Wildcats celebrate 'Jessica Night,' demolish Holbrook, 57-18

Boys and girls teams play home playoff games this week

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 2/16/21

The Westport girls basketball team celebrated their only senior before they demolished Holbrook, 57-18, during a home game on Wednesday night.

The high school gym was decked out with streamers and …

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Wildcats celebrate 'Jessica Night,' demolish Holbrook, 57-18

Boys and girls teams play home playoff games this week

Posted

The Westport girls basketball team celebrated their only senior before they demolished Holbrook, 57-18, during a home game on Wednesday night. The high school gym was decked out with streamers and a large balloon 35. Athletic director Jason Pacheco played master of ceremonies, calling senior Jessica Carney and her parents to center court as her teammates cheered. Head coach Michael Ponte spoke first, likening Carney to Churchill as the team’s greatest Wildcat.

“Queen Elizabeth said to Winston Churchill towards the end of his life, ‘We will never forget our greatest leader.’ Jess is our greatest wildcat,” he said. She has stuck around when others left and her legacy is going to be conference championships.”

Coach Ponte and Carney started in the program during the 2016 season. Coach Ponte a first year coach and Carney a seventh grader.

“We have grown up together in this program. She’s a phenomenal leader. She always strives for what’s best for the team.”

Carney works with the younger players during practices as well as with the older players. “She’s been a coach on the floor since she was a freshman,” coach Ponte said. “She has had a big hand in creating a program that is second to none in the area.”

Coach Ponte also credits Carney for playing well in big games.

“I nicknamed her Playoff Jess,” he said. “She always plays her best in the big games.”

Assistant coach Jen Gargiulo took the mike next, “We could not have achieved our accomplishments…, without your patience, hard work, perseverance, dedication and teamwork. Your work ethic and positive attitude is contagious. I am so proud of the leader you have become. Your discipline, and attitude…, inspires all of our players to work harder and be greater all around people.”

Carney’s sister Sarah, a junior, took the mike last while she stood with her parents all of them now holding flowers at center court.

“After six years, your time as a Lady Wildcat is coming to a close. As much fun as I’ve had being your punching bag during drills and being lectured post game, it’s now time to say good-bye.” The team laughed when she joked, “And knowing that even when things get hairy, unlike coach Ponte’s head, you’ll aways have my back…Next season won’t be the same without you.”

She ended the pre-game ceremony with a quote from High School Musical, “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”

Then she ran to center court and a group hug ensued.

Pichette automatic again

Junior Lily Pichette led the Wildcats with 24 points as they proceeded to demolish a weak Holbrook team. The tall athletic forward was again automatic from underneath, with a one-touch move to the basket that is just unstoppable. She scored 20 of her 24 during the second and third quarters.

Sophomore point guard Leah Sylvain scored 8 of her 12 points in the first quarter, as the Wildcats ran out to an 18-2  advantage. The score was 35-10 by halftime and Westport yawned. If it wasn’t for some sloppy play and shots not falling, the score could have been much worse.

Freshman guard Korinne Holden played well defensively, netted two three pointers and scored 12 points. She consistently made steals from her position in Wolverine, at the top of the arch and bucketed a few easy layups with a clear path to the basket.

Sarah Carney (4 points), Abby Silvia (3 points) and Sarah Perry (2 points) played well during their extensive time on the court as did their captain, Jess Carney who played powerful defensively under the basket and passed the ball out quickly to teammates for fast breaks.

Later in the week the Wildcats finished up their Mayflower League schedule, thrashing South Shore Christian Academy, 43-28, during a home game on Thursday and crushing Holbrook again, 63-34, at Holbrook on Friday. The team ended their regular season with a record of 8-2 start their playoff run in a home game on Friday, Feb. 19.

Mens

The Westport mens team also had a good week as well, edging Holbrook, 59-54, on Wednesday and crushing them, 77-42, on Friday. The Wildcats finished with an 8-1 recored in the MAC. Their 72-70 loss at Bishop Connolly Friday Feb, 5, was their only loss of the season. The boys will also host a game on Friday, Feb. 19.

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.