STAMFORD — The Stamford girls basketball team had to work out some jitters in the first half of its rivalry game against Westhill Saturday afternoon.
Trailing by four at the half, the Black Knights turned up the defensive intensity while resetting and composing themselves on the offensive end.
— Scott Ericson (@EricsonSports) February 20, 2021
Stamford rode that second half to a 43-31 win over Westhill, claiming the Jack Bryant Trophy, awarded to the Westhill-Stamford winner each year, in the process.
“We just told them to calm down,” Stamford coach Diane Burns said. “If you try and tie your shoe and make a perfect bow, you will spend an hour doing it and it’s still not going to look right. Just tie your shoe. Just put the ball in the basket, take care of the basketball, focus on defense and take a breath. That always happens with these city games. I was happy with how they responded after the first half. There’s a lot of things we need to clean up but I was proud of the effort in the second half.”
Sophomore Samantha Albert had 14 points, leading the Stamford attack.
After being down 18-14 at the half, Stamford took the lead back from the Vikings with 4:34 left in the third quarter and never gave it back.
The dagger came on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Madison Lockery midway through the fourth quarter pushing the Black Knights lead to double digits at 33-22.
Stamford held Westhill to 4 points in the third quarter after Stamford only scored three in the second quarter.
Westhill coach Mike Smeriglio said his team did well to get up on Stamford early but the Black Knights deep roster proved to be too much over 32 minutes
“They are great team. They missed a few shots in the first half but they have so many weapons, we knew they were going to hit eventually,” Smeriglio said. “I think we had a little let down once they took the lead. I thought we did a good job early but you have to give credit to Stamford, they are a great team.”
Westhill was paced by 14 points from Payton Hackett.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chloe Sotell, Stamford. The freshman scored 8 points but it was her work on the defensive end that made the biggest difference, creating turnovers multiple times in the second half.
“I think we communicated better (in the second half) and just knew what we were doing,” Stamford junior captain Charlie Karukas said. “First half we kind of lost focus. Second half, we knew what we had so we pressured it and went hard.”
STAMFORD 43, WESTHILL 31
STAMFORD 11 3 12 17—43
WESTHILL 6 12 4 9—31
STAMFORD: Breanna Jacobs 1 0-0 2; Isabella Edwards 2 2-2 7; Leonora Lipson 1 0-0 2; Madison Lockery 1 1-2 4; Chloe Sotell 3 0-0 8; Samantha Albert 5 4-5 14; Charlie Karukas 1 3-4 6; Pauline Vlahakis 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 10-15 43
WESTHILL: Payton Hackett 6 0-1 14; Audra Hanron 2 0-0 4; Olivia Conte 4 0-0 8; Emma Burton 0 0-0 0; Kate Teieca 0 2-2 2; Cayla Meek 1 1-2 3; Nayeil Juarez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 3-5 31
3-point field goals: S—Karukas, Edwards, Sotell 2, Lockery. W—Hackett 2
Fouled out: None