year, the West Haven girls’ basketball team had one week to prepare for Mercy. That week of preparation was not enough.
Scoring 27 points in the first quarter, including Maria Weselyj’s 1,000th career point, Mercy rolled to a 73-32 victory over West Haven.
"We lose by 40 points but I took some positives from the game," West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. "They were better in every aspect of the game. You can't have 5 for 22 shooting and expect to win. You are not going to be in the game.
"I was glad we had a week to prepare for them. We knew we had to break their press. We had 12 games of the press that did not bother us. They were just a better team. They are not a top five team for nothing."
The loss dropped the Westies to 4-8 and put extra importance on the final 8 games of the year as the Westies need 4 more victories to play in the postseason.
"We have eight games left and we need four," Eagan said. "It's that simple."
West Haven never got going on offense, scoring just 5 points in the first quarter, 4 by Jayva Johnson and 1 by Maggie Borer, and 9 more in the second quarter. Johnson had 7 in the quarter and Kial Watts the other 2 as the West Haven offense never seemed to be in sync..
The Westies trailed 43-14 at the break and never got close again. Mercy increased the margin to 60-21 before playing out the final 8 minutes of the contest.
Johnson scored 24 of the team’s 32 points, including 5 more in the third quarter and 8 in the fourth, while Maggie Borer added 4. Mykelle Coleman and Watts each scored 2 points in the loss.
"We put ourselves in this position," Eagan said. "We have to get ourselves out of it."
Jordyn Nappi led Mercy with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Weselyj added 15 points and Sheena Landy and Maura Fitzpatrick each scored 8 in the win for the Tigers.
Johnson leads Westies
Senior scores 24 points in victory
By MIKE MADERA
(January 11, 2013) – With the second half of the season under way, the West Havengirls’ basketball team knew the deal. Win five more games and a berth in the postseason awaited.
The Westies took the first step Friday evening after defeating Hamden 52-40 at Hamden High. Behind 24 points and 10 rebounds from Jayva Johnson and 12 points from Maggie Borer, West Haven improved to 4-7.
"I am happy because we won on the road in a league game," West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. "They have one dominant scorer in (Lauren) Singleton and she had the most points. We spent two days on the triangle and two, two in man, three in zone. It is designed to make others step up. We held them to 40 points, I can't be upset with that. The defense was great."
Hamden sharp shooter Lauren Singleton scored 21 points but the Westies held the rest of the team to just 19 points. West Haven’s defense was at its best in the second quarter, holding the Green Dragons to just 5 points.
Trailing by 3 points to start the quarter, West Haven doubled up the Green Dragons in the quarter. The second quarter belonged to Johnson as she scored 8 of the team’s 10 points.
"In the first half, we did not shoot well," Eagan said. "Maggie Borer got some open looks in the third and we were 10 for 11 from the foul line in the last quarter."
Johnson teamed with Borer in the third quarter to do most of the damage for the Westies. Borer connected on a pair of 3-pointers and had 8 points in the quarter and Johnson also drained a 3-pointer to finish with 5 points in the first 8 minutes after the half.
Katy Hoyt rounded out the scoring in the quarter as West Haven led 36-33 heading into the final quarter.
West Haven won the game at the free throw line. Not only did the Westies connect on 18 of 22 free throws in the game, they hit 10 of 11 in the final 8 minutes.
"We went out and played with intensity," Eagan said. "Jayva had a Jayva Johnson game. Mykelle Coleman ran the offense. It was a team effort.
"We have started the second season. We were 3-7 and we knew could be 5-5 or any other record. The bottom line is we can't do anything about 3-7 now. There is no room for error. We have a tougher second half with Mercy on the schedule twice. I challenged the girls."
The Westiies needed to hit just 3 field goals in the fourth quarter as the excellence at the free throw linewas the key down the stretch.
Johnson and Mykelle Coleman each scored 6 points in the fourth quarter as Coleman had her highest offensive output of the year with 7 points in the game.
