Westport PAL Basketball’s “All About the Kids” Round-Up (December 7-9)

By: Contributing PAL Parents and Players

Home openers highlighted the results for many of the Westport PAL travel basketball teams in games from Friday (12/7) through Sunday (12/9).  Below are this past weekend’s results. 

Westport PAL 5G

Following 3 consecutive victories to begin the travel basketball experience, 5G hit the road this past weekend.  On Saturday (12/8), 5G traveled to Ridgefield.  Unfazed by the trip, 5G played shut-down defense and cruised to a 16-point victory.  The 5G girls were aggressive on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court with solid rebounding by Grace C., Arianna G., and Alex S.

With confidence brimming, Coach Karen Puskas’ squad followed up that victory with a tough trip to Monroe.  In a back and forth first half, 5G went to halftime up by only 5 points and Monroe quickly cut into that lead to start the third quarter; however, Lucy P. immediately answered with a drive and lay-up, easing 5G’s nerves and spurring them to pull away for an 18-point victory.   5G was lead on offense by Lucy P., Abby C., Marisa S. and Emily S. with solid assists from Alyssa S. and Macey L.  5G dominated the glass with strong rebounding efforts from Nina U., Dawson N. and Samantha G.  The entire team was consistent in breaking Monroe’s full-court press in the final two minutes of the game.

The undefeated (5-0) 5G juggernaut looks to continue when it hosts Fairfield PAL Lynx on Saturday (12/15) at Coleytown Middle School, before traveling to take on New Canaan on Sunday.

Westport PAL 5B

5B's Benny F. accelerates past his Fairfield defender in last weekend's victory

Playing games against teams from other towns for the first time can be intimidating; however, Westport PAL 5B got off to a good start by winning its first game.  This past weekend, 5B confronted its first weekend of multiple games.

In its home opener on Friday, 5B played a nip and tuck battle with Fairfield PAL Celtics 5B, each team inching ahead but never able to take control; however, in the crucial final moments of the fourth quarter, Coach Charles Connor’s early season teachings paid off, as 5B executed beautifully, taking and protecting a lead it never relinquished (36-32).  5B followed up its victory with two more home wins, defeating Shelton on Saturday (51-49) and Westport YMCA (50-28) on Sunday to begin the season with four consecutive victories.

5B has a full slate this weekend, heading to New Canaan on Friday (12/14) and Norwalk on Saturday, before hosting Wilton on Sunday.

5B's Jake T goes in for the layup as PAL 5B defeated Westport YMCA this past weekend

Westport PAL 6G

Westport PAL 6G coaches Johanna McNelis and Andrew Lipman were curious to see how their charges would open up the season after just a few weeks of practice.  On Saturday (12/8), 6G didn’t disappoint, playing steady offense with gritty defense to defeat Darien by 8 points.  6G looked to keep it going in its home opener last Sunday; however, St. Mary’s-Ridgefield came ready to play.  In a defensive slugfest, St. Mary’s eked out a 6 point victory (11-17).

6G looks to get on a roll this weekend, traveling to New Canaan on Saturday (12/15) before hosting Norwalk Black on Sunday.

Westport PAL 6B

Coach Shuan Malone’s Westport PAL 6B boys looked to rebound from an opening game defeat with a pair of home games this past weekend.  On Friday evening (12/7) against Newtown Blue, 6B played hard from start to finish.  In a tight, well-played game by both teams, 6B executed beautifully in the fourth quarter to defeat Newtown by 3 points (45-42).  Building on Friday’s victory, 6B hosted and defeated Greenwich Flame Red (55-50) on Saturday.

6B plays a pair of games this weekend, hosting Wilton on Saturday (12/15) before traveling to Southbury on Sunday.

Westport PAL 7G (By: Maureen Schwab)

Coach Chris Scholz’s Westport PAL7G hosted Newtown in its home opener last Friday (12/7).  With strong defense right off the opening tip, 7G particularly asserted itself in the fourth quarter, opening up a lead that it never relinquished as it completed a satisfying win (52-39).  7G was lead on offense by the three-point shooting of Nicole Dienst, multiple baskets from Emily Yin and the speed and quickness of Christine Taylor, Megan Johnson and Annie Amaker.  On defense Brooke Schwab and Sophie Smith each had multiple steals.

7G hosts two games this weekend, taking on Fairfield PAL Mercury on Friday (12/14) and Bethel on Sunday.

