By: Contributing PAL Parents and Players
As February approaches, the Westport PAL travel basketball teams have moved into the home stretch of the FCBL regular season. In games from January 25-27, 5G put its undefeated season on the line against the other two remaining undefeated teams, 5B looked to extend its four-game winning streak, 7B looked to continue its incredible climb up the standings of its division, 7G looked to continue winning on Fridays while also breaking its Sunday losing streak, and 8B just looked to get a win.
With only two (2) weeks remaining in the regular season, the jockeying for FCBL playoff positions is on and Westport PAL basketball is in the thick of the regular season races.
Westport PAL 5G
The Westport PAL 5G girls confronted a brutal three-game schedule last weekend, including games against the other remaining undefeated squads in the FCBL B division. As fans of Coach Karen Puskas’ scrappy, hard-nosed squad have come to expect, 5G didn’t disappoint.
On Friday evening (1/25), 5G traveled to meet fellow undefeated Shelton. Sticking to a familiar script, 5G combined constant defensive pressure from rolling substitutions with timely baskets in a hostile environment, ultimately defeating a game Shelton squad (19-17). On Saturday, fans wondered whether 5G might look past Stamford Young Timers in anticipation of Sunday’s tilt with remaining undefeated Fairfield PAL Sun. Any worries were unfounded as suffocating defense and a scoring explosion had 5G coasting to a strong victory at home against Stamford (35-9). In Sunday’s showdown against Fairfield, 5G again refused to lose, taking down the remaining division undefeated squad in another exciting contest (20-15). The weekend leaves 5G with an incredible record of 16 wins and 0 losses, with three remaining regular season games to play.
Following last weekend’s three games in three days, 5G has a light schedule this weekend with just a single game in Weston on Saturday (2/2).
Westport PAL 5B
In the midst of a four game winning streak, Coach Charles Connors’ Westport PAL 5B boys looked to keep up the momentum with three games, including back-to-back games on Saturday (1/26).
In its first game on Saturday, 5B traveled to Danbury, hit the gas pedal against Hat City-Danbury and never looked back on the way to a fifth consecutive win (45-22). Staying in the area, 5B next headed for a late afternoon match-up with New Fairfield. Once again, 5B went on a scoring spree that left its opponent struggling to keep up, sprinting to a sixth consecutive victory (46-18). Back home on Sunday against Darien, 5B adapted to a lower tempo game and pushed its winning streak to seven in a defensive struggle (29-21).
5B will look to continue its winning ways this weekend with a busy four game schedule. 5B kicks off its weekend on Friday (2/1), at home against Chelsea Piers-Westport. On Saturday, 5B hosts St. Mary’s-Ridgefield. Then on Sunday, 5B has a double header, hosting Newtown before traveling to finish the weekend at Southbury.
Westport PAL 6G
The Westport PAL 6G girls continue their search for consistency in the FCBL A division, splitting two games last weekend to remain above .500 on the season with 6 wins and 5 losses.
On Saturday (1/26), 6G’s first two-game winning streak of the season was ended in a defensive struggle with division powerhouse St. Mary’s-Ridgefield (15-26). 6G quickly bounced back on Sunday at home, defeating division opponent Monroe (28-23).
6G will try to keep the winning formula when it travels to take on the Darien YMCA on Saturday (2/2) before hosting Wilton on Sunday.
Westport PAL 6B
Heading down the stretch of the regular season, Coach Shuan Malone has the Westport PAL 6B boys in the thick of the competitive FCBL A East division. Following consecutive victories last weekend, 6B has three games this weekend including two division games.
Last Saturday (1/26), 6B defeated Shelton at home (60-42) and then traveled on Sunday to defeat St. Mary’s-Ridgefield (65-26).
6B looks to extend its winning streak on Friday (2/1) when it travels to take on the Darien YMCA. On Saturday, 6B hits the road again to meet Weston Gold before hosting Fairfield Hoops on Sunday.
Westport PAL 7G
Following back to back victories last weekend, the Westport PAL 7G girls have moved into the top half of the FCBL A division at 9 wins and 5 losses.
7G started last weekend with a Friday night (1/25) victory over Monroe (38-22) before bucking recent Sunday difficulties to defeat the Darien YMCA.
7G gets a rare mid-season break this weekend, before heading back into action next Saturday (2/9) against Wilton.
Westport PAL 7B
With two more division wins last weekend, the Westport PAL 7B boys’ renaissance pushed 7B to first place in the FCBL B Jim Callahan division (9 wins and 2 losses). With a single game this weekend, 7B looks to maintain its hold on first place in division while also getting to .500 overall for the first time this season.
7B extended its winning streak to five games on Friday evening (2/1), defeating Monroe (54-26). On Sunday, 7B’s winning streak was put to the test against St. Theresa-Trumbull; however, in a defensive slug fest, 7B moved its winning streak to six games with a thrilling one-point victory (26-25).
With division and overall goals in mind, 7B takes on Redding-Easton this Friday evening (2/1) in its lone game of the weekend.
Westport PAL 8G
Coaches Sam DiLeo and Kasey Keegan have led the Westport PAL 8G ladies to an impressive record of 13 victories, 3 losses and 1 tie and the top half of the closely-contested FCBL B division.
8G had a single game last Friday evening (1/25), defeating division opponent Danbury (33-24).
8G goes outside the division for two games this weekend. On Friday evening (2/1), 8G locks up with St. Mary’s-Ridgefield in Westport, before a trip on Saturday morning to take on Greenwich B&G Club.
Westport PAL 8B
In the midst of a losing streak, the Westport PAL 8B boys got back to better play and better results in 2 victories and 1 defeat last weekend. While still down in the rankings of the competitive FCBL A division, two division games this weekend provide 8B with the opportunity to build momentum and move up.
8B broke its losing streak on Friday evening (1/25) in a victory over Wilton White (50-37). Breaking recent trends, 8B took the lead in the opening quarter and never relinquished it against Wilton. Ben Casparius led 8B with 20 points and 2 rebounds; however, the return of balance helped key the victory as seven 8B players scored between 2 and 6 points, eight players pulled at least one rebound and four players had steals. In particular, strong contributions came from Sean Pritchett (3 points, 6 rounds and 1 steal), Ryan Fitton (6 points and 4 rebounds), Mack Muller (6 points and a team-high 9 rebounds) and Matty Fair (6 points and a rebound).
On Saturday and despite an early deficit, 8B kicked up its intensity against Weston Blue to take the lead by half time and hold it through the second half (31-20). In the victory at Weston, 8B was led by Brendan Massoud (8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 blocked shot), Fritz Schemel (8 points and 1 steal), Matty Fair (4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal), Josh Berman (2 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal), Ryan Fitton (2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal), Kenny Brill (1 point, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and strong point-guard play) and Jesse Levinson (team-high 4 steals).
Later on Saturday, 8B looked to keep the streak going against season nemesis Shehan Center-Bridgeport. Unfortunately, 8B’s penchant for early game deficits returned, leaving the squad behind by 7 after the first quarter before ultimately falling again to the talented squad from Bridgeport (30-49). In the loss, 8B was led by Mack Muller (12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals), Justin Seideman (10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals), Ben Casparius (7 points and 5 rebounds) and Sean Pritchett (6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block).
8B looks to build its resume’ in division when it hosts New Canaan on Friday evening (2/1) before traveling for a Super Bowl Sunday showdown with Darien YMCA.