Darien girls basketball team falls to Westhill in competitive matchup
Updated 2:18 pm, Thursday, January 5, 2012
STAMFORD -- Last year, Darien knocked Westhill out of the FCIAC playoff picture, and Tuesday night's game was payback. Playing on their home court, the Vikings were able to edge the Blue Wave 40-37 in a tightly-played game.
Both sides battled fiercely, although each had their Achilles heals. For the Vikings, it was numerous turnovers -- 13 in the first half -- while the Wave struggled with rebounds. In the end, though, Westhill controlled the pace of the game, never letting Darien pull too far ahead.
From the opening tipoff, the Vikings stepped on the gas, downing seven unanswered points which turned out to be the widest point differential in the entire contest.
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Darien finally got in a groove and systematically chipped away at the Vikings' lead, thanks in large part to Blue Wave captain Amy Biggart, who put up five points in the first quarter alone. The first frame ended 9-8 in Westhill's favor.
From then on, the score see-sawed. At the half, Westhill, always seemingly just one step ahead, went into the locker room with a slim 18-17 lead.
The Vikings tightened up their game considerably in the second half.
"We went into the locker room at half time, and they told us there were 13 turnovers so we knew if we were going to win we had to cut down on turnovers," said Westhill's Stephanie Roones, who had 12 points in the game. "We came together as a team, and we knew we wanted to win."
"We allowed them to play their style of game so they were a step quicker for those long shots that they take... and they take a lot of them," Darien coach Gary Peterson said. "They're used to playing that style; we tried to throw them off of that, but we were just a step slower."
Darien had just two three-pointers. Westhill, meanwhile, continued to strike gold from the perimeter by draining five treys in the contest.
"We needed to rebound and get to some of those loose balls; they got to them all," Peterson said.
Westhill coach Mike King was generally pleased with his team's rebounding.
"In the first half we did an excellent job of rebounding, although we didn't do as good of a job in the second half," King said. "We survived the first half, but we turned it over a lot. In the second half, we turned it over a little less, which helped. We really need to take what the defense gives us."
Westhill point guard Megan D'Allesandro continued her dominance on the court showing good ball movement and toughness inside. She led the scoring for her team with 17 points, which included three treys.
Darien's Meg Marren, who was reportedly playing hurt, was the game's high scorer, putting up 21 points. She went three-for-five from the line. Meanwhile, teammate Kate Bushell tallied seven points, but was fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter with three minutes remaining.
"Moving forward we need to improve on shooting. That was a big problem tonight as was rebounding, and it was tough with Kate having to leave," Darien's Amy Biggart said. "We're going to work so we have a strong team no matter who is on the court."
Teammate Susan Biggart agreed with her sister's assessment.
"Energy-wise it wasn't all there tonight, but our season is wide open, and I think we can win any game we set our mind to," Susan Biggart said. "Going forward we'll be fine."
Westhill improves to 3-4 overall while the Blue Wave now matches that record. Tonight, Darien hosts Bridgeport Central (1-6) at 7 p.m. and the Vikings travel to Bassick (0-6) at 5:15 p.m.