Westies fall to Bunnell
Plenty of positives in 59-49 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(December 18, 2019) - West Haven girls basketball coach Jessica Moriarty knows her team is young this season. She also knows the team is talented.
Suffering through some first game growing pains, the Westies fell just short, losing to Bunnell 59-49 in the season opener at West Haven High Wednesday evening.
"The girls played really hard in the second half,” Moriarty said. “We missed a ton of layups and gave up way too many offensive rebounds, allowing them (Bunnell) too many chances. We are a very young group and playing high school basketball is a transition, but we will make adjustments and be fine."
Freshmen Amani Abuhatab and Kassidy Carrano combined for 38 of the team’s 49 points, with Abuhatab leading the way with 25 points. Carrano finished with 13, including a 3-pointer.
The Westies struggled to get going in the contest with just six points in the opening quarter, four from Abuhatab and two from Sarah Evangelista.
West Haven was12-of-19 from the free throw line in the contest, and picked up the pace in the second quarter with 13 points. Abuhatab scored 11 of the points as the Westies were prepared for the second half.
Despite nine points from Carrano and six more from Abuhatab in the third, the Westies were still looking for the lead. The trio of Tenique Gates (6 points), Abuhatab (8 points), and Carrano (3 points) tried to rally the squad in the fourth quarter, but West Haven could not pull out the victory in the 10-point loss.
Westies top Lauralton
West Haven picks up first win of year
By MIKE MADERA
(December 20, 2019) - Despite losing in the season opener, West Haven girls basketball coach Jessica Moriarty was extremely optimistic about the season for her young but talented squad. The Westies did not need long to confirm Moriarty’s thinking.
Behind 22 points from freshman Amani Abuhatab, and 10 points from fellow freshman Dealyce Howard, West Haven rolled to a 53-40 victory over Lauralton Hall at West Haven High Friday evening.
“Tonight we played a very well-rounded game,” Moriarty said. “Every girl contributed in some format tonight. Our defense improved drastically in the second half and we were able to push the ball in transition more, which we weren't in the first half. We still have things to improve on. However, we took a great step forward tonight and got the first W.”
Senior Brianna Sebastian added eight points, while freshman Kassidy Carrano and sophomore Davina Mendez each had six points in the win for the Westies.
Trailing 26-22 at the half, West Haven took control of the contest in the third quarter, using a 17-3 run to take a 39-29 lead.
Abuhatab led the Westies in the third quarter run as she scored seven points, while Howard scored five points, including a 3-pointer, and Sebastian had a key 3-pointer in the quarter.
The Westies then turned to the free throw line, scoring eight of their 14 fourth quarter points from the charity stripe.
Westies thump Harding
12 different players score in 65-18 win
By MIKE MADERA
(December 21, 2019) - After losing its season opener, the West Haven girls basketball team has impressed. Defeating Harding in convincing fashion, 65-18, Saturday afternoon at West Haven High, the Westies improved to 2-1 on the year.
“We played a good game overall, with contributions from everyone,” Moriarty said. “I was happy to see us take care of business with no let downs. Sometimes in one-sided games, it's easy to lose focus, so we really worked on staying focused and working on things we needed to get better at.”
West Haven had 12 different players in the scoring column and were led by Jasmine Powell and Amani Abuhatab with 10 points apiece. Dealyce Howard and Caydence Hill each added seven points, while Elena Petrie and Davina Mendez each scored six points.
West Haven left no question on who would come out victorious, taking a 23-2 lead in the opening quarter. Petrie scored six points in the first quarter as eight different players recorded points in the eight minutes.
Harding never scored more than six points in any quarter, and trailed 44-8 at the half after a 21-6 West Haven run in the second quarter. Abuhatab had six points in the quarter for West Haven, while Kassidy Carrano and Hill each scored four points.
Three in a Row
12 different players score in 64-38 win over Amistad
By MIKE MADERA
(December 23, 2019) - Knowing there was a grueling start to the season with four games in a week, the West Haven girls basketball team was looking to see where it was at. Four games later, the Westies have three wins under their belt and have impressed head coach Jessica Moriarty.