The first quarter started quickly for both teams as Hamden took a 13-11 lead. KialWatts hit a 3-pointer, Johnson scored 5 points and Amanda Martino drained a bucket to go along with Coleman’s free throw.
Hoyt and Ava Gambardella did a nice job on the boards. Hoyt finished with 8 rebounds and Gambardella grabbed 6 in the win.
All-State players - Kelley Camp '75, '76; Sue Passander '79; Catrina Hawley '97, '98; Jayva Johnson '13
Retired Numbers - Kelley Camp (Class of 1977) #13; Catrina Hawley (Class of 1998) #41
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Jayva Johnson (23) connects under the basket against Sacred Heart Academy, January 22, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jayva Johnson became the 6th girls' basketball player in school history to score 1,000 points in her career.
Johnson accomplished this milestone January 24, 2013 in a victory over Jonathan Law.
Pictured with Johnson is her dad Keith (far l.), West Haven coach Jim Eagan, who presented Johnson with the game ball, and mom, Sharon. Photo courtesy of WHHS.
Running out of Time
Westies fall to Branford
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (January 8, 2013) – With half the season gone, time is running short for the West Haven girls’ basketball team. Needing five more wins to qualify for the state tournament, the Westies would like to get those victories sooner rather than later.
West Haven will have to wait three more days to attempt its next victory. Falling behind early and trailing by 7 points at halftime, the Westies rallied but fell short in a 44-42 loss to Branford at West Haven High Tuesday evening. The loss dropped West Haven to 3-7 with 10 games remaining to pick up five victories.
“We are running out of time,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “But, you can’t give up offensive rebounds and put backs, and you have to make your layups and foul shots. We did not do that.”
Eagan’s frustration came from the start of the third quarter as the Westies trailed by 7 points to start the second half and held Branford on its opening possession for nearly 1 minute, 30 seconds. After Branford (5-4) finally got a shot off which missed the mark, the Hornets got the offensive rebound and Amber Markovitz turned the rebound into a basket for a 28-19 lead
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Westies grounded by Pacers
Offensive woes hurt in loss
By MIKE MADERA
(January 4, 2013) - The shots were not falling early for the Sacred Heart Academybasketball team. While Pacers’ head coach Gail Strumpf Cheney felt the shots would eventually go down, she knew her team needed to step up its defense.
The Pacers responded in the middle two quarters, holding West Haven to just 9 total points in the second and third quarters, as Sacred Heart defeated the Westies 46-40 atSacred Heart Academy Friday evening.
“We had to step up our defense,” Cheney said. “They are a good team. We were not playing the way we do. The shots were not falling so we had to rely on our defense.”
With West Haven getting a balanced attack from Jayva Johnson, Katy Hoyt, Ava Gambardella and Kial Watts, the Westies took a 17-10 lead after one quarter. Johnson came out shooting and had 6 points in the opening quarter, while Hoyt and Gambardella each had 4 points in the first 8 minutes.
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Katy Hoyt dribbles against Foran's Rebekah DeRosa, January 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mara Lavitt, New Haven Register.
Jayva Johnson battles for a loose ball against Foran's Lucy Weissauer, January 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mara Lavitt, New Haven Register.
Jayva Johnson goes through the Foran defense, January 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mara Lavitt, New Haven Register.
West Haven's Jayva Johnson lays in a basket against Foran, January 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mara Lavitt, New Haven Register.
West Haven's Ava Gambardella battles for a loose ball with Foran's Rebekah DeRosa, January 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Mara Lavitt, New Haven Register.
Westies fall to Lions 34-33
By MIKE MADERA
(January 2, 2013) – If the West Haven girls’ basketball team is looking to play in the postseason, it is sure making things harder. Playing a solid defensive game and holding Foran to just 34 points, the Westies were unable to match the effort on the offensive side and fell to the Lions 34-33 at Foran High Wednesday evening.
