The 14-7 Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16 for the second-straight year after dismantling Ayer Shirley 63-57 in the round of 32 at the high school on Thursday night. Westport scored 19 fourth quarter …
The 14-7 Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16 for the second-straight year after dismantling Ayer Shirley 63-57 in the round of 32 at the high school on Thursday night. Westport scored 19 fourth quarter points to ice the victory and will host either 11th seed Salem Academy or 22nd seed Mount Greylock on Monday night. “It feels great to get a round 32 W,” said Owen Boudria after the win.
“Everyone of them stepped up,” said head coach Scot Boudria. “It felt good. But like I told the guys after we did our little dance, we got work to do. I’m driving to Salem tomorrow to see who we’re playing against and then let’s rock and roll and see what we got.”
Wildcats clutch down the stretch
The Wildcats were clutch in the second half as they found ways to score and erased a 7-point deficit in a game that was tied seven times down the stretch. Owen Boudria scored 13 of his 20 points in the later half. The athletic forward made steals, rebounds, worked both ends of the fast break found extraordinary ways to get to the basket and score when Westport needed to have it.
“Owen has been amazing,” said co-captain Hunter Brodeur. “He’s been making crazy plays all year.”
Brodeur scored 17 points with a 3-pointer in the third quarter. Cam Leary scored 9 points, Max Morotti scored 8, Ben Boudria scored 6, Coltrane McGonigle netted a pair of free throws and Anthony Raposa added one.
The large Westport crowd bit down on their nails as the Wildcats trailed 31-24 with 7:18 left in the third quarter. Max Morotti sent them into a frenzy when the senior forward drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 31-27.
“I was standing at the top of the key,” said Brodeur. “I see him pointer, I dish a little pass to him, and he knocked it down. That’s my shooter. He’s going to hit it every time. If you let him shoot, you’re going to go home.”
Morotti sank a second 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give Westport a 49-46 lead.
“Max’s two threes were huge,” said Coach Boudria. “Huge, huge, huge, huge.”
“It gave us momentum,” said Owen Boudria. “It got everybody hyped.”
The Westport fans roared when Owen Boudria finished a fast break by elevating for a layup to tie the score 34-34 with 4:23 left in the third quarter. The quarter ended tied 44-44.
Mired in a dog fight, each two teams exchanged leads several times, until Owen Boudria grabbed a defensive rebound and hucked a pass across the court to Brodeur who raced in and placed a right-handed layup off the backboard and into the net to give Westport a 55-54 lead with 2:24 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Westport defense forced the Panthers into errors. The Wildcats scored six straight points to stretch the lead to 61-54. When Ayer Shirley began to foul, Westport drained 8 of 13 free throws in the final minutes to snag the game.
Early lead turns into a 4 point deficit
The Wildcats raced out to a 7-0 lead, but the Panthers stormed back and took a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Tommy Bergin scored 10 of his game-high 23 points to stretch the Ayer Shirley lead to 28-24 at halftime.
“We knew if we kept playing hard, we were going to come back,” said Brodeur. “There was just too much game left and we knew if we just starting hitting shots, we’d be fine.”
Coach Boudria countered the Ayer Shirley second quarter run by switching up the Wildcats defense after the break.
“Our defensive intensity got a lot better,” he said. “We started to figure out some of their patterns. Coach Rick Kilpatrick is a great coach. Kudos to him. He made some changes and I saw what he did and changed our defense.”
Ben Boudria who drained a pair of 3-pointers and forced a pair of charging calls played stellar defense against Panthers point guard Cam Marshall, holding the senior to just three points. He did get into foul trouble in the first half and saw limited action in the second.
“Ben did a phenomenal job,” said Coach Boudria. “Ben held that guy in check and he was by far their best player. When you take 17 points away from that team. That’s a lot to overcome.”
Westport went cold in the second quarter
After netting 17 points in the first quarter, the Wildcats went stone cold in the second and scored just 7 points. They scored 20 in the third and followed it up with 19 in the fourth.
“We missed a ton of layups all game long,” said Coach Boudria. “In the second half, we started to make more than we missed. The bench didn’t turn over the ball. Coltrane got some rebounds and Anthony played good D. Everyone’s got a role.”
“Everyone executed,” said co-captain Ben Boudria. “You got to feel happy about it.”