Girls’ successful season comes to an end

Novak playing against Bedford.

By Doug Boyle
Staff Writer

The Westford Academy Girls’ basketball season came to end this Saturday, March 9th 2013, as they lost to Central Catholic, 60 to 51. The game was to decide the Division 1 North Sectional winner and now Central Catholic will now continue on to play the Western and Central sections for the state title at the TD Garden in Boston.

The Ghosts were lead by junior co-captains Samantha Hyslip and Hannah Hackley. They both played great all game, having 17 points each. Hyslip also had 16 rebounds.

The girls were down by as much as 11 at one point and were able to fight back and take the lead, 47-46, after an 8-0 run. The run came from consecutive scores from Hackley, including a three-pointer and a layup. Hyslip also finished a three-point play. However, Central Catholic was able to finish off with a run of their own, finishing the game with a nine point lead.

For the Raiders, junior Courtney Walsh had 16 points and senior Casey McLaughlin had 15 points with 14 rebounds.

Westford finished with a record of 20-5 and won the Dual County League title for the fourth time in five years. The girls beat Central Catholic earlier in the year, 60 to 49, but Central played without Casey McLaughlin. The Raiders eliminated Westford out of the playoffs last year with the absence of Hackley; they won 61 to 51.

To get to this game, the Ghosts beat the Billerica Indians 53 to 49 on Thursday at the Whittier Tech in Haverhill.

Junior center and co-captain Samantha Hyslip played a phenomenal game, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. Hyslip also played well defensively, blocking three shots in key points during the game. Hyslip also had great help from her junior teammates Catherine Sennott and Hannah Hackley. Hackley, a co-captain, played superbly on both ends of the court tallying a total 12 points. Sennott was a strong offensive force as well scoring 15 points, including three 3-pointers.

This game was a rematch of a previous contest from January 17th, where Billerica beat Westford 57 to 53.

The Ghosts jumped on the Indians early in this game, leading 14 to 8 by the end of the first quarter. Senior Christine Novak had a big block with 2:31 left that sparked the Ghosts to continue their fantastic run. Novak played well the whole game; she had four points and eight rebounds.The Ghosts extended their lead to as much as eleven points in the second quarter but Billerica continued to fight back. With great free throw shooting, the Indians climbed back all the way to take a one point lead 37-36, in third quarter.Billerica senior and captain Brittany Lamanno scored nine points and junior Shannon Hayes had 15.

However this run did not phase Westford as they grabbed at motivation going into the fourth quarter with a 4-0 run in the last minute.This included two big free throws from Hyslip, a basket from Novak, and a key block from senior Bailey Mongillo. Mongillo had three blocks in the game.

The fourth quarter was an exciting back and forth struggle between the two squads, and it came down to the last minute for Westford to win. With 1:02 left in the game, Hyslip scored her biggest basket to give the Ghosts a three point lead. Billerica center Joslyn King responded with two big free throws making it a one point game, 50 to 49. However the biggest free throws came from senior co-captain Meghan Kibblehouse of Westford Academy. She sunk both with 25.2 seconds left in the game. Then with 11 seconds left, Sennott made yet another spectacular play and stole the ball. She continued to hit one free throw and win the game for the Ghosts.