In their first game back from the holiday break, the Westies committed 22 turnovers, including 9 in the first quarter as Foran scored the first 10 points of the game. By halftime, West Haven trailed by 9 points, 24-15, and had turned the ball over 14 times.
“It’s been our turnovers all year,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “All you want is the opportunity to score. We had nine turnovers in the first quarter. We had more turnovers than shots at one point.
“Our first five possessions were three turnovers and two missed layups. We were down 10-0 and we took only two shots. In the second half, we held them to 10 points. We could not have played better.”
The Westies outscored Foran 18-10 in the second half and had a chance to win but missed a jumper with 5 seconds to go and failed to inbound the ball in the final 2 seconds.
Jayva Johnson led the West Haven offense in the second half with 10 points, including 6 in the third quarter and 4 more in the fourth. West Haven held Foran’s Taylor Ceballos to just 6 points but that effort was not enough.
“We played tremendous on defense,” Eagan said. “On offense, we turned the ball over too much. That has been an ongoing problem and unless we solve it, it is not going to be a good year.”
West Haven failed to produce much on offense in the first half, scoring only 15 points in the first 16 minutes, including 6 points in the first quarter. Johnson scored 4 of West Haven’s 6 points in the opening quarter and added 5 more, including a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
With Johnson scoring 9 points, Katy Hoyt added 2 points and Ava Gambardella scored 4 points to round out the scoring. Maggie Borer and Hoyt each hit 3-pointers in a 10-point fourth quarter but, aside from Gambardella’s 2 points in the third quarter, West haven did not get any more scoring other than Johnson.
“Defense was not the problem,” Eagan said. “The offense was. We have to continue to play good defense until the offense catches up.”
Johnson finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 7 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Gambardella added 6 points and 9 rebounds, while Hoyt had 5 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds.
Kelly Quinn led Foran with 10 points, while Ceballos, Teneya McLaughlin and Rebekah DeRosa each scored 6.
Westies break Law
Johnson, Borer and Hoyt lead WH to victory
By MIKE MADERA
(December 20, 2012) – Following a loss to Amity two days earlier, West Haven coach Jim Eagan was not happy with the play of his team. The coach stated the team would work on its mistakes and be ready for the next game.
That next game was Thursday evening against Jonathan Law and the Westies proved the head coach to be correct. Using 29 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals from Jayva Johnson, 13 points from Maggie Borer and 12 more from Katy Hoyt, the Westies defeated Law 62-57 at West Haven High.
“We had an offensive explosion,” Eagan said. “The bottom line is we were taking too many 3’s. It is a fine line of don’t take it and taking it. We want to go inside first and kick it out We do not have to hit a 3.”
The balance of the West Haven offense was noticed from the start and the Westies would need every one of those points in the end.
West Haven jumped out to a quick double digit lead in the first quarter, holding Law to just 5 points. While the Westies were stellar on the defensive end, they were just as good on the offensive side.
Johnson started her big night with 10 points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer, while Ava Gambardella added 4 points and Hoyt 2.
“Jayva Johnson had a great game,” Eagan said. “We did a good job of getting in transition.”
Looking to extend the lead, West Haven failed to do so in the second quarter. Law got hot, scored 17 points, and trailed just 28-22 at the half. The second quarter offense for the Westies came from Johnson and Hoyt as each had 6 points, with Hoyt using a pair of 3-pointers.
Law remained close in the contest as the team combined for 10 3-pointers and hit on 7 of its 10 free throws in the contest.
Johnson and Borer took over the third quarter as West Haven built a 47-37 lead. Johnson drained a 3-pointer and finished with 8 points in the quarter and Borer knocked down two 3-pointers and finished with 7 points.
With Law battling back, West Haven turned to Johnson, Hoyt and Borer to seal the victory. Borer helped ice the game with four free throws and a basket, while Johnson scored 5 points and Hoyt added 4 points in the final 8 minutes.
“Three and four beats two and five,” Eagan said. “I thought it was real important to come away with a win with 12 days off. It was a huger win. I don’t know how the kids would have reacted losing three straight with 12 days off to think about it.”
