by Abbie Goldring
The WHS boys basketball team lost to top 20-ranked St. Patrick’s High School 77-53 in its last game of the season on Feb. 24.
Said junior Keegan Hess, "As a team and program, we have grown a lot, and tonight we played a tough team. We fought very hard but just couldn’t pull the game closer."
WHS was able to get off to a fast start. Early in the first quarter, senior Captain Nate Mitchell rebounded a St. Patrick’s miss and passed it ahead to Hess on a fast break, who laid the ball up.
The Blue Devils had momentum throughout the first quarter, making frequent shots and managing to keep the score close. WHS ended the first quarter with a one point lead, at a score of 13-12.
A few minutes into the second quarter, WHS committed a personal foul and subsequently a technical foul when senior Ozan Yucetepe reacted by slamming the ball on the floor. St. Patrick’s was then given four foul shots, of which they made three.
After the free throws, Westfield was able to keep it close due to baskets by Mitchell and junior Scott Toresco. St. Patrick’s took a 29-27 lead into halftime.
"I think the team played well in the first half.... We thought if we could just hang around, maybe we could make a run. Unfortunately, we did not play well enough to stay in the game," said Mitchell.
In the third quarter, St. Patrick’s used strong defense to force Westfield into turnovers. Despite early baskets from Elliott and Hess, St. Patrick’s began to pull ahead.
Despite baskets by Mitchell, Yucetepe, senior Captain Aswad Turner and sophomore David Kane, St. Patrick’s still managed to maintain the lead and stayed on the offensive.
"In the third quarter, we struggled a bit and that hurt us, [but] I’m proud of the way [the team] competed tonight," said Head Coach Daryl Palmieri.
Leading into the fourth quarter, St. Patrick’s continued to score, and Westfield was unable to catch up.
Though the team ended its season with a loss, Mitchell said: "I had a great time this year playing under Coach Palmieri. I think the basketball program is heading in the right direction."