By Steve Vierra
The Westport boys’ basketball team pulled off a convincing quarterfinal victory against Rockland to the score of 68-59 in what had been a back and forth affair on Thursday night.
Tommy Yeargin led the way for Westport recording 21 points to go along with some clutch free throws in the fourth quarter when his team needed the boost.
Yeargin also played aggressively throughout the game by attacking the rim and pushing the ball up the court in transition for the majority of his points.
Tommy (Yeargin) kind of settled everyone down,” said Westport Head Coach Scot Boudria.
Richie Hartnett chipped in 18 points on the evening.
“Richie came up big,” said Coach Boudria.
Chad Willard made a significant contribution to Westport’s win by shooting lights out from the 3-point line and scoring 19 points for the game.
As hundreds of loud fans packed the bleachers of the Westport gymnasium, the Wildcats looked composed and ready to take care of business. They started the game by attacking the basket and moving the ball inside at every opportunity. Richie Hartnett recorded a huge block in the first quarter that ignited the Westport fans and gave the Wildcats momentum as they went into the second quarter leading 15-13.
The second quarter featured more aggressive play from Westport which led to easy buckets or multiple trips to the charity stripe. Richie Hartnett ended the first half with a bang by knocking in a three-pointer seconds before the buzzer sounded. Westport led 28-23 at halftime.
The third quarter was neck and neck but strong play from Hartnett and Willard helped Westport to maintain their lead. Willard was able to find the range from three-point land when Westport became stagnant offensively.
“Chad Willard made three 3’s in the second half under pressure with (Rockland’s Matt) Nicholson guarding him,” said Coach Boudria.
Chris Silvia topped off the third quarter by nailing a big three a couple of seconds before the buzzer to give Westport a lead of 46-40 going into the fourth quarter.
The game remained close at times during the fourth quarter, but Yeargin was finally too much for RockLand. He scored eight points in that quarter alone including six points from the free-throw line.
Coach Boudria attributed playoff experience to his team’s ability to pull out the win.
“I’ve got a veteran group out there. Richie (Hartnett) has played a south sectional final and a semifinal. Tommy (Yeargin) started last year in a semifinal. Chad’s (Willard) played in a semifinal,” the coach said. “We’re an experienced team, we’ve seen this before and I think that kind of helped us out.”