Sam Murphy and Laura Dulin were in double digits for Law as Murphy scored 16 points and Dulin added 14, including three 3-pointers, in the loss. Danielle Nantel drained three 3-pointers and finished with 9 points.
West Haven went to the free throw line 26 times, connecting on 17.
Scoring woes hurt Westies in 41-30 loss to Amity
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 18, 2012) – After a sluggish first half, Amity coach Michelle Martinik had a blunt conversation with her team at the break. Reminding her team West Haven was winning the battles to the loose balls, Martinik wanted to see a change in the second half.
The Spartans responded. Winning the majority of loose balls and controlling the boards in the final 16 minutes, Amity outscored West Haven by 11 points in the second half and posted a 41-30 victory at West Haven High Tuesday evening.
With the victory, Amity improved to 3-1. West Haven lost its second straight contest and fell to 2-4.
“They were beating us to all of the balls,” Martinik said. “It does not take talent to hustle or to get on the ground to get a loose ball.
“I thought we picked up in the second half. We brought the intensity. Jayva Johnson is a great player and we knew we had to control her. I was proud of the way we played in the second half. It is a big difference when we picked up the intensity.”
With the game even at 19 at the half, Amity needed just 8 minutes to pull away with a 13-5 run. The Spartans used a pair of free throws by Chloe Brinton, two baskets by Kristin Post and another by Mikaila Schmitt to take a 27-19 lead.
The Spartans continually got the rebounds on both sides of the ball and held West Haven scoreless until 2 minutes, 42 seconds remained in the quarter. A basket by Kial Watts ended the run and got West Haven within 27-21.
“Offensively, we are a mess right now,” West Haven coach Jim Eagan said. “Nobody is playing well on offense. I thought the defense gave a great effort tonight. You hold the team to 41 points and I will take my chances on most nights.”
Amity extended the lead with a 5-0 run as Schmitt hit a basket and free throw and Elsie Graham hit another from the field for a 32-21 lead. The basket by Graham seemed to be the final shot to break the Westies as a struggling offense could not get on track.
“In the second half, we did not shoot well and we had too many turnovers,” Eagan said. “That is a recipe for disaster.”
A basket by Maggie Borer got the Westies within 8 after three quarters, but, after closing the deficit to 6 points, West Haven allowed consecutive baskets by Molly Ronan and Post to put Amity ahead 36-26.
Ronan’s bucket gave Amity its biggest lead of the game at 41-27 and the Wessties did not have the offense needed to come back.
West Haven started the game quickly, taking a 7-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Borer and two baskets by Jayva Johnson. Amity’s Brinton scored 5 points in the opening quarter and the Spartans closed within 11-10.
“The first thing we talked about (halftime) was how they outhustled us,” Brinton said after finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds. “We needed to pick it up in the second half.”
Kial Watts scored the first 7 West Haven points of the second quarter for an 18-12 lead but Amity closed the half on a 7-1 run to tie the game. Baskets by Kathleen Feng, Caroline McDonald and Rachel Bevolis evened the game at 18.
“I love playing with all of the team,” Brinton said. “I love this whole team. It is a big family. It is a really equal atmosphere. I just go out and have fun.”
Schmitt had 8 points and 9 rebounds and Post and Ronan each had 6 in the win for Amity. Ronan also had 7 rebounds in the win.
Watts led West Haven with 9 points, while also pulling down 5 rebounds. Johnson and Borer each scored 7 points and Johnson also grabbed 19 rebounds.
Indians too much for Westies
Strong second half propels North Haven
By MIKE MADERA
(December 16, 2012) – West Haven coach Jim Eagan has always been one to stress hard work. When it comes to rebounding, Eagan feels it is all about who wants the ball more.
After falling to North Haven Saturday afternoon, it was not the missed shots which bothered the West Haven coach. It was the battle of the boards which went to the Indians which had the coach upset.
