Westhill girls execute down the stretch to beat Darien
Published 11:13 pm, Friday, December 14, 2012
DARIEN -- When it comes to crunch time in the fourth quarter of a basketball game, teams usually turn to their stars to finish at the basket, regardless of what the defensive arrangements might be.
That's exactly what both the Westhill and Darien girls basketball teams did Friday night, and the result was a game that came down to the final seconds.
"I thought our effort was fantastic," Vikings coach Mike King said. "It was our effort and willpower that got us through. In the fourth quarter we started to recognize mismatches and we took advantage."
Darien had multiple chances to tie the game after Steph Roones tacked on a free throw to give the Vikings a three-point lead with 16 seconds to play, but couldn't get a long-range shot to fall.
After both teams struggled to score from the outside throughout the contest, Vikings guard Meg D'alessandro and Darien center Meg Marren, who both scored 24 points, began to dominate inside as a low scoring game burst to life in the fourth quarter.
"We were settling for the outside shots and they weren't falling, which was unfortunate," Darien coach Kate Lauten said. "Then we started feeding (Marren). It was just a little too late; we made the surge but couldn't hang on."
After D'alessandro's 3-pointer made it 35-24 early in the fourth quarter, the Blue Wave offense finally woke up in the form of Marren. The senior scored 11 in the final period, with her free throws giving Darien a 42-39 lead with 2:46 left.
Then it was D'alessandro's turn to dominate.
"I knew we wouldn't win if we kept that pace up because (Marren) was taking over," D'alessandro said. "I saw that the girl that was on me defensively was smaller so I just went into the post, posted up, my teammates gave me good passes and I went up strong with them."
On the ensuing possession, D'alessandro converted a three-point play after being fouled on a layup to tie the score, then used a similar move with 1:05 left to give the Vikings back the lead. After a putback by Darien tied it, the stage was set for Evans' free-throws after getting fouled driving through the lane.
"The biggest thing was hitting the free throws," D'alessandro said. "Tyler (Evans) hitting two and Steph (Roones) hitting one; (Darien) needed a 3 to tie at that point. It's a lot different playing defense with a three-point lead versus a two-point lead."
After scoring just 24 points through the first three quarters, the Blue Wave put 20 up in the final frame. Unfortunately for the hosts, digging themselves the early hole was the difference between victory and defeat Friday.
"I like that we were able to come back from being down," Lauten said. "Our girls didn't give up and say Westhill is better. We even had the lead. We just have to play like that for four quarters, not just one."
WESTHILL 47, DARIEN 44
Kat Grasso 1 0-0 2; Steph Roones 2 1-2 5; Meg D'alessandro 9 5-5 24; Jackie Passman 1 0-0 2; Tyler Evans 5 2-4 12 Jineida Harkness 0 0-0 0; Sam Corsello 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 8-12 47
Meg Marren 8 8-11 24 Emily Stein 0 0-0 0 Kate Bushell 4 2-5 10 Kate Fiore 2 0-0 4 Kelly Karczewski 1 0-0 3 Erin Karczewski 0 0-0 0 Kendra Fitzpatrick 1 0-0 3 Ali Aparicio 0 0-0 0 Claire Naughton 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 10-16 44.
WESTHILL 14 10 8 15--47
DARIEN 9 8 7 20--44
3-Pointers: W--D'alessandro. D--Fitzpatrick, Kelly Karczewski.