Westport falters in fourth quarter, bows to Bears
Greater New Bedford Regional edges Wildcats
By Steve Rogers
WESTPORT — Trevor Mena drove to the basket and scored the game-winning hoop with 5.3 seconds left in the game to give Greater New Bedford Vocational a 43-42 non-league boys’ basketball win over Westport Monday night.
It was the only lead of the second half for the visiting Bears, who trailed by as many as 10 points in a game where points were hard to come by.
“We kept battling,” said Greater New Bedford Regional coach Don Rodrigues said. “We kept playing hard on defense. It was a great high school basketball game.”
It was quite the opposite feeling for the host Wildcats. Westport pulled ahead with four minutes left in the second quarter, was up by five at halftime, extended the lead to 10 during the third quarter and was still up seven with 6:20 to play. But the Wildcats scored just two points the rest of the game.
“That was depressing,” Westport coach Scot Boudria said. “At the end their defense helped them out dramatically and they were scoring. We went on like a two-minute run where we didn’t score at all. It’s tough to win ballgames when you’re not putting the ball in the hole no matter how big your lead is.”
Westport’s Richie Hartnett, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds, got his team’s last hoop with 1:09 left. He made a nice back-door cut, got a pass from his brother Chris, and put the ball off the glass and through to give the Wildcats a 42-39 lead. The hoop ended a 5:11 Westport scoring drought and a 6-0 Bears’ run.
Greater New Bedford came right back down the floor and Corey Ponte drove the baseline and scored with 47 seconds left. Westport, which made just two turnovers in the first half, then committed its twelfth miscue of the second half to give the ball back to the Bears. They got the ball past midcourt and called a timeout to set up what proved to be the game-winning basket.
“We wanted to get Corey the ball. We kind of figured they’d all go to Corey,” said Rodrigues. “We were setting a double screen on the other side. We told them if three guys go, the other side will be open for either Trevor or Macabe (Martins) and it happened to be Trevor that got the open layup. It’s nice to have good players.”
Westport called back-to-back timeouts to set up an inbound play from under its own hoop. The Wildcats would have to go the length of the floor in 5.3 seconds. They got the ball inbounds but a pass to center court was intercepted by Ponte and he dribbled until the final buzzer.
“Offensively, so stagnant for ourselves,” Boudria said. “We did have some nice cuts but they do play good defense. Looking back at it, (Mena) hit a tough shot at the end. Let’s give the kid credit.”
Westport shot just 28 percent (17-for-60) from the floor and made just one of 17 three-point tries. But the Bears were comparable with 32 percent field goal accuracy (16-for-50) and made only two of 12 threes. What really hurt the Wildcats was their 39 percent (7-for-18) free throw percentage.
“Free throws killed us,” Boudria said. “You’re not going to win many games shooting below 50 percent from the cherry stripe, especially when it’s a 42-43 game. Every point matters.”
Westport had a 26-21 halftime lead despite making 10 of 40 field goal tries. The Wildcats were down by as many as five points but outscored the Bears 13-5 in the second quarter. New Bedford had just two field goals in both the second and third quarters and shot 16 percent. But the Bears warmed up in the final quarter when they made six of nine from the floor.
“They made their run in the second quarter,” Rodrigues said. “They started running their stuff. Our offense starting coming along in the third and fourth quarter, especially the fourth.”
The loss left Division-Four Westport with a 15-3 overall record, with two of the losses coming to the Division-Three Bears who moved to 10-4 overall. Corey Ponte led Greater New Bedford with 17 points, Derek Lewis had 11 points and nine rebounds and Nick Portelance had eight rebounds. Mena’s basket was just his second of the game.
Chris Hartnett finished with 10 points and seven rebounds and Jake Friar had nine points. Westport had 35 rebounds, one more than the Bears, but they came up short where it mattered most.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what else we can come up with,” Boudria said.