Controlling the boards in the second half and holding West Haven to just 6 points in the third quarter and 20 in the second half, North Haven defeated the Westies 53-44 at West Haven High Saturday afternoon.
The loss, which dropped West Haven to 2-3, was none too pleasing for the West Havencoach.
“We did not rebound,” Eagan said. “Rebounding is not a skill. It is all about desire. In one quarter, we had 3 defensive rebounds. Their best offense was to take a shot, miss it and put up an offensive rebound. They got the rebounds from the first play. We will address that.
“They were not big at all. They wanted it more than we did. They played harder. You can miss shots. But, to get out rebounded is unacceptable.”
The two teams were evenly matched in the first half as the game was tied at 13 after one quarter and even at 24 at the half. North Haven won the game in the third quarter as the Indians held West Haven to just 6 points and took a 39-30 lead.
North Haven got the lead to as much as 11 points in the fourth quarter. When the Westies got the deficit down to 4 points, with a chance to get within a basket, a missed North Haven shot was followed by an offensive rebound and a basket by the Indians, ending any chance of a West Haven comeback.
“That was it right there,” Eagan said. “We are down 11 and we get it down to 4. They miss the shot and get the offensive rebound. We had a chance right there. That is unacceptable. We talked about rebounding from day one. Rebounding is about heart and desire. We did not have either today.”
The Westies got off to a good start and saw their offense spread out. Katy Hoyt had her best game of the year as she hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Hoyt was also perfect from the free throw line, hitting all six shots she took.
Jayva Johnson finished with 13 points, including 8 of 13 from the foul line and a 3-pointer. Johnson, however, fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Maggie Borer also shot well from the outside, connecting on three 3-pointers for 9 points and Ava Gambardella connected for 6 points.
Behind Borer, Johnson and Hoyt, the Westies tied North Haven at 13 in the first quarter. Borer hit a pair of 3’s, Hoyt hit a 3-pointer and Johnson finished the quarter with 4 points as the Westies showed the Indians an outside presence.
Johnson was the key in the second quarter as she scored 8 of the team’s 11 points. The third quarter was the key.
Hoyt’s 3-pointer was the only shot West Haven hit outside of the free throw line asWest Haven was held to just 6 points. Johnson, Gambardella and Mykelle Coleman each hit single free throws in the quarter as the Westies struggled from the field.
West Haven’s offense got back on track in the fourth quarter but it was too late. Hoyt drained a 3-pointer and hit 4 free throws, Gambardella had 4 points and Borer nailed a 3-pointer. In the end, the 11-point deficit was too much to overcome.
“We needed to be 3-2 after five games, not 2-3,” Eagan said. “To me, that is unacceptable.”
Brooklin Davis led all scorers in the game as she had 28 points for North Haven. Jill Johnson finished with 16 points and Gina Carbone added 7 in the win for the Indians.
Westies rally past Lions
Johnson, Gambardella, Borer leads WH to 54-51 win
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 13, 2012) – West Haven coach Jim Eagan knows his team is not an explosive one. If the Westies play as hard as they have so far early in the season, Eagan may not have to worry.
Thursday evening at West Haven High was no exception. Rallying from an 8-point third quarter deficit, the Westies held on to defeat Foran 54-51.
“I think this win is good for their confidence,” Eagan said. “The kids play hard. That is not an issue. As coaches, we have to worry about things such as turnovers and defense. I do not have to worry about if we are going to play hard.”
The West Haven offense worked together all night and had a balanced scoring attack from the start. With Jayva Johnson, Ava Gambardella and Maggie Borer finishing in double digits, the Lions could not just focus on Johnson.
That tone was set right from the start as Katy Hoyt and Borer each hit 3-pointers for a 6-0 lead. Johnson gave the Westies a 10-3 lead before Foran went on an 11-2 run.
Taylor Ceballos, Rebekah DeRosa and Dani Kemp were the keys in the run as Ceballos scored 5 points in the quarter and DeRosa and Kemp scored 4 and 3 points, respectively.
