Westies rally past Shelton
Abuhatab scores 19 in 45-43 win
By MIKE MADERA
(March 2, 2021) - The West Haven girls basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 45-43 victory over Shelton Wednesday evening at West Haven High. The Westies trailed by eight points at the half, before rallying in the final eight minutes to snap their skid.
West Haven held the Lady Gaels to just 20 second half points, including 11 in the final eight minutes. The Westies outscored Shelton 30-20 in the second half.
Sophomore Amani Abuhatab led West Haven with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Sarah Evangelista added 11 points, and Kassidy Carrano scored seven.
Clarissa Pierre led Shelton with 19 points.
Cross rallies past West Haven
Westies fall 58-47
By MIKE MADERA
(March 5, 2021) - WEST HAVEN – In basketball, it is not always how you start, but how you finish. Just ask Kandie Everette of Wilbur Cross.
Hitting on just one field goal entering the fourth quarter, Everette broke a 43-43 tie with a pair of buckets, leading the Governors to a 58-47 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory at Neil Cavallaro Court at West Haven High Friday evening.
For Everette, who was in foul trouble and saw limited action in the third quarter, the redemption was one of beauty as her first two baskets of the second half helped Cross overcome an 11-point deficit and gave the team a 47-43 lead.
“It feels good,” Everette said after finishing with eight points. “I am glad I was able to pull it together and help my teammates.”
The baskets by Everette were the daggers in the hearts of the Westies as West Haven completely lost its offensive touch in the fourth quarter, hitting on just one field goal by Tenique Gates with 3 minutes, 54 seconds to go to get the Westies within 47-45.
That was all for the Westies in the final quarter. West Haven missed a ton of open looks and was just 2-for-7 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes.
“We completely fell apart in the second half,” West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said after her team fell to 5-4. “We were not shooting. It looked as if we were trying to just throw the ball to get fouled. I am extremely disappointed. Ty (Thomas) does a great job. He is a great coach. Our problem is our youth. It completely showed in the second half.”
The Westies looked as if they were in great position twice in the third quarter as they took 11-point leads on a bucket by Amani Abuhatab and again on a 3-pointer by Gates for a 40-29 lead.
The Governors answered with a 14-3 run to close out the third quarter, including nine points by Dejah Middleton. When Madison McCaulay hit a 3-pointer late in the third, the two teams went to the fourth quarter even at 43.
West Haven twice had opportunities to open the scoring in the fourth, but could not convert, setting the tone for Everette to give Cross the lead for good. The senior then gave her team a 52-45 advantage with 1:52 remaining, before the Governors iced the contest with four free throws, and a clinching bucket by Jaylice Rosario.
“We had to stick together,” Everette said. “We kept our heads up and kept the energy going. We knew if we kept the energy up, we could win.”
Trailing 13-12 in the second quarter, West Haven took a 27-21 lead at the half when Kassidy Carrano opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, then added another bucket for a 24-19 lead. A basket by Mya Flemming and a free throw by Carrano extended the margin to six points at the break.
“We had the lead, then our youth showed,” Moriarty said. “We beat ourselves tonight. Give them credit. They came back, but we have to make some of those shots.”April Artis led all scorers with 17 points for Wilbur Cross, while Middleton had 15. Carrano led West Haven with 15 points, while Abuhatab added 12 and Gates finished with nine.
West Haven rolls past Foran
Defense key in 47-16 win
By MIKE MADERA
(March 12, 2021) - After a tough loss to Wilbur Cross, the West Haven girls basketball team had a week to prepare for its next contest. The time did the Westies good.
With eight players in the scoring column, West Haven easily defeated Foran, 47-16, Friday evening at Foran High. With the victory, West Haven improved to 6-4 on the year.
Kassidy Carrano led the way for West Haven with 16 points, while Isabella Fiorillo scored eight and Amani Abuhatab and Tenique Gates each scored six.
Leading 11-0, West Haven extended the margin to 25-4 in the second quarter. West Haven never looked back as Foran was held to 12 points in the second half.
West Haven cruises past Guilford
Westies advance to SCC semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
(March 20, 2021) - The second-seeded West Haven girls basketball team opened the postseason in impressive fashion with a 47-25 victory over No. 10 Guilford Friday evening in the Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals at West Haven High.