West Haven’s latest victory came Monday afternoon when it defeated Amistad 64-38 at West Haven High to improve to 3-1 on the year.
“I am very proud of the girls and how they came out and attacked today,” Moriarty said. “Playing four games in a short period of time is not easy and they met the challenge. They committed to the defensive strategy and attacked offensively. We are playing well but there is always room to improve and get better.”
Freshman Amani Abuhatab continues to impress, leading the Westies with 19 points. Fellow freshman Dealyce Howard added 14 points, while Sarah Evangelista had nine points and sophomore Davina Mendez added six.
West Haven had 12 different players in the scoring column, but it was the team defense which stood out as the Westies held Amistad to 19 points in each half.
West Haven took a 19-9 lead in the first quarter behind 10 points from Abuhatab and five from Howard. The Westies increased the margin to 30-19 at the half as Howard had five points in the second quarter and Brianna Sebastian had three.
Abuhatab scored seven points and Evangelista added five in the third quarter as West Haven pulled away with a 21-8 run to take a 51-27 lead.
Westies top Rams
Abuhatab scores 20 in 49-43 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(January 3, 2020) - The West Haven girls basketball team improved to 4-1 on the year with a 49-43 victory over Cheshire Friday evening at West Haven High. After a season-opening loss to Bunnell, the Westies have rolled off four straight victories.
Freshman Amani Abuhatab led the Westies with 20 points, including 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Tenique Gates scored eight points, Sarah Evangelista scored seven, and Jayden Steinman added six in the victory.
The Westies, who drained just a pair of 3-pointers in the contest, trailed 11-7 after one quarter, before rallying to take a 21-18 lead at the half with a 14-7 run.
The Westies were just 1-of-4 from the charity stripe in the first quarter and hit just three field goals, two by Abuhatab and one by Evangelista. In a 14-7 second quarter run, Abuhatab scored eight points, including three field goals. Steinman also hit a pair of field goals in the quarter.Evangelista drained a 3 in the third quarter and had five points, while Abuhatab scored four points from the field. Gates helped close out the contest with six points in the fourth quarter.
North Haven tops Westies 57-43
By MIKE MADERA
(January 7, 2020) - The four-game win streak has come to an end for the West Haven girls basketball team. Unable to get in a groove, the Westies fell at North Haven 57-43 Tuesday evening.
The Westies were hurt at the free throw line where they connected on just 8-of-17 shots, and on the outside, where they did not drain a 3-point shot. With the loss, West Haven dropped to 4-2 on the year.
"You have to give credit where credit is due," West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. "North Haven came out extremely aggressive, full of energy and outplayed us in every aspect. We got out worked and our defense was not where it needed to be. We turned the ball over way too many times and were not mentally ready to go from the start. We competed but North Haven wanted it more. Our defense needs to get better."
Despite 10 points from freshman Amani Abuhatab in the opening quarter, the Westies trailed 14-13. Abuhatab continued her string of scoring in double figures in all six games with 26 points.
West Haven remained in the game in the second quarter with 10 points, four each from Abuhatab and Dealyce Howard, but trailed 26-23 at the break. The Indians pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Westies 16-8, and holding West Haven to just four field goals in the quarter.
Abuhatab added eight more points in the final eight minutes, but it was not enough in the road loss.
Howard finished with six points in the loss, while Tenique Gates and Elena Petrie each scored four.
SHA tops Westies
WH drops to 4-3 with second straight loss
By MIKE MADERA
(January 10, 2020) - First-year Sacred Heart Academy head coach Jason Kirck has a young squad. Youth does not matter when a team is poised.
For Kirck and his team, that poise came through down the stretch Friday evening as the Sharks held off a feisty West Haven squad in a 43-35 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory at West Haven High.
“We are a young team,” Kirck said. “They are buying into the culture we are setting for this program. They come to practice and they work hard. They prepare for the game. We work on a lot of skills in practice. We are a young team which believes in each other.”
