Wildcats dominate New Mission 74-33 to kick off tourney run

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 3/4/24

The Westport girls basketball team began their D-5 tournament run with a dominating 74-33 pasting of 28th seeded New Mission on Friday night. The 5th seeded Wildcats improved their season record to …

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Wildcats dominate New Mission 74-33 to kick off tourney run


The Westport girls basketball team began their D-5 tournament run with a dominating 74-33 pasting of 28th seeded New Mission on Friday night. The 5th seeded Wildcats improved their season record to 20-1 and move on to host 12th seeded Franklin County Tech in the round of 16 on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Westport began the game disciplined and hungry for the ball. Freshman forward Skylar Rezendes playing in her first tournament game, scored 18 points and was a force on the boards with 10 rebounds to lead Westport in the route.

Skylar was outstanding,” said head coach Jen Gargiulo. “Once she settled in, she was dominant on the inside. She’s composed, an excellent rebounder and sees the floor well.”

The tall slender Rezendes scored 11 points in the first half and was 8 of 12 from the free-throw line.

“It’s a team effort,” she said. “We are all finally getting the flow of how to play with each other.” 

Rezendes, who played in youth leagues and on travel teams,  said it took time to adjust to playing her first season of varsity.

“I had to adjust to the speed and the height of the girls,” she said. “I learned to use pump fakes and pass fakes. It’s quicker and the girls are smarter. It took getting used to, but I’m finally there.”

“I told them that there is going to be nerves tonight,” Coach Gargiulo said. “Let’s channel those nerves and excitement into our play and our intensity.” 

Senior forward Meghan Molloy began the game red-hot scoring 8 of her 14 points in the first quarter as Westport ran out to a 24-9 lead. Sarah Perry scored 6, Jenna Egbe and Rezendes each scored 4 and Korynne Holden scored 2.

Perry, a senior captain who wears a brace on her right knee, went down in the second quarter with an ankle injury. The crowd gasped as she gingerly made her way off the court with the help of teammates.

“”We’ll have Sarah back in our next game,” said Coach Gargiulo. “But we definitely have players that will step up when given the opportunity.”

Coach Gargiulo sent out her three bigs, Egbe, Rezendes and Molloy with Holden and point guard Julia George and they dominated the boards, accumulating 36 rebounds to the frustration of New Mission head coach Aliyah Stoner, who was visibly aggravated on the sideline.

“Our forwards and centers are athletic and that’s to our advantage,” Coach Gargiulo said. “We preach that our success is the team of five on the court. We play defensively as a team and offensively, we are very composed, disciplined and really push each other,” she said.

Rezendes added 7 second quarter points as Westport led 36-12 at halftime.

“We benefitted offensively,” Molloy, a senior co-captain, said. “We had some great looks inside. Our rebounding helped a lot with that too.”


George to the rescue

New Mission came out with some fight in the third quarter. Amy Mariano scored 7 of her 14 points as the Titans went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 36-22.

George, who ran the offense with efficiency, but had been quiet on the scoreboard, stroked a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats back up, 39-22 with 5 minutes to play in the quarter. 

The junior then went on a run of her own, scoring 14 of her 17 points in the second half. The super quick guard sank three 3-pointers, hit short range jumpers and drove to the hoop. George also pulled down 7 rebounds and dished out 6 assists.

“Julia is an outstanding player,” said coach Gargiulo. “She stepped up this season. She’s a leader on the court and she deserves this.”

“I feel like the team has clicked this season,” said George. “We work well off of each other and we’ve been putting in the work in practice. We’re just trying to get the wins and go as far as we can.”

“Coach really emphasized tenacity from the start,” said Molloy, who continued to play tough defense in the second half and score 6 more points. She collected 6 boards, made 3 steals and made a block.

Holden, also senior co-captain, scored 7 points with a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. The senior guard tallied 7 rebounds and finished with 8 steals.

“We played really well as a team,” Holden said. “The atmosphere is different than the regular season. There is more of a crowd, it’s louder, it’s exciting.”


Westport scoring: Skylar Rezendes scored 18 points, Julia George scored 17, Meghan Molloy scored 14, Korynne Holden scored 11, Jenna Egbe scored 7, Sarah Perry scored 6, Tess Silvia scored 2.


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