The Westies will host third-seeded North Haven Monday evening at 6 p.m.
The Westies had six players score in a balanced attack and were never in danger in the dominant victory. West Haven had three players in double figures and was led by Kassidy Carrano with 12 points. Amani Abuhatab and Tenique Gates each scored 10 points, while Isabella Fiorillo scored eight.
The Westies took control of the game with 21 points in the first half, including 15 points in the opening quarter. Gates scored six points in the opening quarter, Fiorillo had five and Abuhatab added four.
West Haven turned it on in the third quarter with 17 points. Carrano had six in the quarter, and Abuhatab and Gates each scored four.
On to the Finals
Abuhatab leads WH past North Haven
By MIKE MADERA
(March 22, 2021) - The West Haven girls basketball team is going to the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II finals. Using a strong defensive effort, second-seeded West Haven topped third-seeded North Haven 48-39 at West Haven High Monday evening.
With the victory, the Westies will play top-seeded Sacred Heart Academy Thursday evening at a site and time to be determined.
Amani Abuhatab was the story in the game for West Haven. Not only did she finish with 20 points, but the sophomore controlled the boards with 15 rebounds.
Kassidy Carrano and the Westies advanced to the SCC finals with a win over North Haven, March 22, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
As has been the case in West Haven’s recent success, which now includes three straight wins, the Westies were tough on defense, holding North Haven to single digits in points over each of the first three quarters. The Indians finally scored in double digits in the final eight minutes, but West Haven was in control with a 35-19 lead.
North Haven fought back in the fourth quarter after a bucket by Abuhatab gave West Haven a 17-point lead at 41-24 with 5:28 remaining. West Haven then struggled with North Haven’s pressure as the lead was cut to 45-35 with 1:48 remaining.
Abuhatab’s bucket put West Haven back in a comfort zone as the lead grew to 47-35 with 1:04 remaining.
Freshman Isabella Fiorillo scored 11 points, Kassidy Carrano scored six, and Elena Petrie and Tenique Gates each scored four in the win.
Westies fall in Finals
SHA too much as WH falls 55-39
By MIKE MADERA
(March 25, 2021) - The season has come to an end for the West Haven girls basketball team. Despite a valiant effort by the Westies, the depth of the Sharks proved too much as Sacred Heart Academy won the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II title at North Haven High Thursday evening.
The Sharks finish the season at 14-1, while the Westies end the campaign at 9-5.
Read about the title game from GameTimeCT and Dave Philips below.
Kassidy Carrano and the Westies fell to SHA in the SCC finals, March 25, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sarah Evangelista and the Westies fell to SHA in the SCC finals, March 25, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
NORTH HAVEN — Sacred Heart Academy hadn’t lost a game since Feb. 19 when it was beaten by Mercy in Middletown.
But the Sharks won their next eight regular season games and rolled through the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II tournament with three victories, which culminated with a 55-39 triumph over West Haven Thursday night at North Haven High School.
Sacred Heart Academy (14-1) won each of its three games by at least 16 points in dominating the tournament.
“Our program has come a long way in a short amount of time,” Sacred Heart Academy coach Jason Kirck said. “When we started two years ago, we wanted to put Sacred Heart basketball back on the map. We have a great tradition of winning back in the 1990s. The way we finished the season, people have to know about Sacred Heart.”
The first half was played at a frenetic pace, especially the first quarter. The two teams combined to hit 10 three-pointers in the opening eight minutes with all of the Sharks’ points coming from behind the arc.
West Haven took an early 5-3 lead on a try by Kassidy Carrano, but just 15 seconds later, Carina Ciampi (12 points) countered with a 3-pointer of her own to give Sacred Heart Academy the lead for good, 6-5, with 5:46 to go in the first quarter.
The threes continued to rain as Sacred Heart Academy took an 18-11 edge with 1:48 left in the first quarter as Rosa Rizzitelli (18 points) canned her third trey of the opening period. However, Amani Abuhatab (19 points) scored the last five points of the quarter to bring West Haven to within two, 18-16.
Sacred Heart Academy scored the final seven points of the final quarter, four by Rizzitelli, to take a 33-22 lead at the break.
“They shot the lights out in the first half and we were hitting some shots as well,” West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. “Our depth hurt us, our legs got tired and we missed some shots.”
