Westport PAL Basketball’s “All About Kids” Playoff Round-Up (3/7)
By: Contributing PAL parents
Following an exciting extended weekend of Fairfield County Basketball League playoff games, three of Westport PAL’s basketball teams have advanced to championship games to be held this Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11.
Westport PAL 5B
After finishing tied for fourth in the FCBL’s Boys 5A division, Westport PAL 5B began its playoff run with a victory over New Milford 5B on Saturday, March 3 in the opening round of the FCBL’s 5 Boys A North division playoffs.
With little time to savor its victory, 5B confronted Ridgefield on Sunday, March 4 in the semi-finals. 5B’s progress over the season was on display as it stayed close with Ridgefield 5B throughout, ultimately forced overtime and emerged victorious in a thrilling one-point overtime victory, 54-53.
On Sunday, March 11, 5B will go for a title in the championship game against Madison Black 5B in Darien. The game tips at Saxe Middle School at 3 pm.
Westport PAL 7G
After an up and down regular season that had it finishing in the middle of the pack of the FCBL’s 7 Girls B division, Westport PAL 7G began its title run on Thursday evening, March 1 with a long trip to New Fairfield to meet Brookfield 7G. After a see-saw first half that had each team inching ahead by not more than 4 points, the teams went to half-time tied. The half-time adjustments and motivational words from coaches Ashley Delvecchio and Erin Shaw worked as 7G asserted its height and speed advantages in the second-half, putting together its best 16 minutes of basketball of the season to pull away for a 44-17 final score.
7G’s good feelings continued on Sunday, March 3 in Danbury against division powerhouse Ridgefield 7G. After having fallen to Ridgefield by more than 10 points only two weeks ago, 7G came to Sunday’s semi-final with an impressive sense of purpose. Once again, a see-saw first half that ended with 7G ahead by just one point was followed by an unrelenting second-half. In a chippy second half, the defensive focus of Julia Brower, Morgan McWhirter and Olivia Troy, along with the strong rebounding from Virginia Gehrig, Claire Meehan and Grace McGinley and the scoring punch from Charlotte Rossi, Amelia Hunt and Rachel Seideman led to the upset, 35-24.
On Saturday, March 10, 7G will go for a title in a re-match of last season’s championship game against talented Fairfield PAL Mercury 7G. The game tips at 3:30 pm at Weston High School.
Westport PAL 8G
Westport PAL 8G and coach Chris Scholz’s perseverance and persistence during an injury-filled regular season has produced a remarkably satisfying playoff run that culminates with a championship game in the FCBL’s 8 Girls B division.
8G began the magic with an opening round victory last Saturday, March 3, over New Canaan 8G. Not satisfied with just an opening round victory, 8G put together its best effort of the season in Sunday’s semi-final, pulling away to defeat St. Mark-Stratford 8G, 32-19.
The FCBL’s 8 Girls B division championship game against Danbury PAL 8G will be played this Sunday, March 11, at Danbury High School and tips at 2 pm.
Westport PAL 5G
Westport PAL 5G’s season came to a premature end on Sunday, March 4 in New Fairfield as 5G was defeated by Newtown 5G in the semi-finals of the FCBL’s Girls 5 B division.
Earlier, in its playoff opener, 5G defeated St. Marys-Ridgefield in New Canaan.
Westport PAL 6G
Westport PAL 6G’s season ended with a hard-fought four-point loss to Newtown 6G in the semi-finals of the FCBL’s Girls 6 A division last Sunday, March 4, in Darien.
6G earned a place in the semi-finals having defeated Trumbull Travel 6G in its playoff opener on Friday, March 2, in Stratford.
Westport PAL 6B (By: Janet Rogers, PAL parent)
Westport PAL 6B concluded its season with a loss last Thursday, March 1, to Kings Kids-Bridgeport in the opening round of the FCBL’s 6 Boys South division.
6B got off to a good start behind a basket and two made free throws from Ben Pearl. Steven Frost, Brandon Luffman, and Drew Rogers all contributed with shooting on the perimeter. Guards Jack Beck and Harris Levi controlled the ball and made key passes. At halftime, the game was tied. In the second half, 6B’s defensive intensity remained high, with hard work from Ben Stein, Zach Feinstein, and Ryan Quinn. Evan Zinn and Brandon Adrian were powerhouses on the boards- including multiple offensive rebounds that led to second chance points. Unfortunately, the talented squad from Bridgeport fought hard too and produced a 3 point victory that ended a thrilling and satisfying season for 6B.
Westport PAL 7B (By: Paul Muller, PAL parent)
Westport PAL 7B ended its season with a semi-final loss to regular season FCBL Boys 7A division champion Fairfield Hoops Red 7B, 34-42.
Seeded fourth in the competitive and tightly-bunched Boys 7A division, PAL 7B kicked off its playoff run on Saturday, March 3, with an early morning tilt against #5 seed New Canaan at Ridgefield High School. Looking to reduce 7B’s speed advantage, New Canaan played a swarming 1-3-1 half-court trapping defense that required patience and strong ball movement. A nip and tuck contest throughout, 7B eked out a 38-34 victory to earn a spot in the semi-finals against top-seeded Fairfield. In the victory, Ben Casparius and Justin Seideman shared scoring honors, complemented by three-point sharp-shooting down the stretch from Fritz Schemel and Cayne Mandell. Sean Prittchett did the dirty-work, holding New Canaan to single shots by cleaning the weak-side defensive glass, while also putting 7B ahead in the game for good off of a sweet high low pass from Mack Muller. Strong defense against New Canaan’s terrific wing player by Brendan Massoud, Kenny Brill and Matty Fair, along with rebounding assistance on the offensive and defensive ends by Ryan Fitton earned 7B a hard fought victory.
Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm as 7B’s terrific season came to a premature end in the semi-finals against Fairfield, 34-42. Using rotating defenses that included a box and one, along with relentless rebounding and accurate three-point shooting, Fairfield demonstrated again why it was the most well rounded team that 7B faced during the season. In the loss, everyone on 7B gave maximum effort, led in scoring and steals by point-guard Justin Seideman. Ben Casparius led 7B in rebounds, blocked shots and deflections while demonstrating his tremendous athleticism and versatility, moving from guard to forward to center as needed. Long-range assassin Fritz Schemel continued his hot playoff shooting, hitting a pair of threes, joined by Kenny Brill and Cayne Mandell, all helping to keep the game within reach at critical moments. Mack Muller and Ryan Fitton worked hard in defending Fairfield’s powerful front court players, while Sean Pritchett, Brendan Massoud, and Matty Fair hustled to close out the perimeter against Fairfield’s sharp-shooting guards.
Congratulations to 7B for another terrific season and good luck to Fairfield and Darien in the FCBL 7A final this Saturday.
Westport PAL 8B
Westport PAL 8B’s season ended last Saturday, March 3, with a loss to Fairfield 8B in the opening round of the FCBL’s Boys 8A division.