Congratulations to Kial Watts on being selected to the Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac First Team.

Party Crashers
SHA thumps Westies, 59-26, on Senior Night
Westie Blue
(February 16, 2015) -
 It was more than just another game for two of the girls on the West Haven basketball team. It was the final game of their high school careers. 
Kial Watts and Amanda Martino closed out their final season Monday night with a loss to Sacred Heart, 59-26.

Kial Watts against Sacred Heart Academy, February 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I enjoyed my time playing basketball with this great group of girls,” said Watts.  “I think playing basketball in high school was good for me because it really helped me build a lot of character.”
Watts and Martino led a very young team this year which was loaded with mostly sophomores and a few freshmen. 

Amanda Martino against Sacred Heart Academy, February 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I  took the leadership role of the team very seriously,” said Watts.  “I wanted to leave a good mark on my teammates.”
West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty said that both seniors helped keep this team very close knit throughout the year.
“They are wonderful kids and they both had such great relationships with all the girls on the team,” said Moriarty.  “They worked hard to try and win and always instilled that in the team with their work ethic.”
The Blue Devils were loaded with energy in the first quarter, matching the Pacers basket for basket, with the quarter ending 8-7 in favor of Sacred Heart. 
In the second quarter, the Westies opened up the scoring and grabbed their first lead of the game.  Unfortunately, it would be their only lead. 
The Pacers started opening up the scoring in the back half of the second quarter, going into the half leading the Blue Devils 23-14.
Sacred Heart had scoring help from up and down the bench.  Four players scored eight points or more, led by Jenna D’Agostino who had a game-high of 12 points.
In the first seven minutes of the third quarter, the Pacers went off on an 18-0 run.  Then, going into the final quarter up 41-17, the Pacers closed the door on the Blue Devils’ season, ending the game 59-26.
“We started to play really well as the season went on,” said Moriarty.  “Our offense really got going at the end of the season, and we had been playing good defense all year so we just needed the offense to get going.”
West Haven finishes the season with a 2-18 record, but with only two seniors leaving the Westies will have a core group of players returning next year, including sophomores Kaitlynn Cooke, who led the Blue Devils with 6 points, and Jaymesha Sanders, who grabbed 16 rebounds in the game.

Westies beat Lauralton
Strong 4th quarter key to win
Westie Blue
(February 13, 2015) 
- West Haven girls basketball coach Jessica Moriarty has been looking for improvements from her team. Moriarty just may have gotten this Friday evening. 
Using a strong fourth quarter in which the Westies outscored Lauralton Hall 16-10, the Westies defeated the Crusaders 39-34 at West Haven High. The victory, which helped West Haven improve to 2-17,  avenged an earlier season defeat to the Crusaders in which the Westies scored only 20 points in a 53-20 thumping. 

Marianna Kalander, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies picked up their second win of the season, Friday, February 13, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Watts continued her steady play as the senior scored 13 points, 12 coming on four 3-pointers. Amanda Martino scored 8 points, Jaymesha Sanders added 6 and Kaitlynn Cooke and Lauren Lewis each scored 5. 
The contest was a low-scoring affair from the start as West Haven led just 8-6 after one quarter and 17-12 at the half. With the West Haven defense getting the job done, it looked as if win number two on the season would come in easy fashion. 
That was not the case as the Crusaders flipped the script in the third quarter, outscoring West Haven 12-6 to take a 24-23 lead after three quarters of play. 
West Haven struggled from the free throw line, connecting on just 47% (9 of 19) of its shots. 
Emily Spahn led Lauralton with 16 points. 

Westies fall to Hamden
Green Dragons too much in win over WH
Westie Blue
(February 10, 2015) -
 The West Haven girls’ basketball team has been trending up as of its last few games, but the Westies hit a bump in the road playing the Hamden Green Dragons Tuesday evening.  Scoring was not a problem for the Blue Devils, but they struggled defensively in a 58-43 loss.
“We have been playing a lot better in the past few games, especially offensively,” said West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty after her team fell to 1-17.  “We just didn’t play that well defensively no matter what we tried.”
Hamden pressured the Blue Devils with a full-court on and off throughout the game which created a lot of easy transition buckets.  The Green Dragons were able to score all night long, led by Lauren Singleton who had a game-high of 18 points. 
“We came off of a week with three games in three days which allowed us to work on our zone and man offense, because every team we played had a different style,” said Hamden head coach Alan Stekloff.  “Even though it wasn’t practice, it really was because we worked on our game.  I think that helped us play at a higher tempo this game.”
West Haven worked the ball inside to Jaymesha Sanders in the first half, and then got some long range scoring from Kial Watts in the back half of the game.  Sanders finished with 13 points and Watts led the team with her 14.
Even though the Blue Devils trailed all game, they never gave up and kept climbing back up the scoreboard just when it looked like Hamden might run away with the contest. 
At the end of the first quarter, Hamden led 13-6, but in the second quarter, the Blue Devils rallied and narrowed the Green Dragons lead to 19-14 a few minutes in.
Hamden came out of halftime with a 27-21 advantage and quickly built on that lead.  The Green Dragons started to get scoring from all over the roster and ended the third quarter up 46-28.
“We reverted back to our old ways defensively tonight,” said Moriarty.
The Blue Devils next game comes at home Friday night at 7 p.m against Lauralton Hall.