Throughout the night, West Haven (9-5) struggled in the rebounding category against the taller Sharks as injuries hurt the Blue Devils.
“They had a ton of boards and that gives you second and third opportunities,” Moriarty said. “We’re a small team and height is not in our favor.”
In the second half, the closest West Haven was able to get was seven points as the Blue Devils erased a 13-point deficit with a 6-0 run to make it 35-28 with 4:32 to play in the third quarter.
But a 14-6 spurt over the next 5:34 gave the Sharks their biggest lead to that point, 49-34, essentially breaking the game wide open. West Haven never got within 13 points after that.
“Tonight, we came in with a game plan defensively to try and shut a few things down,” Kirck said. “The girls accomplished that.”
Rizzitelli was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
“Eleven in a row to close out the season is an awesome accomplishment,” Kirck said. “We beat some good teams and won an SCC championship.”
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
GIRLS BASKETBALL 2020-2021
All-State Players - Kelley Camp '75, '76; Sue Passander '79; Catrina Hawley '97, '98; Jayva Johnson '13; Amani Abuhatab '21
Retired Numbers - Kelley Camp (Class of 1977) #13; Catrina Hawley (Class of 1998) #41
Youth is Served
Young Westies Ready to Go
By MIKE MADERA
(February 1, 2021) - After returning to the postseason last year for the first time since 2017, the West Haven girls basketball team was eliminated in the first round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament by Trumbull. The world was then affected by the current pandemic.
With time to prepare for the future, West Haven head coach Jessica Moriarty knows she has a handful of key players returning from the eight-win team of a year ago. Add in a key freshman piece and the Westies will have a strong team entering the 2021 campaign, the eighth with Moriarty at the helm.
“The numbers are down for everybody, but this group has been coming in and working hard,” Moriarty said. “They worked in the preseason. This is a good group of kids which is eager to play. I am proud of them and where they are right now.”
Moriarty enters the season with senior guard and captain Sarah Evangelista leading the way. According to Moriarty, Evangelista, a four-year starter who averaged six points and five assists as a junior, already looks like a totally different player from a year ago and may be the team’s best shooter.
Sarah Evangelista and the Westies are ready for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Moriarty can then add sophomores Amani Abuhatab and Kassidy Carrano to form a powerful scoring trio. Abuhatab came on the scene as a freshman and averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, and was an All-Southern Connecticut Conference and All-Area selection.
Carrano was equally impressive as a freshman, averaging eight points and 4.5 rebounds a game. Also returning from last year’s squad are juniors Tenique Gates and Davina Mendez who will be relied upon for quality minutes and points as well.
“The key for us will be scoring,” Moriarty said. “We need to put the ball in the basket and stay out of foul trouble. If we have to put kids on the bench because of foul trouble, that will not be good for us.”
As was the case last season when Abuhatab and Carrano came on the scene to spark the team as freshmen, the Westies look to be gaining another gem from the freshman ranks in guard Isabella Fiorillo. Fiorillo will look to run the offense from the point in her initial campaign.
“We have the confidence with everyone on the floor to score,” Moriarty said. “She (Fiorillo) can take care of the ball. That will be important because it will open Sarah (Evangelista) up on the wing. We will mix things up and give other teams a different look on defense.”
The season will also see a Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, but no state tournament. Add in the new rules with the wearing of masks, and everyone is in for a season of adjustments.
“We just have to go in with an open mind,” Moriarty said. “Anything can happen. We have talked with the girls. We want to take care of what we can control and deal with what we can’t control as it comes. Everyone is dealing with the same stuff. We are becoming more accustomed to the masks.
“The SCC is now doing two divisions in Division One and Two. Everyone makes it. The goal is to try and stay as healthy as possible, and play as long as we can. We have a talented group and we want to be successful in whatever tournament we are in.”
West Haven opens the season Wednesday, February 10 against Lauralton Hall at home at 6 p.m. Details regarding fan attendance will be announced soon.
Westies win Opener
Abuhatab and Carrano lead WH to win in opener
By MIKE MADERA
(February 10, 2021) - West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty is excited about her team. While relatively young, Moriarty sees plenty of talent in the group.
