The Westport PAL 7th-grade girls team seized the league title from last-year’s winner Fairfield Mercury in a highly energized game on Saturday, March 10, winning the B bracket of the Fairfield County Basketball League tournament.
Westport jumped ahead early, posting a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. Amelia Hunt sank two three-pointers and Julia Brower, Claire Meehan and Rachel Seideman made valuable contributions on offense.
Things tightened up in the second period, with Fairfield pulling ahead. The teams battled hard for jump balls and Westport’s strong defense forced several Fairfield turnovers. Charlotte Rossi’s back-to-back breakaway layups moved Westport ahead before the half, which closed with Westport leading 16-14.
Westport continued its tough defense in the second half, with Grace McGinley and Virginia Gerig helping to neutralize Fairfield under the hoop. Morgan McWhirter and Ashley Constantino pressured Fairfield’s offense, leading to several turnovers. Westport capitalized on them with strong shooting from Olivia Troy, Brower and Rossi, putting Westport ahead by a seven-point margin, 26-19, at the end of the third quarter.
Despite the Westport lead, the game remained tense as Fairfield came back in the final period, taking the lead by one point with less than two minutes to play. Westport answered with a fast break by Meehan, followed by a Fairfield turnover, which Meehan grabbed, ran with and sank to put Westport ahead 34-31 with thirty seconds remaining. Fairfield was unable to score again, and on its final possession, Westport held onto the ball as the clock ran down to zero.
Coaches Ashley Del Vecchio and Erin Shaw led a spirited team full of heart, which ended the season with a 14-10 record overall.