Law defeats Westies
Second quarter hurts WH in loss
Westie Blue
(February 7, 2015) -
 Kial and Madison Watts did their best to try and get the Westies back on the winning track. Combining to drain three 3-pointers and score 28 points, their efforts were not enough. 
Behind 22 points from Laura Dulin and 15 more from Amanda Leone, Law used a strong second quarter to defeat West Haven, 53-39, sending the Westies to their third straight loss at West Haven High Saturday evening. 

Destinee Francis, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell against Jonathan Law, February 7, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Law finished the game with three players in double figures, but the most telling statistic came in the second quarter as the Westies were held to just two points and watched as a close game turned into a 26-14 deficit. 
After the two teams were even at 12 after one quarter of play, Law turned up the intensity to go on a 14-2 run in the second quarter. 
The second quarter would prove to be the dagger for the Westies as the two teams were evenly matched in the final 16 minutes, with Law holding just a two-point advantage.
Kial Watts led West Haven with 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Madison Watts scored 13 points and also added one 3-pointer. Jaymesha Sanders added four points in the loss as West Haven fell to 1-16 on the season. 
The Westies struggled from the free throw line, connecting on just 42% (5 of 12) of their free throws. Law got to the free trow line 21 times, connecting on 16 (76%)

Have Mercy
Tigers pound Westies, 79-17
Westie Blue
(February 6, 2015) -
 The West Haven girls basketball team knew it was in a tough stretch of games. What the Westies could not have known was how much tougher Mercy would be playing the second time around.
Held without a point in the second quarter and scoring just one point in the fourth quarter, West Haven was no match for the Tigers, falling 79-17 in Middletown.

Jaymesha Sanders. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
While the Tigers came out strong offensively, their defense was equally impressive. Mercy held West Haven to just five points in the first half and 12 more in the second half. The Tigers led 19-5 after one quarter, 45-4 at the half, and never looked back.
The bulk of West Haven’s point came from the outside as West Haven hit four 3-pointers, three by Kial Watts. Watts finished the game with a team-leading 11 points, while Kaitlynn Cooke hit a 3-pointer and Jaymesha Sanders scored two points.
Mercy had 10 players in the scoring column, including two in double figures. Maura Fitzpatrick led the way with a game-high 17 points and Destine Perry scored 11 points.
The Tigers improved to 16-1, while West Haven fell to 1-15. 

House Rules
Academics beat Westies, 58-48
Westie Blue
(February 4, 2015) -
 Fresh off its first victory of the season against Foran, the Westies were looking to make it two straight victories when they played host to Hillhouse Wednesday evening. 
Unfortunately for West Haven, Hillhouse was too much in a 58-48 win over the Westies at West Haven High.
Despite solid efforts from Madison Watts (12 points) and Kial Watts (11 points), the Westies did not have enough to come back from a sluggish third quarter. 

Madison Watts, seen here against Foran, led West Haven with 12 points against Hillhouse, February 4, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Leading 32-25 at the half, West Haven (1-14) never got in gear in the second half, scoring just 16 points. The dagger came in the third quarter when Hillhouse held the Westies to 7 points, scored 21 of its own, and took a 46-39 lead it never relinquished. 
The Academics outscored West Haven 33-16 in the second half to turn a 7-point deficit into a 10-point victory. 
The story of the game for West Haven came at the free throw line. The Westies had 27 attempts, but converted just 52% (14 of 27). Hillhouse was not much better, hitting on just 11 of 30 shots (37 %) from the charity stripe. 
Marianna Kalander scored 9 points, Jaymesha Sanders added 6 and Lauren Lewis chipped in 4 in the loss. 
Cayla Staggers and Allegra Jones were too much for the Westies as Staggers led all scorers with 21 points and Jones added 16, including three 3-pointers, for the Academics. 

Westies defeat Foran for first win of season
Westie Blue
(January 31, 2015) -
 It may have taken a couple of extra days, but the West Haven girls basketball team is finally in the win column. Playing a game rescheduled four days after its original date, West Haven defeated Foran, 37-35, to pick up its first win of the year. 
Marianna Kalander was the hero in the initial victory of the year for the Westies as she calmly drained  a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to give the Westies the lead for good. 
"Our win was a complete win," West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. "Kial (Watts) has been our catalyst all year for scoring and her shot wasn't on like it normally is. She stepped up in other areas to bring success and other girls stepped up immensely. Our defense has been solid all year. Scoring is where we struggle. Our defense was great and the girls played very composed during the last two minutes of the game."  
After dropping its first 13 games to open the season, West Haven rode the scoring of Kial Watts and Amanda Martino to cling to the victory. Both Watts and Martino finished in double figures with Watts scoring 11 points and Martino adding 10.