With the victory, Sacred Heart Academy improved to 8-0 and already has its foot in the door for postseason play.
“It is so exciting,” Sacred Heart sophomore Rosa Rizzitelli said. “I knew we were going to get here from day one. We have a new coach and we are a family here. Last year, we did not win many games. Now we are 8-0 and in the states already. It is a really awesome feeling.”
Behind 12 points from Rizzitelli, including three 3-pointers, and 10 points apiece from senior Elena Farquharson and freshman Emma Kirck, the Sharks had a balanced attack which came through with clutch shots throughout the contest.
Farquharson led the key run in the game as she scored the last eight points of the third quarter to give Sacred Heart Academy a 37-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“This team is very resilient,” Jason Kirck said. “They are young, but they keep going after it. I thought we showed some poise to fight back like we did.”
West Haven held an 18-17 lead in the final seconds of the opening half, before Emma Kirck drained a 3-ponter to give Sacred Heart Academy the lead at the half.
After Ally Kirck put the Sharks in the third quarter, the Westies (4-3) took a 27-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Sarah Evangelista and a pair of buckets by Elena Petrie. When the Westies had the chance to expand the lead, rushed shots hurt them.
“That is just our youth,” West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. “We had poor shot selection. You have to be patient to have that success. There were a few times when I thought we forced things. We need to learn to keep our composure.”
Rizzitelli evened the game at 27, and after a bucket by West Haven’s Petrie tied the game at 29, Farquharson went on a run to give Sacred Heart Academy a lead it never relinquished.
“There is a great culture here,” Rizzitelli said. “We have a great coach and it is like a family here. We play hard. Practices are so much fun. We work hard and apply that in the game. All the plays we practice, we apply in the game. We have good chemistry and a new coach. It is so much different.”
The Sharks hit only one 3-poiter in the final quarter, that from Rizzitelli, while scoring the remaining points from the free throw line to seal the victory.
“West Haven plays hard,” Jason Kirck said. “They are a young team that plays with energy and fire. Jess (Moriarty) is doing a great job with that program. She has that program going in the right direction. They are going to be a tough team.”
The Westies took a 10-7 lead after one quarter of play as freshman Amani Abuhatab gave her team a 6-4 lead with a bucket and free throw. Petrie increased the margin to 10-5 with 15 seconds left in the quarter, but a key bucket by Gianna Pye got the Sharks within three as the quarter expired.
Rizzitelli opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, then hit another for a 13-10 lead for the Sharks with 5:40 remaining in the first half. Baskets by West Haven’s Dea Howard and Petrie, along with a pair of buckets from Abuhatab had West Haven on top 18-17.
“Our defense was good,” Moriarty said. “We were solid. We need everyone to contribute on the offensive side. We need others to step up.”
Abuhatab, who has scored in double digits in all seven of West Haven’s games, led the Westies with 13 points. Petrie finished with 10 and Evangelista had five in the loss.
Westies fall to Mercy
WH drops to 4-4 with third straight loss
By MIKE MADERA
(January 13, 2020) - The West Haven girls basketball team lost its third straight contest Monday evening, with a 52-41 defeat to Mercy at West Haven.
Amani Abuhatab led the Westies with 16 points. Kassidy Carrano had seven points, while Tenique Gates and Sarah Evangelista finished with five points.
West Haven trailed 15-11 in the first quarter despite four points from Abuhatab and three from Evangelista. Mercy pulled away with a 14-7 second quarter run for a 29-18 lead as the Westies connected on just a pair of field goals in the second quarter.
The Westies finally got going offensively in the third quarter with 13 points as six different players were in the scoring column, but West Haven could not get closer as each team scored 23 points in the second half.
Westies top Foran
Skid ends at three games
By MIKE MADERA
(January 15, 2020) - The West Haven girls basketball team end a three-game losing streak with a 36-32 victory over Foran Wednesday evening.
Read about the win from Bill Bloxsom of GameTimeCT below.
MILFORD — Elena Petrie is just one of the West Haven gang.