Kelly Quinn evened the game at 10 before DeRosa’s bucket with 1.1 seconds left in the opening quarter gave the Lions a 14-12 advantage.
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Hornets sting Westies
WH falls 55-41 to drop to 1-2
By MIKE MADERA
(December 11, 2012) – West Haven coach Jim Eagan was eagerly awaiting Tuesday evening’s contest against Branford. Having defeated Wilbur Cross for their first win of the year, the Westies were looking to get on a roll.
That roll will have to wait. Using a 35-18 run between the second and third quarters, the Hornets overcame a 5 point deficit and defeated the Westies 55-41 at Branford High. West Haven fell to 1-2, while the Hornets improved to 2-1.
“I am disappointed,” Eagan said. “Like I have said, a team is five players, not one. It is hard when a team relies on one kid. It is easy for other teams to stop. You stop the one player and you usually win.”
For West Haven, that one player to start the season has been senior Jayva Johnson. Scoring in double digits the first two games, Branford had someone on Johnson closely the whole game.
With Johnson under constant pressure, the Westies needed others to step up. While Katy Hoyt and Ava Gambardella were there to provide offense, the Westies did not get much scoring from anyone else. The end result was the 14 point loss.
“We need kids to step up,” Eagan said. “Katy Hoyt stepped up with 12 points in the first quarter. Ava Gambardella did well. But, we need others to step up as well.”
West Haven jumped out of the gates quickly and rode the play of Hoyt in the first quarter to take a 15-10 lead. Hoyt hit three 3-pointers in the quarter and finished with 12 points in the first 8 minutes to get the Westies going.
“We saw a zone offense for one possession,” Eagan said. “Katy Hoyt drains a 3 and that was the last time we saw a zone.”
Unfortunately for the Westies, Hoyt was the only hot hand in the quarter. The Hornets got going on offense in the second quarter as they went on a 21-11 run to take a 31-26 lead.
After scoring 2 points in the opening quarter, Ganbardella hit for 5 points in the second quarter and Johnson added 4. Unfortunately for West Haven, Branford got hot and sent West Haven to the half chasing a handful of points.
West Haven’s offensive struggles continued in the third quarter as the Westies could only manage 7 points. Johnson led the way with 4 points and Gambardella scored 2 more.
“We could not buy a shot,” Eagan said. “We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean. It was nice to see Katy Hoyt score 12 points in the first quarter.”
The problem for West Haven was Branford continued to add to the lead. By the time the quarter ended, West Haven trailed 45-33 and never caught up.
“The bright spot is our half court trap worked great,” Eagan said. “We got a ton of turnovers with the half court trap.”
The Westies also struggled at the free throw line. West Haven connected on just 10 of 20 free throws.
Amber Markovitz and Gabriella Melgar led the Hornets as Markovitz scored 13 points and Melgar added 12. Markovitz also added 9 rebounds and 4 steals, while Melgar had 6 assists.
Jenna Walsh also played well for Branford as she scored 9 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 3 assists and had 3 steals.
Westies defeat Governors
Balanced offense key to 59-22 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(December 7, 2012) – Concerned about his team’s offense following a season-opening loss against Lyman Hall, West Haven coach Jim Eagan eagerly awaited Friday evening’s contest against Wilbur Cross. Two days proved to make a world of difference.
With six players in the scoring column, including three in double digits, the Westies easily defeated Wilbur Cross 59-22 at West Haven High in the home opener for the Westies.
"Basically, we played a team we were better than," Eagan said. "We did what we had to do in the first half and wrapped the game up in the first half.
"We gave Jayva Johnson help. Katy Hoyt hit four 3's in the second quarter and Maggie Borer hit two 3's. As long as we have other people other than Jayva that teams have to worry about, that is what we need to do. Otherwise, teams will say if you stop Jayva, you will beat West Haven."
