by Danny Kuhn
The boys basketball team lost to Ridge High School 50–35 last Thursday, putting an end to its season and its run at a state title. Despite a competitive first half, Ridge pulled away in the second half, outscoring Westfield 27–13.
The Blue Devils had the lead in the first quarter, and were only down by a single point at the end of the half. WHS successfully kept Ridge out of the paint in the first half, and prevented open looks at the basket by contesting every shot.
Head Coach Daryl Palmieri said: “I think we executed very well in the first half on defense. We took away the things that Ridge likes to do and were able to take them out of their comfort zone.”
The Blue Devils were able to produce in the first half on offense as well. Senior Tri-Captain Dylan Elliott led the team with 10 points in the game, and was able to spin off a defender to hit a fade-away jump shot for the last basket of the first half.
Elliott said, “In the first half, we were able to control the rebounding battle by not letting their big men get a lot of easy buckets.”
However, Westfield’s offense stagnated in the second half. Senior Tri-Captain David Kane said, “We couldn’t really put our offense together and failed to score; their pressure got to us and that allowed them to get a lead and never look back.”
Palmieri said the team struggled to score, particularly in the fourth quarter. He added, “It put a lot of pressure on our defense to be perfect, and Ridge was just too good of a team to stop on every possession.”
The boys basketball team did not win any hardware this year, but its growth could be seen as the team moved through the season.
Palmieri said: “I was pleased with the progression of the team throughout the season. Considering we had to replace most of our scoring from last year and at times played three sophomores, I think we did okay. Our seniors did a great job of carrying us all season.”