That talent was on display Wednesday evening when the Westies kicked off the 2021 season against Lauralton Hall at West Haven High. Behind 33 points and 20 rebounds from sophomore Amani Abuhatab and 16 points and 10 rebounds from fellow sophomore Kassidy Carrano, West Haven rolled to a 62-41 victory over the Crusaders in the season opener for West Haven.
Amani Abuhatab led West Haven with 33 points and 20 rebounds in a season-opening win over Lauralton Hall, February 10, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Down two players to quarantine, West Haven relied on six players to carry the team. Those players did just that, helping West Haven overcome a 20-13 first quarter deficit. West Haven trailed 28-27 at the half, but outscored Lauralton 35-13 in the second half, including 14-6 in the third quarter, to win by 21.
"It took us the first half to get going and buckle down defensively," Moriarty said. "I am proud of the six girls who basically played the whole game as we were down two players to quarantine. We have lots to improve on and will continue to get better. Overall, I am very happy with how these girls took care of business tonight. Getting our players back tomorrow from quarantine is an added bonus."
Freshman Isabella Fiorillo scored five points, including three from the foul line, while senior Sarah Evangelista and Davina Mendez each scored four. Carrano also added three 3-pointers in the contest.
Abuhatab was the difference in the second half, scoring 23 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter when West Haven closed the game on a 21-7 run.
Abuhatab and Carrano each scored five points in the opening quarter, but the Westies trailed by seven points after eight minutes of play. Abuhatan chipped in five more in the second and Carrano drained a 3-pointer to get the Westies within one at the half.
West Haven used a 14-6 run in the third quarter to take a 41-34 lead and never looked back.
The Westies were 15-of-22 from the foul line in the win.
Two for Two
Westies top Hillhouse to improve to 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(February 12, 2021) - After a solid start to the season with a home victory over Lauralton Hall, the West Haven girls basketball team traveled to play Hillhouse. With Hillhouse always a tough team to play against, West Haven was in control for most of the game and posted a 60-46 victory in New Haven Friday evening.
"It wasn't the prettiest game for us, but a good game for us to learn and grow from," West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty said. "We had control for the majority of the game and the girls played hard. We are still very young, but are taking strides in the right direction. We had great contributions from the entire team."
West Haven's second consecutive double digit win to open the season saw sophomore Kassidy Carrano lead the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Sarah Evangelista added 14 points, while Isabella Fiorillo, Amani Abuhatab, and Tenique Gates each scored six in the win. Davina Mendez and Elena Petrie both added five as West Haven had seven players in the scoring column.
Carrano and Evangelista got things started for the Westies in the first quarter as each scored five points and each drained a 3-pointer. Abuhatab had four points in the opening quarter. Carrano added six in the second quarter, Evangelista had five, and Gates added four as West Haven scored 35 points in the opening half.
After a slow down in offense in the third quarter, West Haven put the game away in the fourth. Carrano scored seven in the final eight minutes. including five from the foul line, while Evangelista added four in the quarter. Carrano finished 8-of-11 from the foul line.
Westies defeat Career
Fiorillo, Abuhatab, Carrano lead way
By MIKE MADERA
(February 16, 2021) - The West Haven girls basketball team is in a very good spot. Despite it being early in the season, the Westies won their third straight contest to open the campaign.
Even with the win, West Haven coach Jessica Moriarty was not completely satisfied with the play. At 3-0 after a 58-32 victory over Career Tuesday afternoon, Moriarty still sees room for improvement with her team.
West Haven improved to 3-0 with a 58-32 victory over Career, February 16, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We played a very sloppy game,” Moriarty said. “We were careless with the ball and had way too many turnovers. However, when you don't play your best as a group and still win by 26 points, it's a very positive sign.”
The Westies had seven players in the scoring column and were led by freshman Isabella Fiorillo with 19 points. Sophomore Amani Abuhatab had 15 points and 19 rebounds, while Kassidy Carrano had 14 points.
The Westies led by three points after the first quarter and 28-21 at the half, before going on a 17-6 run in the third quarter to take a 45-27 lead.
“The girls played hard and battled throughout,” Moriarty added. “We have to keep getting better and take care of the basketball more, especially against our upcoming opponents. I'm happy that we are putting the ball in the basket, but our defense has to get better.”
Fiorillo drained a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter, and Abuhatab and Carrano each scored four points in the opening eight minutes for West Haven. Abuhatab added seven points in the second quarter, and Fiorillo added another 3-pointer and scored four points as West Haven took a seven point lead.
