by Emily Miller
The WHS girls basketball team competed in the Len Sepanak Holiday Tournament in Basking Ridge Dec. 27-30, placing seventh overall.
Westfield started strong in its first game against Union with a three-pointer to begin the game, but Union quickly pulled ahead with three consecutive baskets.
Union gained confidence after making free throws off junior Emily Brucia’s foul, scoring several more baskets to maintain a considerable lead over the WHS girls.
“We struggled due to players getting injured and also still trying to find the right combination of players that will bring the energy we need to be competitive” said Head Coach Joseph Marino.
Westfield attempted a comeback in the second quarter. Freshman Megan Mondon scored two baskets to narrow Union’s lead, but Union also kept pace, shooting two three-pointers in a row. Union ended the first half with a 26-11 lead.
The second half of the game was marked by both a strong defensive and offensive comeback on Westfield’s part. The girls played more aggressively and brought the score to 36-22 at the end of the third quarter.
Key players included Mondon, freshman Jamie Miller and senior tri-captain Ellie Callinan. “We weren’t ready to play [at the beginning],” said Callinan. “The second half was better than the first because we got into [the game] more then.”
Toward the end of the game, the girls lost some momentum and allowed Union to build their lead, ending in a 52-41 loss for Westfield.
In the second semi-final round of the tournament, the girls lost to Ridge High School 45-39. “We lacked hustle in the first half. In the second half of both of the first two games we out-hustled and out-scored the other teams,” said junior Sarah Seitz.
In their final game, the girls had their first victory of the season with a 53-32 win over Pingry, placing them seventh in the tournament.
“The coaches told us that we need to have a better pre-game warm up every game so that we are ready to go when we first step out on the court,” said Seitz. “In our last game against Pingry we had high energy all throughout the game.”
Marino said: “It felt really good winning our first game... Most of all, I think we finally have the right combination that will help us become a strong program within our conference, county and state tournament.”