Westport PAL Basketball’s “All About the Kids” Round-Up (Mid-Season Review)

By: Contributing PAL Parents and Players

Winter cold off-set by hot hoops action as the Westport PAL travel basketball teams have moved into the second half of the FCBL season.  The impressive undefeated season of 5G and the strong recent performances of 7B highlight mid-season team reviews, including game results from January 11 through 20.

Westport PAL 5G

The Westport PAL 5G girls refuse to lose, remaining one of three undefeated teams in the twelve team FCBL B division.  In three recent victories, 5G raised its record to 13 wins and no losses.  5G defeated St. Mary’s-Ridgefield (23-9) and Fairfield PAL Lynx (17-7) utilizing Coach Karen Puskas’ active trapping 1-3-1 zone, before winning a low-scoring slugfest against Redding-Easton (18-16) last Saturday.

2012-2013 Westport PAL's 5G

5G puts its undefeated record to the test with three big games this weekend.  On Friday evening (1/25), 5G travels to take on fellow B division undefeated power house Shelton.  On Saturday, 5G will host Stamford Young Timers before traveling on Sunday to take on the other remaining undefeated, the Fairfield PAL Sun.

Westport PAL 5B

5B's Benny F. looks to score against Chelsea Piers-Stamford

The Westport PAL 5B boys are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, raising the team’s record to 9 wins and 4 losses.  5B’s up tempo offense and aggressive defense helped secure wins over Norwalk Youth (43-39), Hat City-Danbury (35-27), St. Theresa-Trumbull (41-36) and Chelsea Piers-Stamford (42-12).

5B will look to continue the momentum with three games this weekend.  On Saturday (1/26), 5B hits the road northwest for back-to-back games at Hat City-Danbury and at New Fairfield, before hosting the Darien YMCA on Sunday.

5B's Henry B. goes up among the Chelsea Piers-Stamford trees in recent action

Westport PAL 6G

The Westport PAL 6G girls have gotten a taste of the tough competition in the FCBL A division, staying above .500 on the season with 5 wins and 4 losses.  Coach Johanna McNelis has been preaching consistency to the players all season, as 6G has been unable to string together any winning streaks, but has also not suffered any long losing streaks.  Consistency of message has recently met with more consistent results.

6G lost to Norwalk Black on Saturday (1/12), but then followed that loss with consecutive victories over Shelton (19-12) and Trumbull Travel (30-17) last weekend for a first-time two-game winning streak.

6G looks to maintain consistency this weekend in two league games, traveling to St. Mary’s-Ridgefield on Saturday (1/26) before hosting Shelton on Sunday.

Westport PAL 6B

The Westport PAL 6B boys, like their 6G counterparts, have found the competition rugged in the FCBL A East division this season.  Coach Shuan Malone’s squad hits the homestretch of the regular season at 6 wins and 4 losses.

6B went 2-2 in recent results, defeating Greenwich Flame Red (57-44) and St. Theresa-Trumbull (41-35) while dropping tough games to Carver Center-Norwalk (41-46) and New haven (48-54).

6B looks to start a winning streak this weekend as it hosts Shelton on Saturday (1/26) and travels to St. Mary’s-Ridgefield on Sunday.

Westport PAL 7G

The Westport PAL 7G girls are in the thick of the FCBL A division at 7 wins and 5 losses.  Long-time PAL coach Chris Scholz has a deep roster and has been focusing on rotations and combinations of players as 7G gets ready for the end of the regular season.

Westport PAL's 2012-2013 7G

In recent games, 7G has been good on Fridays – defeating Newtown Gold (35-22) and Wilton White (45-33); however, unfortunately, Sundays have not been kind to 7G as it lost recent Sunday games to Newtown Blue (28-35) and Fairfield PAL Mercury (24-39).

7G looks to put together a complete weekend, as it hosts Monroe on Friday evening (1/25) before traveling to Darien on Sunday.

Westport PAL 7B

The Westport PAL 7B boys are the poster children for hard work and perseverance.  After beginning the season with a brutal schedule and disappointing results, the practice and teachings of Coaches Vinnie Rissolo and Andrew Strauss have taken hold and 7B has shot up the standings in the FCBL B division.  7B now sits in second place at 7 wins and 2 losses in division.

2012-2013 Westport PAL 7B

7B is currently on a four-game winning streak, having recently defeated Fairfield PAL Hawks (31-22), St. Mary’s-Ridgefield (30-17), New Fairfield (43-36) and Weston Gold (38-17).

7B looks to continue its winning streak and its climb up the standings as it hosts Monroe on Friday evening (1/25) and St. Theresa-Trumbull on Sunday.

Westport PAL 8G

Despite a short bench, made shorter by recent injuries and illnesses, the Westport PAL 8G ladies have continued to persevere, compiling a current record of 12 victories, 3 losses and 1 tie in the tightly-bunched FCBL B division.

8G's Mary McGee during 8G's recent victory over Darien

8G went 3-1 in recent action, defeating a scrappy Bridgeport Trumbull-Gardens squad (39-35), the Mohansic Girls (35-29) and Darien in a nail-biter (32-30) before losing to Waterbury North End (27-38) last Sunday (1/20).

8G's Claire Meehan leads the fast break against Darien YMCA

8G looks to get back in the win column with a single game in Westport against Danbury on Friday evening (1/25).

Westport PAL 8B (By: John Pritchett)

Dealing with adversity and disappointment is in the minds of Coach Glenn O’Neill’s Westport PAL 8B boys as they confront a four game losing streak that has dropped them in the standings of the FCBL A division.  Illnesses, injuries and absences are convenient excuses; however, more consistent effort, particularly to start games, along with more balance will be required in order to turn the tide as there are no easy games this season.

8B’s losing streak began earlier in January with back to back defeats at home to Danbury Blue and Mt. Vernon.

The streak continued last Friday evening (1/18) in a return engagement against Bridgeport’s Sheehan Center.  After going down by more than 10 points in the first quarter, 8B fought back to just a two-point deficit at half time and took the lead by as many as 6 points in the third quarter.  In a hostile environment, the squad from Bridgeport showed its toughness, fought back and ultimately defeated 8B by 6 points (62-68).  In the loss, point guard Justin Seideman led 8B with 22 points and 4 steals.  Fritz Schemel helped 8B take its lead in the third quarter, connecting on consecutive three-point bombs to finish with 6 points.  Ryan Fitton and Mack Muller also chipped in with 6 points apiece, following by Sean Pritchett’s 5 points and Brendan Massoud’s 4 points.

8B looked to break the streak on the road last Sunday morning against the Greenwich Flame.  Once again, 8B confronted a hot start by an opponent as Greenwich got out to an early double digit lead.  This time, however, 8B was unable to close the gap as Greenwich never looked back.  A fourth quarter run by 8B triggered by its full court press helped close the gap to single digits, but 8B never got closer and suffered a fourth consecutive defeat (47-54).  In the loss, Ben Casparius led 8B with 19 points, 3 steals and 8 rebounds, assisted by Justin Seideman with 16 points and 7 rebounds.  Josh “Fletch” Berman nailed a pair of 3-point shots in the 3rd quarter to contribute 6 points and 2 steals.  Mack Muller (6), Matty Fair (5), Ryan Fitton (3) and Kenny Brill (2) pulled down many of 8B’s rebounds.

8B looks to turn things around this weekend, starting with a home game against Wilton on Friday evening (1/25).  8B finishes the weekend with a pair of Saturday games, traveling to meet Weston Blue in the morning and to Bridgeport in the afternoon for one last regular season crack at Shehan Center-Bridgeport.

Evan Seideman