Coach Jessica Moriarty and the Westies defeated Foran, January 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The game did not start off in the fashion the Westies would have liked as West Haven (1-13) scored just two points in the opening quarter and trailed 10-2 after eight minutes of play. 
One quarter later, the Westies were back in the game. A 14-7 run brought West Haven within one point, 17-16, at the half. When West Haven held a 10-9 advantage in the third quarter, the two teams were tied at 26 entering the final quarter. 

Amanda Martino against Foran, January 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line as West Haven was just 10 of 17 (59%) and Foran was just 8 of 14 (57%). 
"Girls stepped up in various ways to win the game," Moriarty said. "Marianna (Kalander) showed unbelievable composure and maturity , knocking down two huge free throws to put us up with four seconds left. Madison Watts plays bigger than she is and does all the little things. Starters and girls off the bench really stepped up and played how we expect them to on a regular basis. I am very proud of how they played together and didn't panic, which shows growth."
Jaymesha Sanders added 6 points and Kalander had 4 in the West Haven win. Lindsay Broderick led Foran with 11 points.

Kaitlynn Cooke against Foran, January 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.

Westies fall to Titans
Streak reaches 13 to open season
Westie Blue
(January 30, 2015) - 
Through 8 minutes of play, West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty had to be pleased with her team's effort. It was the final 24 minutes which hurt the Westies. 
Scoring just 17 points in the final three quarters and being outscored by 35 points in that same time frame, the West Haven girls basketball team fell to Sheehan , 57-30, in Wallingford Friday evening. 
The Westies did not have a player in double figures and were led by Kial Watts with 9 points on three 3-pointers. 
The Westies jumped out of the gates quickly, holding the Titans to just five points and taking an 8-point lead after one quarter of play. All that hard work went for naught in the second quarter as Sheehan used its inside presence to hurt the Westies. The Titans had four players in double figures, including Joelle MarkAnthony and Kaitlin Lagase with 13 points apiece. Lexi Ocasio and Cassie Strickland each scored 10 points for the Titans. 
Sheehan turned the game around before the half, going on a 16-4 run to take a 21-17 lead at the half. 
The Westies never scored double digits in any quarter other than the first and chased the entire contest. The Titans went on another big run in the third quarter, outscoring the Westies 22-5 to open up a 43-22 lead. 
Jaymesha Sanders added 8 points and Kaitlynn Cooke had 7 points for the Westies. 

Rams nip Westies
WH falls to 0-12 with 44-38 loss to Cheshire
Westie Blue
(January 23, 2015) -
 The West Haven girls basketball is getting closer to that elusive first victory of the season. Unfortunately for the Westies, Friday was not the night. 
Battling back from a 13-point deficit, West Haven fell just sort in a 44-38 defeat at 
Cheshire. With the loss, West Haven fell to 0-12 on the year. 

Amanda Martino (11), seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Cheshire, January 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kial Watts led West Haven with 14 points, Amanda Carr had 7 points and Marianaa Kalander and Jaymesha Sanders each scored five points in the loss. 
West Haven saw the game slip away in the second quarter. After trailing by just two points after one quarter, West Haven went cold in the second quarter, scoring just six points and being outscored by 11 points. 
The Rams led 27-14 at the half and West Haven never recovered. Despite battling and outscoring Cheshire 24-17 in the second half, West Haven could not make up a 40-27 deficit after three quarters of play. 
Jill Howard led Cheshire with 9 points in the loss. 

Getting Closer
Sacred Heart slips past Westies
Westie Blue
(January 20, 2015) -
 The West Haven girls basketball team continues to search for its first victory of the season. Tuesday night in Hamden may have been a step in the right direction. 
Overcoming a slow start, West Haven battled, but fell to Sacred Heart Academy 60-48 at Sacred Heart. The loss dropped the Westies to 0-11 on the season. 
Kial Watts led West Haven with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Kaitlynn Cooke scored 7 points, Marianna Kalander had 6 points and Jaymesha Sanders and Madison Watts each scored 5 points in the loss. 
The Pacers, who were led by Ali Narracci with 15 points, held West Haven to nine points in the opening quarter, taking a 7-point lead. The Westies scored only seven points in the second quarter and trailed 26-16 after 16 minutes of play. 
The second half was a battle throughout as two points separated the two teams, with the Pacers holding a 34-32 advantage. 
Unfortunately for West Haven, the tough effort in the second half was not enough as he Pacers held on for the win. 

Crusaders thump Westies
No offense in 53-20 defeat
Westie Blue
(January 16, 2015) -
 The West Haven girls basketball team continues to search for its first win of the season. Scoring just 23 points, West Haven fell at Lauralton Hall Friday evening, 53-20. 
The Westies hurt themselves with 27 turnovers in the game. West Haven fell to 0-10 with the loss. 
Kial Watts led West Haven with 6 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Jaymesha Sanders and Kaitlynn Cooke each scored four points. Watts added 3 rebounds and Madison Watts had 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. 