Jayva Johnson, who scored 23 points against Lyman Hall in the opener, had another stellar game for West Haven. Johnson finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds and 3 steals to lead an offense which also saw Katy Hoyt score 12 points and Maggie Borer add 10.
The trio of Johnson, Hoyt and Borer connected on eight 3-pointers as the Westies easily rolled to the victory.
"Everyone pitched in," Eagan said.
After struggling on offense just two days earlier, West Haven made sure that would not happen again. The Westies used 12 points by Johnson, a 3-pointer by Borer and a basket by Ava Gambardella to take a 17-3 lead after one quarter of play.
The second quarter was even better for West Haven as the Westies used a 25-2 run to blow the game open and take a 42-5 lead at the half. Hoyt was the story of the second quarter as she drained four 3-pointers.
Borer also added a 3-pointer and two free throws in the quarter, Kial Watts hit a 3-pointer and Johnson and Amanda Martino each hit baskets to extend the West Haven lead.
While the offense cruised in the first 16 minutes, the defense was equally impressive as it allowed just 5 points in 16 minutes of action.
"We talked about the first game and how you can learn more from a loss than a win," Eagan said. "We were a step slow on defense in the first game and that hurt us. When you give teams good looks at the basket, they will beat you. We were right on them (Cross)."
The Governors fought back and held West Haven to just 8 points in the third quarter but Johnson took over in the fourth quarter. The West Haven senior scored 8 of the team’s 9 points in the quarter as West Haven won by 37 points.
Gambardella played well on the night as she added 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Borer had 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal and Hoyt added 3 rebounds and 2 steals
Westies fall in opener
Johnson records triple-double
By MIKE MADERA
(December 5, 2012) - West Haven coach Jim Eagan knew before the season started his team would not be a scoring machine. If the Westies learned anything from Wednesday evening’s season opener, it may have been how correct Eagan was.
Struggling on the offensive side in the second half and scoring just 11 points in the final 16 minutes, West Haven fell to Lyman Hall 48-35 at Lyman Hall. The contest was the season opener for both teams and marked the first time Lyman Hall posted a victory in two years after going 0-20 last year.
“Aside from Mercy, we may not face another team which shoots like this all season,” Eagan said. “They were unbelievable. They hit nine 3’s.”
While the Trojans were lights out on the court, the real problem came when West Haven had the ball. The Westies turned the ball over 28 times in the game and were not much better when they got to the free throw line.
Aside from Jayva Johnson, who was 13 of 16 from the foul line, the rest of the team combined to go 1 for 7. The inability to score off a free shot and the numerous tunrnovers were an easy reason to see why the Westies opened the year 0-1.
“There was no press and we had 28 turnovers,” Eagan said. “It is a 32 minute game, so you figure each team has the ball for 16 minutes. We had 28 turnovers in 16 minutes. It does not matter what else you do, you are not going to win turning the ball over 28 times.
“I can give the kids a million shooting and defensive drills. Not one of those drills will make you a better decision maker. We have to make better decisions.”
Johnson was the lone bright spot for the Westies as she opened the season with a triple-double. The West Haven senior finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals and 6 blocks.
“Jayva Johnson played like an All-State player tonight,” Eagan said. “She was big on the floor. She was 13 of 16 from the foul line. If you do that in the pros, it is great. She will take about 200 foul shots this year.”
Lyman Hall jumped out of the gates quickly and put ths Westies on their heels to start the game. The Trojans scored 17 points in the first quarter alone and took a 17-10 lead.
Johnson started out strong for the Westies, scoring 7 of her points in the opening quarter. Maggie Borer showed her outside presence with a 3-pointer as the Westies were in comeback mode early.
West Haven used its defense in the second quarter, holding the Trojans to just 7 points. Using a balanced attack in the quarter, which saw Johnson score 8 points, Katy Hoyt hit a 3-pointer, Ava Gambardella nail a shot from the field and Kial Watts sink 1 of 2 free throws, the Westies evened the game at 24 at halftime.
“We are a work in progress,” Eagan said. “Maybe it was first game jitters. We will see Friday night.”