Petrie, a sophomore forward, stepped out of the shadows with a five-point scoring splurge midway through the fourth quarter when West Haven won a 36-32 SCC game with Foran at the Edna Fraser Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Blue Devils coach Jessica Moriarty’s nine-player rotation is dominated by underclassmen, with Petrie one of four players receiving extended time off the bench.
“Elena is just a tough kid,” Moriarty said. “We had looks and nothing was falling. They went to a box-and-one on Amani (Abuhatab) and did a good job locking her up. So Elena stepped up big. She is such a tough kid and used her strength to her advantage.
“She was able to go on a little run for us offensively and then did a good job on (Mia) Tunucci who is a real good player. She did a very good job on her. We needed someone to step up and Elena rose to the occasion.”
Petrie’s followed a left-handed shot in traffic from the block by muscling in a 5-footer on the baseline to put the Westies on top 32-25.
“We have been playing together for a very long time,” said Petrie of the group that banded together in youth and then AAU ball. “I think because we have such a good relationship with one another…It’s pretty easy to play together.”
While neither squad lit up the scoreboard from the free-throw line, the Blue Devil’s Brianna Sebastian rebounded her own miss with 4.1 seconds remaining. A senior guard, Sebastian knocked down another freebie to extend the lead to 36-32. That negated any opportunity for the Lions to extend things with a 3-pointer.
“That rebound was huge,” Moriarty said. “We missed a bunch, but Brianna came up huge.”
“We went toe-to-toe with them,” Foran coach Bob Asmussen said. “It was a physical game and our players matched up well. We were 4-for 11 on free throws in the fourth quarter and that was the difference.”
Foran’s captains — Tunucci, Bridget Collins and Lauren Heenan — bring experience to the court. The rest of the Lions are newbies learning on the run.
“I thought our bench provided us with a major spark. We got contributions from two of our freshman Zoe Fallon and Mary Rodrigues,” Asmussen said. “Both of these girls have improved every day in practice and got there first major minutes. Zoe is also a great defender. I’m very excited and look for more from both of them.”
Fallon made a pull-up jumper to start the second quarter and Rodrigues hit a 3-pointer after a Tunucci block/rebound down the other end
Courtney Musante had 6 points in the frame as Foran turned a 7-6 deficit into a 17-14 lead at the half.
The Lions had focused on slowing Abuhatab, the Westies’ freshman sensation who was coming off back-to-back solid games against Sacred Heart Academy (13 points) and Mercy (16 points).
“Courtney Musante did a great job holding her (Abuhatab0 to two field goals, Asmussen said. “We worked to deny her the ball and squeeze down on her after every touch.”
Held scoreless, and limited by three fouls in the first two quarters, Abuhatab made her presence felt first with a game-tying three-point play to open the second half and then a pretty basket in transition.
With Kassidy Carrano, Tenique Gates and Davina Mendez limiting the Lions to one shot, West Haven came back to toe the game at 24-all going into the final period.
Freshman guard Dealyce Howard snapped a 24-all tie after three with a 3-pointer from the corner off one of junior point guard Sarah Evangelista’s five assists.
Petrie followed with five straight WH points.
Foran climbed back within 32-31 on a pair of Abby Sanwald free throws and a one-touch pass from Tunucci to freshman Zie Fallon for a layup.
Jayden Steinman made an acrobatic drive to the rim for a three-point lead. The junior traded free throws with the Lions’ Musante in the final 23 seconds.
Sebastian’s miss — then make —decided the contest.
Westies run past Lauralton
WH picks up sixth win of year
By MIKE MADERA
(January 17, 2020) - The West Haven girls basketball team came back to win its second game in a row and improved to 6-4 on the year with a thorough 52-41 victory over Lauralton Hall in Milford Friday evening.
A balanced scoring attack saw Kassidy Carrano lead the way with 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Tenique Gates added 10 points, Amani Abuhatab had nine points and Brianna Sebastian and Jayden Steinman each scored six.Leading by one point, West Haven put the game away with a 21-14 run in the second quarter. West Haven never looked back, leading 40-28 after three quarters of play.
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