Westies fall to Hamden
Late rally falls short in 62-45 loss
Westie Blue
WEST HAVEN (January 12, 2015) -
 Despite having won just one game enteringMonday evening’s contest at West Haven, Hamden coach Alan Stekloff felt there were positive signs from his young and inexperienced team. Junior Jessica Davis and senior Lauren Singleton reminded Stekloff of just that.
Behind 23 points from Davis and 19 more from Singleton, Hamden jumped out to an early lead and defeated West Haven 62-45 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division contest at West Haven High.
“We have two kids who have any varsity experience from last year,” Stekloff said of Davis and Singleton. “We are learning how to win together. This is probably the most complete game we have played all year.”
Hamden, which improved to 2-7 with the victory, had a 20-point lead in the third quarter, only to see West Haven get within 10 points on a bucket by Madison Watts with less than three minutes remaining in the game. The Green Dragons never wavered and closed the game on an 11-4 run to pull away for the win.
“We held our composure,” Stekloff said. “We got off to a slow start and they cut the lead to ten in the fourth quarter. We played together. We are a young and inexperienced team. We showed we can handle adversity. We buckled down.”
For West Haven, its problems in the contest started early as the Westies could not hit from in close or at the free throw line. The Westies hit on just 10 of 18 (56%) free throws in the game and missed numerous shots from in close.
West Haven had three separate opportunities in the fourth quarter to get within single digits, but missed layups would prove costly.

Madison Watts against Hamden, January 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We missed easy shots and easy opportunities,” West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said after her team fell to 0-9. “We turned the ball over way too much. We were just careless.”
A 3-pointer by West Haven’s Kial Watts got West Haven within 49-39 with 3:38 remaining, but a basket by Tahjai Mazyck and another by Davis in the final two minutes along with a Davis free throw increased Hamden’s lead to 58-43.
“We did not give up,” Moriarty said. “We played hard. Scoring just 13 points in the first half hurt us. We played better in the second half, but that (26-13) is a tough score to come back from when we are struggling to score.”
Singleton got Hamden going in the game as she drained a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored eight of her team’s 13 points to take a 13-7 lead. The Green Dragons outscored West Haven 13-6 in the second quarter as West Haven could not hold on to the ball, missed layups and did not hit on its open looks.

Lauren Lewis (15) against Hamden, January 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Davis scored five points in the quarter, including a bucket to put Hamden on top by a score of 19-13. The basket by Davis started a run of nine straight points to end the first half for the Green Dragons.
“We want to get better in every minute of every game,” Stekloff said.
Singleton made sure Hamden was on its way to its second win of the year, scoring eight of her team’s 17 points in the third quarter.
“We want to keep pushing it,” Singleton said. “This is pretty big for us. We are going to keep pushing and keep going.”

Amanda Martino gets instruction from coach Jessica Moriarty against Hamden, January 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lauren Lewis led West Haven with 10 points, Amanda Martino added nine and Kaitlynn Cooke scored eight in the loss for the Westies.
Sophomore Katie Esposito scored 7 points and freshman Sophia Flanders scored six points in the win for Hamden.

Amanda Carr with a 3-pointer against Amity, December 12, 2014. Double click to view full screen.

Jaymesha Sanders scores against Hamden, January 12, 2015. Double click to view full screen. 

No Mercy
Tigers thump Westies, 70-25
Westie Blue
(January 9, 2015) -
 West Haven suffered its eighth loss of the season, this one to the hands of the state’s best team, the Mercy Tigers, by a score of 70-25. 
Mercy is a tough matchup for any school with its big size up and down the roster, and the Tigers have Maura Fitzpatrick, one of the state’s best players.
“Fitzpatrick played great tonight,” said Mercy head coach Tim Kohs.  “When she is shooting well, we become really hard to guard.”
Fitzpatrick had 22 points in the game, with only three points in the second half.  This is the third straight game the Tigers put up at least 70 points.
“We have been playing really good,” said Kohs. “We are a tough matchup for many teams because we have so many good athletic players.”
The Blue Devils struggled to come up with good scoring chances against this athletic and tall defense.  Kial Watts led the scoring for the Westies with 18 points off of five three-pointers and three free throws. 
West Haven did look to generate more scoring chances in this game then in its last contest against Shelton.
“The intensity was definitely higher this game,” said West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty.  “We had a lot of good chances in the first half, but missed a lot of shots and layups we usually make.”
The Blue Devils trailed the entire game, and struggled to score off of the start with the full court press that the much taller Mercy defense was applying to the Westies’ back court, resulting in only two first quarter points. 
In the second quarter, Watts was able to get some open looks and knocked them down as she scored all 10 of the Blue Devils points in the quarter, which made the score 44-12 in favor of Mercy at the half.
“We knew going into this game that we were playing the top team in the state.  So we went into this game thinking any positive things we can do against this team, we can do against anybody,” said Moriarty.
The Blue Devils never gave up, constantly working hard on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, the Tigers were far too much and walked away with their eighth straight win to remain undefeated.  Top scorers behind Fitzpatrick were Destine Perry with 15 points and Haley Vanty with seven points.
In their next game, the Blue Devils will host the rival Green Dragons of Hamden at 7 p.m. Monday night at West Haven High.