The second half was a different story on the offensive side for the Westies. While West Haven held Lyman Hall to 10 points in the third quarter, the Westies could only manage a 3-pointer by Borer and 3 points by Johnson as Lyman Hall took a 34-30 lead to the fourth quarter.
Johnson was the only offense in the fourth quarter as the Trojans used a 14-1 run to put the game away. Johnson scored all 5 points in the quarter for West Haven.
“Some of the passes we should have made were not made,” Eagan said. “Passes we normally make in practice were not made in the game. Jayva is one of the top five players in the SCC. We need to give her some support.”
Taylor Mierzejewski led Lyman Hall with 20 points. Hayley Hergott added 9 points and Nicole Mierzejewski had 8 points. Lyman Hall attempted just 3 free throws in the game, hitting 2.
Borer finished with 6 points and Hoyt added 3 in the loss.
Johnson, Hoyt and Coleman lead the 2012-2013 Westies
By MIKE MADERA
Just one season ago, West Haven girls’ basketball coach Jim Eagan felt his team had a chance to be special. Eagan was right as the Westies posted a 16-4 regular season record, qualified for both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments, before being eliminated by Manchester in the second round of the state tournament.
Fast forward to this season and Eagan has the same goals. Despite losing all-everything player in McKenzie Farquharson and guard Rae Mattaway to graduation and Savannah Brown to other interests, Eagan feels this team as well can play in the postseason.
For that to happen, hard work and consistency will be the keys. Eagan is not worried about this team’s work ethic.
“I have liked their attitude and their work ethic,” Eagan said. “They are hard working kids. They are committed. They just accept everything we give them. They are a very unselfish and hard-working group. I enjoy working with them.”
With Farquharson applying her trade at Endicott College, the focus now shines on senior tri-captain Jayva Johnson. Johnson, a forward, got plenty of open looks with opposing teams focusing on Farquharson last season.
As Johnson emerged, opponents keyed on her as well. Until others step forward, the focus of opposing teams this season will be Johnson.
“Last year, so many teams were focused on McKenzie,” Eagan said. “Every team we play this year, their prime objective will be to stop Jayva. We have to surround her with players to free up Jayva.
“Katy Hoyt and Maggie Borer can hit the 3’s. Those three kids can hurt you. But, we know teams are saying to stop West Haven, you have to stop Jayva Johnson. We need key contributions from every player. We have the players to do it.”
Johnson will be joined by seniors Katy Hoyt and Mykelle Coleman as captains for the 2012-2013 season. Hoyt will be a shooting guard who can bury 3-pointers from anywhere on the court, while Coleman will run the offense at the point guard position.
“I think the key for us will be leadership by example,” Eagan said. “I like to see the younger kids watching Jayva, an All-League player, and have Jayva show how hard she works in practice. I want the young kids to see how Katy accepts what we say without question and I want the three captains to be what the younger kids look up to.”
If the Westies are to have a solid season, everyone will need to contribute. Junior center Ava Gambardella and junior guard Maggie Borer will be counted on heavily by Eagan and the team. Gambardella will need to get the points inside while Borer will have to show her versatility from anywhere on the court as a shooting guard.
Two sophomores will also play an important role. Kial Watts will provide offense from the shooting guard position and Amanda Martino will see time at point guard.
“Our goals every year are to make the state tournament,” Eagan said. “We want to be competitive within the league. Right now, you would say it is Mercy, Sacred Heart,Hamden and us. Mercy is head and shoulders above everyone. We can be competitive within the league. We want to make the state tournament, first and foremost.
“We have to play defense. We are probably the smallest team I have had in years. Defense has to be there. We have to hold teams in the mid 40’s. We do not have an explosive offensive so we need to dig in on defense. We are not going to win a lot of games in the 50’s. We need to get the ball up the court and get a lot of easy baskets."
West Haven opens the season, Wednesday, December 5 at Lyman Hall at 7 p.m.