by Danny Kuhn
Coming off a solid performance at Union Catholic just a few days earlier, the Westfield boys basketball team fell short against Cranford on Sunday, struggling on both ends of the court, resulting in a 61–47 loss.
Westfield has been dealing with injuries up to this point in the season and has been missing some key players. Senior Tri-Captain Dylan Elliot was one of those injured players who was forced to watch from the sidelines.
Elliot said: “We came out flat with no energy, and the scoreboard showed that. For the first three quarters we didn’t play up to [our] potential.... The last couple minutes of the game we started to play well and had some energy, but unfortunately it was too late.”
Coach Daryl Palmieri said: “We’re a team that’s growing. We went into the season thinking we were going to have a lot of veterans with experience playing, but it just didn’t end up working out that way.” Palmieri attributes the lack of veterans to injuries and transfer restrictions.
After a slow first half, with Westfield scoring just 11 points, the Blue Devils came out with something to prove in the second half, scoring back-to-back three-pointers on their first two possessions.
Sophomore Chris Boutsikaris led WHS in scoring with 14 points, 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Westfield dominated in the last couple minutes of the game, showing great perseverance and effort despite Cranford’s lead being too large to overcome.
Senior Tri-Captain Dave Kane had a steal with time winding down on the clock, taking the ball down the court for an easy lay-up.
Westfield outscored Cranford 36–34 in the second half, scoring a total of 28 points in the fourth quarter alone. However, the hole they dug themselves into the first half proved to be too deep to climb out of.
Fouls also were a significant detriment to the Blue Devils’ progress throughout the game, as Cranford was frequently being sent to the free throw line.
Kane said: “Right now we aren’t where we want to be; we are 4–5. Granted, we have played a few tough games so far, ... but we still are far from where we need to be.”
Tuesday’s boys basketball game resulted in a win over Roselle in double overtime, 68–62.