Westies no match for Shelton
Road loss drops Westies to 0-7
Westie Blue
(January 6, 2015) -
 The Blue Devils girls basketball team suffered another loss Tuesday night, this one at the hands of the Gaelettes of Shelton by a score of 47-25. 
Aside from senior Kial Watts, who scored 14 points in the loss, the Westies’ offensive struggles continued.  Watts scored six of the team’s first seven points in the game with two three-pointers.
“I felt like I had a different attitude coming into this game,” said Watts.  “I really wanted to come out and put the ball in the basket.”

Despite 14 points from Kial Watts, seen here earlier in the season, the Westies fell to 0-7 with a loss to Shelton, January 6, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Blue Devils got off to a slow start in the game, turning the ball over on their first three possessions and quickly falling behind 8-0.  After a couple more easy baskets for the Gaelettes, the first quarter ended with the Blue Devils down 14-4. 
The Blue Devils have been looking for their first win of the year, and the main struggles of the team has been their scoring, which could be because of the team’s youth and inexperience.
“We have to start working as a team,” said West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty after her team fell to 0-7.  “We have to believe in one another.”
The Gaelettes got scoring from all over the floor. Sarah Skoronski had 14 points, Colleen Flood had 10 points, and Casey O’Connor and Nicole Roberts each had 7 points.
Shelton’s full court press also made getting the offense going difficult for the Blue Devils.  The press early on in the game caused plenty of turnovers in favor of Shelton and let the Gaelettes get some easy transition buckets.  By the half, the Gaelettes led 22-11.

West Haven girls basketball coach Jessica Moriarty, seen here earlier in the season, has seen her inexperienced team get off to a slow start to the season. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After the half, things did not get any better for West Haven. Shelton blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils 17-5, for a 39-16 lead.  Watts said this young team she is on just needs to keep working together.
“I think because we are all so young, we are just starting to come together as a team,” said Watts.  “We are just starting to find out what really works well for everybody.”
West Haven will be looking to play the role of David slaying Goliath this Friday night as the Westies take on the undefeated Mercy Tigers, who have beaten their opponents by an average of 44 points a game this season. 
That game will be a 7 p.m. start at West Haven High.

Slow start hurts Westies
Guilford defeats West Haven, 45-27
Westie Blue
(December 30, 2014) -
 Jessica Moriarty and her West Haven girls basketball team have gotten off to a slow start to the season. For the Westies to get that elusive first victory, they need to do all the little things. 
Part of that is free throw shooting. In a 45-27 loss to Guilford at West Haven High Tuesday evening, West Haven shot just 52% from the charity stripe, hitting on just 15 of 29 shots. 
The 14 missed free throws are relevant as the Westies lost the contest by 18 points to drop to 0-6 on the season. 
"We played very well defensively," Moriarty said. "We struggled to get anything going offensively or to put the ball in the basket. We limit teams and defend teams well, but we need individuals to find an identity when it comes to scoring. We rushed some free throws. With our struggles in scoring, we can't miss any easy opportunities for us to put points on the board like free throws and we did that tonight."

Marianna Kalander, seen here in an earlier contest this season against Hand, scored 7 points in a loss to Guilford, December 30, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
West Haven got off to a slow start in the game, scoring just seven points in the first half, including four in the first quarter and three in the second. By the time 16 minutes had passed, West Haven trailed 21-7. 
Whatever Moriarty said at the half seemed to work as West Haven scored more points in the third quarter than in the entire first half, cutting the deficit to 27-15. West Haven never got any closer as Guilford scored 18 fourth quarter points to hod off the Westies. 
Kial Watts and Marianna Kalander led West Haven with 7 points apiece. Jaymesha Sanders added 5 points in the loss. 
Camryn Craig led Guilford with 8 points, while Izzy Nerney added 7 points for the Indians. 

Westies fall to Indians
Losing streak reaches five to open season
Westie Blue
(December 22, 2014) -
 The West Haven girls basketball continues to look for its first victory of the season. Looking for that elusive win, the Westies looked as if they were on the right track through three quarters. 
The last quarter would be the one which hurt as the Westies were outscored by 13 points, falling to North Haven 48-35 at North Haven High Monday evening. With the loss, West Haven fell to 0-5 on the season. 

Amanda Martino, seen here earlier in the season against Hand, led West Haven with 12 points in a loss to North Haven, December 22, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We played very hard and very well tonight for three quarters," West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. "We still need to learn how to finish and win a game. We got outplayed in the fourth and that's where our lack of experience showed. However, the girls played extremely hard and showed great improvements tonight."
The Westies finally got off to a solid start, holding the Indians to just 7 points in the opening quarter and leading by four points. The Indians fought back in the second quarter to take a 21-20 lead at the half, before the Westies again battled back. 
Behind the play of Kial Watts and Amanda Martino, West Haven evened the game at 31 after three quarters. With the excitement of being in the contest in the final eight minutes, the Westies could not capitalize. 
West Haven was held to just four points in the fourth quarter and was outscored by 13 points. 