Fiorillo and Carrano were at it again in the third quarter when West Haven went on its decisive run as Fiorillo scored seven points and Carrano added four. Carrano scored six of West Haven’s 13 fourth quarter points.
West Haven was 14-of-22 from the free throw line in the win.
Westies top East Haven
Late rally improves WH to 4-0
By MIKE MADERA
(February 20, 2021) - The West Haven girls basketball team continues to roll. Despite having to wait an extra day because of inclement weather, the Westies improved to 4-0 with a 58-50 victory over East Haven Saturday afternoon at Neil Cavallaro Court at West Haven High.
Sarah Evangelista and the Westies improved to 4-0 as West Haven topped East Haven, February 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the game close in the final minutes, sophomore Kassidy Carrano took over. Carrano gave West Haven a 49-46 lead with a bucket with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining, before a lay up by Carrano with 2:30 to go gave the Westies a 51-46 advantage.
Amani Abuhatab hit a pair of free throws 39 seconds later for a 53-46 advantage, before Carrano sealed the contest with a bucket with 49.9 seconds to go for a 55-46 lead. When Abuhatab hit two more free throws seconds later, West Haven had an 11-point lead at 57-46.
Despite five first quarter points by Carrano, West Haven trailed 14-10. The Westies went to the half down 29-25.
Abuhatab got the Westies going in the third quarter with 11 points as West Haven trailed just 41-40 at the end of three quarters. The Westies won the game in the final eight minutes with an 18-9 run, including four points from the free throw line by Abuhatab.
Abuhatab led the Westies with 25 points, 17 rebounds and four steals. Carrano added 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals, while Davina Mendez had 6 points, 6 rebounds, one steal and one block in the win.
West Haven finished the contest just 17-of-33 from the foul line.
Westies fall to Law
WH suffers first loss of season
By MIKE MADERA
(February 22, 2021) - After opening the season with four straight victories, the West Haven girls basketball team was looking to make it five straight. Unfortunately, Law did not cooperate.
Going on a 21-8 run to start the second half, Law pulled away in a 58-49 victory in Milford Monday evening. With the loss, West Haven fell to 4-1 on the year.
The Westies have gotten a balanced scoring attack throughout the start of the season. Against Law, the balance was not there as Amani Abuhatab was the lone West Haven player in double figures, finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Davina Mendez had eight points and Sarah Evangelista added six.
West Haven led by five points through eight minutes behind seven points from Abuhatab, before Law flipped the switch in the second quarter to even the game at 22.
Law then shut West Haven down in the third quarter, allowing just eight points as Abuhatab and Mendez each scored four. While the Law defense was doing its part, the offense put up 21 points, putting West Haven in a 43-30 deficit with eight minutes to go.
While the Westies picked up the offensive output in the fourth behind 12 points from Abuhatab and four from Evangelisa, and got within eight with three minutes to go, it was not enough in West Haven’s first loss of the year.
Law had three players in double figures and was led by Katie Konareski with 17 points.
SHA tops Westies
WH falls to 4-2 with 56-34 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(February 24, 2021) - After opening the season with four straight victories, the West Haven girls basketball team has run into a pair of hot teams. Those teams have cooled the Westies off.
Dropping its first game of the season to Law, West Haven looked to rebound in Hamden against Sacred Heart Academy Wednesday evening.
As was the case against Law, the Westies struggled to get any consistent scoring and fell 56-34. With the loss, West Haven fell to 4-2 on the year.
West Haven has gotten a balanced attack for most of the season, but the last two contests have been different. In Wednesday evening’s loss, West Haven reached double digits just one, in the second quarter, and could not match the offensive output of Sacred Heart.
Tenique Gates was the lone Westie in double figures with 10 points, while Amani Abuhatab scored seven and Isabella Fiorillo scored six.
West Haven had no answer for Sacred Heart’s Rosa Rizzitelli, who finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
The Westies got off to a slow start, trailing by nine after one quarter, before cutting into the deficit with its best eight minutes in the second quarter, allowing West Haven to trail just 23-18 at the half.
Any thoughts of a comeback quickly disappeared in the third quarter as Sacred Heart Academy opened with a 23-8 run to take a 46-26 lead with eight minutes to go.