Westport PAL 7B

7B huddles around coaches Vinnie Rissolo and Andrew Strauss during a timeout from action against Southbury last weekend

Westport PAL 7B Coaches Vinnie Rissolo and Andrew Strauss have been stressing the details to their players, each practice and game building towards results later in the season.

7B played two excruciatingly close games last Sunday (12/9); traveling and falling to Southbury by five in the morning (30-35) before finishing in Stamford with a hard fought four point loss (22-26).

7B looks to trap the wing during last week's nail biter against Stamford JCC

7B looks to break into the win column this weekend, hosting Norwalk Youth on Friday evening (12/14), before heading to St. Theresa-Trumbull on Sunday.

Westport PAL 8G

Westport PAL 8G looked to continue the early season momentum from a 4-0 Joe Coppo Memorial Tournament when it hosted Redding-Easton in 8G’s home opener last Friday (12/7).  After a slow-start, 8G began to separate from Redding-Easton, which was playing short-handed, with 8G eventually cruising to a 41-18 victory.

8G's Julia Brower looks to move the ball during last Friday's home-opening victory over Redding-Easton

On Sunday, 8G traveled to Weston for its first FCBL league game.  Following a familiar script, 8G started slowly; however, as soon as coach Sam DiLeo put on the full court press to begin the third quarter, 8G produced turnovers and easy baskets that widened the lead on the way to a 34-18 victory.  Over the weekend, 8G welcomed back Claire Meehan from injury and she immediately deepened the rotation and contributed speed and toughness.  Strong offensive contributions all weekend came from Julia Brower, Grace McGinley, Morgan McWhirter, Charlotte Rossi, Rachel Seideman and Olivia Troy.  Strong defense and rebounding from Virginia Gerig and Mary McGee helped ensure two more victories.

8G looks to stay undefeated this weekend when it hosts Mohansic on Friday evening (12/14) and then travels to St. Theresa-Trumbull on Sunday.

8G's Claire Meehan leads the fast break as Mary McGee looks to fill the wing in last Saturday's victory in Weston

Westport PAL 8B (By: John Pritchett)

Historically, Westport PAL 8B has relied upon balance – following Westport PAL’s minimum playing time rules to maximize opportunities for contributions from all team members.  As a result of injuries and absences, however, 8B was forced to lean heavily on a few players in its initial games at the Joe Coppo Memorial Tournament.  Following another week of practices with coaches Glenn O’Neill, Tom Whalen and Brennan Morgan, 8B received crucial contributions from all in its first two league games this past weekend.

Before a raucous crowd of classmates and families on Friday night, 8B celebrated its home and league opener by playing rude hosts to West Haven, hitting five 3-pointers in the first quarter (3 from Ben Casparius and 1 each from Brendan Massoud and Kenny Brill), and rushing out to a double-digit lead it never relinquished on the way to victory (60-33).  “Windex men” Brendan Massoud, Sean Pritchett and Matty Fair “cleaned the glass”, limiting West Haven to single shots on many possessions and getting outlets to the wings to start 8B’s fast break offense.

8B's Matty Fair pushes the pace as teammate Josh Berman runs the secondary break in recent action against West Haven

8B followed up its Friday night victory with a Sunday trip to face talented and gritty Shelton.  Having never before defeated Shelton, 8B was loaded for bear, again jumping out to a quick double-digit lead fueled by tenacious trapping defense and long-range shooting.  However, Shelton steadied itself, fighting back in the second quarter to make it a game.  8B’s balance tipped the scales in the second half, leading to a satisfying twelve-point victory (55-43).  Contributions came from all players, with Ben Casparius leading the 8B assault with 13 points (including two 3-pointers), 9 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 blocked shot.  Sean Pritchett (11 points and 14 rebounds), Josh “Fletch” Berman (three 3-pointers (9 points) and 3 rebounds), Justin Seideman (8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 blocked shot), Fritz “Schemel Swish” Schemel (7 points, all from long-range) and Kenny “K-Bay” Brill (a 3-pointer).  Jesse Levinson and Brendan “Big B” Massoud played shut down defense on Shelton’s talented wing players.

8B's Sean Pritchett goes up among the trees to fight for a rebound in last weekend's victory over Shelton

The 8B “bomb squad” plays just one game this weekend, hosting St. Mary’s-Ridgefield on Friday evening (12/14) at Bedford Middle School.

Evan Seideman