Kial Watts, seen here against Hand earlier in the season, scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, in a loss to North Haven, December 22, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies also managed to get to the free throw line just four times in the game, connecting on two. 
Martino led West Haven with 12 points, while Kial Watts had 11 points, including three 3-pointers. 
Nina Poloukhine led North Haven with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Jill Johnson had 13 points. 
West Haven is now off until December 30 when the team will host Guilford at 7 p.m.

Offensive Woes
Westies struggle in 65-35 loss to Lyman Hall
Westie Blue
(December 19, 2014) -
 Prior to the 2014-2015 season, West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty stated she liked her team. Moriarty's biggest concern was the team's offense. 
Through four games this season, Moriarty's concerns have come true. 
Averaging just 30 points per game, the Westies have gotten off to an 0-4 start. The latest loss came in Wallingford Friday evening as the Westies scored just 10 points in the second half and fell to the Trojans of Lyman Hall, 65-35. 
"Lyman Hall dictated how we played," Moriarty said. "We played tentatively on offense. We can't score nine (10) points in the second half and expect a positive outcome. Our youth is evident in our games, but we are not playing to our potential as individuals and as a group."
The Westies battled in the first half and hung around for 16 minutes. West Haven trailed just 19-13 after one quarter and by nine points, 34-25 at the half. The second half, however, was a different story. 
West Haven's offense was nowhere to be found as the Westies scored just 5 points in each of the final two quarters and were outscored 31-10 in the process to end any hopes of West Haven picking up its first victory of the year. 
Kial Watts led West Haven with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Madison Watts and Amanda Carr each scored 6 points, with Watts also adding a pair of 3-pointers. Jaymesha Sanders and Destinee Francis each scored three points. 
West Haven shot just 36% from the free throw line, going 9 for 25. 
Lyman Hall was led by Sabrina Smith's 25 points, along with 16 from Kim Petit and 15 from Emma Sears. Smith had 6 3-pointers,including five in the first half. 

Tigers thump Westies
Hand sends West Haven to 0-3 start
Westie Blue
(December 16, 2014) WEST HAVEN - 
The Blue Devils will have to wait at least one more game to get their first win of the season after falling to the Daniel Hand Tigers 67-28 Tuesday night at West Haven High School.  The Tigers offense kept racking up their total points on the season coming in with close to 70 points in this game after dropping 92 points on Wilbur Cross last Friday.
“I think there is a good chance this is the best team I have had in my time here, and it’s fun,” said Hand head coach Tim Tredwell.  “We have girls who can shoot, bigs inside that can post up or drive the net. It can be anyone doing it on any given night.”

Amanda Carr and the Westies came up short against Hand, December 16, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven came out of the gate fast, scoring the first five points of the game, and at the end of the first quarter only trailed the Tigers 14-7.  After the Westies’ Marianna Kalander put up two quick points to start the second quarter, the Tigers answered back with two scores of their own and really took off from there.  Hand led at the half 31-17.
“Hand is just a very, very well-rounded team,” said West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty after her team fell to 0-3. “We wanted to come into this game and stretch their posts out to get them away from the boards, and I thought we did a good job of that in the first half.”
The young West Haven team had a hard time keeping up with the very long senior-led offense of Hand. The Tigers were led by seniors Geena Catalano with 10 points, most of them coming from close to the basket, and Corinne Ouelette, who had 12 points, all coming from beyond the three-point arc. The Tigers dominated the glass against the Blue Devils all game and capitalized on a lot of second-chance opportunities.
“We have four big seniors on this team,” said Tredwell.  “We can put two or three out there at a time and they are all capable of driving to the net or shooting the ball.”
In the second half, the Tigers continued to get high percentage looks down low, while also making four three-pointers and putting up 24 points in the third quarter to give them a lead of 55-24.
The Blue Devils scoring struggles continued in this game. West Haven was led by Kial Watts, who had six points, and Kaitlynn Cooke and Kalander, who each had five.
“We are a young team so we got tired in the second half,” said Moriarty. “We started to just hoist up shots instead of moving the ball. But, we did have some positives in this game and we will take those over into the next day.”
The Blue Devils will look to put their first tally in the win column on Friday night against Lyman Hall.  The game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Lyman Hall gymnasium.

Spartans pound Westies 
Scoring issues hurt Westies in loss to Amity 
Westie Blue
(December 12, 2014) -
 If Amity coach Michelle Shoop seemed a bit concerned entering Amity’s opening-night contest against West Haven, she had plenty of reason. Graduating most of the team’s varsity minutes from last season, Shoop and the Spartans were about to see how the young group responded under the bright lights.
Aside from some opening jitters throughout the first quarter, the Spartans responded in fine fashion. Behind a tremendous defensive effort, the Spartans defeated West Haven 36-13 at Amity High Friday evening.
“This is a new group,” Shoop said after her team improved to 1-0. “They are young. You could tell by the jitters early on. We missed some open shots. We made some mistakes. But, as always, on any Amity team, defense feeds the offense. We did a good job with that.”

Amanda Martino (r.) looks to set up the West Haven offense against Amity, December 12, 2014.  
The Spartans showed they will be a scrappy bunch, diving for loose balls, pulling down the majority of the rebounds and winning plenty of battles underneath. The Spartans also displayed solid passing as the game progressed.
“I was happy with the way we passed the ball,” Shoop said. “We hit the open player. Some shots did not fall, but those shots will fall later in the season. I liked our defense and communication with both our man and zone.”
Elise Graham returns with the most varsity experience and the junior showed her leadership throughout the game. Graham finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 6 of which were on the offensive side, and four steals. 
While Amity showed plenty of reasons to be optimistic in the opener, West Haven fell for the second straight time to open the season.
Scoring 40 points in a loss to North Haven in the opener gave coach Jessica Moriarty reason to be optimistic about an offense which struggled last season. Those struggles returned as West Haven hit just three shots from the field in the contest, both coming in the second half.
The Westies managed just a free throw by Marianna Kalander in the opening quarter and four free throws in the second quarter, three by Kalander. The first West Haven points other than from the free throw line came with 5 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Madison Watts drained a three-pointer to get West Haven within 28-8.
“You are not going to score 13 points and win games,” Moriarty said after her team fell to 0-2. “Our defense looked good. We gave up only 36 points. We are good defensively. Offensively, we are lost right now. We are not going to win if we can’t score.”
The two teams struggled to score early in the game before senior Sarah Kilian scored Amity’s first points of the season 2:38 into the contest. Both teams struggled to score, before junior Molly Dragan increased the lead to 4-0 with 3:29 left in the opening quarter.
West Haven finally got on the board with a free throw by Kalandar with 1:57 remaining in the quarter to get within 5-1, but Amity pulled away for good with 7 points in the final minute, including a three-pointer by Graham for a 14-1 lead.
"West Haven played us tough,” Shoop said. “They have a couple of good, solid players. Our defense helped us. We never played in a game together. We are getting varsity minutes. It was good to work on things.”
The Spartans took a 26-5 lead in the second quarter with a 12-4 run, including the first eight points of the quarter. A bucket by Graham and another by Dragan following a West Haven turnover put the Spartans up 17 points. Kate Helfenbein increased the lead to 24-2 with 2:43 left in the half and the Spartans were clicking.
“We are making silly mistakes,” Moriarty said. “We have to stop the turnovers and the mistakes. Our youth showed tonight.”
Kalander led West Haven with four points, while Madison Watts and Amanda Carr each had three, both on three-pointers.
Dragan had six points for Amity, and senior Kaitlin Thomas added five in the win for Amity. Helfenbein was also big on the boards with 10 rebounds. 

Westies fall to North Haven in opener
Indians too much in 60-44 win
Westie Blue
(December 10, 2014) - 
Coming off a dreadful season in which the Westies posted just two victories, the West Haven girls basketball team definitely wanted to get off to a good start in the 2014 campaign. That start will have to wait another game.
Unable to stop the scoring of Jillian Johnson, West Haven fell to North Haven 60-44 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday evening at West Haven High.
Johnson, who West Haven contained last season, broke out to a solid start to the season with 28 points, including nine clutch free throws for the Indians.
"We did not come out strong," West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. "We played timid and were not strong with the ball. North Haven completely outworked and outplayed us. They dominated us on the boards and inside. They were diving after every loose ball and we were not.They ripped the ball out of our hands and they played much more aggressive. This is not how we typically play or have been playing."

Despite 11 points and 4 assists from Kial Watts (3), West Haven falls to North Haven in the season opener, December 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies, who struggled at times last season to score, had no such trouble early on with 10 points in the opening quarter, but trailed 13-10 after the first eight minutes. West Haven, whose trademark this year will be tough defense and possession, struggled in the opener as the team turned the ball over 18 times in the game. The Westies were also beaten on the boards where North Haven held a 42-32 advantage in rebounds.
"Our defense is our strong point and it was not there tonight, giving up 60 points," Moriarty said. "We need to regroup, let this game go and come out with much more intensity and aggressiveness on Friday."
North Haven took control of the game in the second quarter, turning a one-possession game into a 12-point lead as the Indians held the Westies to just 8 points and took a 30-18 lead at the half. West Haven got within 10 points in the third quarter, but the Indians scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Kial Watts led West Haven with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, 4 assists and 2 rebounds. Marianna Kalander also played well with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks, while Madison Watts had 7 points and 6 rebounds.
"Madison Watts played a very complete, strong game for us and we need her to continue that type of play," Moriarty said.

Madison Watts (35) played well, but the Westies fell to North Haven in the season opener, December 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Senior Amanda Martino added 6 points and 5 assists, Amanda Carr had 6 points and 6 rebounds, Jaymesha Sanders chipped in 8 rebounds and Destinee Francis had 6 points and 2 rebounds.
The Westies shot 16 for 65 from the floor, while North Haven was 19 of 66. West Haven also improved its free throw shooting from last year, shooting 75% (9 of 12).

Westies look to Rebound 
Work ethic key to 2014-2015 campaign
Westie Blue
(December 6, 2014) -
 Head coach Jessica Moriarty and the West Haven girls basketball team know there is plenty of work to be done to improve on a 2-18 season from one year ago. If the opening weeks of the season are any indication, the Westies are on the right track. 
With hard work the staple so far, Moriarty and her team are optimistic about the upcoming season. 
"The girls' work ethic has been incredible in a short period of time," Moriarty said. "The girls are hungry for a successful season and have been working extremely hard every day. The intensity at practice has been high every day and the girls push each other to get better at every practice. We are more aggressive on the offensive end and our defense and rebounding looks very strong."
Leading the way for the 2014-2015 team will be senior co-captains and guards Kial Watts and Amanda Martino. On a guard-oriented team, both Watts and Martino will be counted on to lead the way. 

Amanda Martino will play a key role for the 2014-2015 girls basketball team. File photo courtesy of Mike Madera.
"Kial and Amanda have really embraced the leadership roll on and off the court," Moriarty said. "They have both really set the tone this season for how hard the girls need to work and what expectations are. Both are extremely hard workers and tough competitors. With such a young team, they are great leaders and examples for the younger girls."
Watts was a key player last year with 137 points, 32 assists, 70 rebounds, 13 steals and 18 three-pointers. Martino finished with 64 points, 54 assists, 23 rebounds and 18 steals on a team which struggled to score. 
Moriarty also has other key players returning this season in junior guard/forward Madison Watts and sophomore center Marianna Kalander. Kalander is a key player as she will need to pick up the slack left by the graduated Ava Gambardella, who led the Westies last year  with 184 points and 130 rebounds. 

Kial Watts will be counted on to score for the Westies this season. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Kial has really stepped up as the leader of this team," Moriarty said. "She is our primary scorer and has gone above and beyond to better herself as a basketball player. Last year was Amanda's break through season, being the point guard and director on the court. She has improved her skills and become more confident. Our success will be dependent on her leading us on the court. 
"Madison has developed her game immensely. She has great court vision and does all the little things. She makes big plays and smart decisions whenever she is on the court. Marianna played behind Ava Gambardella last year and was able to learn and develop her skills. We are dependent on her this year to rebound the ball and become a scoring threat inside for us. Mariana is a talented player who rebounds extremely well and has one of the best shots and touch on our team. As the season goes on, she will become more comfortable and confident because she is going to play a big role for us this year."
Moriarty also has other players who will impact the team. Sophomore guards Lauren Lewis and Kaitlynn Cooke will look to build off their freshmen experiences, while junior forward Amanda Carr will also contribute to the success of the team. 
"Lauren is one of the best athletes in West Haven," Moriarty said of Lewis. "She is an extremely hard worker and is a game-changing type of player. She will make every hustle play or get the big defensive stop or steal when needed. Kaitlynn is a great shooter and will be a threat from the outside for us. She has developed her game where shooting is not her only threat and continues to work to get better every day. 
"Amanda is new to the program this year, but is already developed and has a head for the game as if she's playing at this level for some time. Amanda has the skills and ability to become a great player for West Haven."

Lauren Lewis (10) gets instruction from head coach Jessica Moriarty. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
On a guard-oriented team, Martino will be the point guard, Madison Watts and Kial Watts will be on the wings and Amanda Carr and Kalander will be on the inside. Sophomores Jaymesha Sanders, Destinee Francis, Lewis and Cooke will provide much-needed depth. 
"Our main goal every year is to make the state and SCC tournaments with eight wins," Moriarty said. "This team is extremely different this year and has been working hard every single day. We want to compete in every game and win as many games as possible this year. After every game, we want to be known as the team that gave its all and always played hard.
"We need strong point guard play and good inside presence. We need multiple people to score and not rely on one person to put the ball in the basket. Our defense is our strong point, but you need to be able to score to win games. We need to be more confident individually as scorers. Kial is a threat from anywhere on the court and can put the ball in the basket. We need others to step up and look to score and finish inside as well."
With a tough division schedule every year, the Westies will get another test as Lauralton Hall has joined the league. Along with Mercy and Career, the Crusaders provide another challenge for teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference. 
"The SCC is one of the best leagues in the state of Connecticut," Moriarty said. "The powerhouses in Mercy, Career and now Lauralton Hall will always be successful. But, this year, a lot of teams seem to be matched up fairly well and anyone can win on a given night."
West Haven opens the season at home Wednesday evening, December 10, against North Haven at 7 p.m.

Amanda Martino scores against Hamden, January 12, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

Marianna Kalander with a basket against Amity, December 12, 2014. Double click to view full screen.

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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