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Girls’ Basketball season ends with a 61-45 loss to Springfield

Varshini Ramanathan, Sports Editor

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A group of WA students, dressed in spring attire cheer for their colleagues in the fourth quarter.

Girls’ Basketball ended their season at the state semi-final game against Springfield Central, falling 61-45 after losing their lead early on.

Westford Academy came into the game with a 18-2 season record, and had also beaten Worcester North and Wachusett Regional to cinch the Sectional title.

Springfield secured an early lead with a shot thirty seconds into the game. Despite senior captain Angela Alibrandi’s quick score in response, the Ghosts slipped further behind as the quarter progressed. Although they secured a few shots, WA trailed Springfield 19-7 at the end of the quarter.

The margin only widened as the second quarter began; about halfway through the score was 26-10. Prolonged battles for possession continued. Sophomore Brooke Pillsbury nearly made a three-pointer but was stopped by Springfield’s defense, although she made up the difference by sinking a free throw.

Springfield continued to take advantage of every hole in WA’s game, racing ahead to a 33-13 lead. As the half drew to a close senior captain Camille Desrochers scored a three-pointer amidst WA cheers, but Springfield took the point right back to end the half  36-16.

Alibrandi took the first shot of the second half, but as the minutes ticked by the girls fell to half their opponents’ score, 38-19. Two baskets from senior captain Emily Bramanti helped them recover 38-24, and a strong defensive play about halfway through the quarter, eliciting cheers from the Westford crowd.

With 3:48 left in the quarter, Bramanti was knocked to the ground and left the court, replaced temporarily by Brooke Pillsbury. Springfield took the chance to score their first point in a while, bringing the score to 41-24.

Just under two minutes before the end of the quarter, a painful tangle on Westford’s defense caused junior Allison Mulhern to leave the court as well, although Bramanti was back by this time.

Springfield’s defense stepped up their game even more, refusing to let a single shot of WA’s get near the basket. Thanks to a few free throws, the Ghosts managed to get a few points, but after Springfield scored once again with thirty seconds left in the quarter and again with just a second left, the third quarter ended with a score of 48-29.

After a three-pointer brought Springfield to a 51-31 lead their score stagnated, allowing WA to gain four more points. A foul call against them caused the stands to erupt in booing, but soon after a long three-pointer from Bramanti caused them to switch to cheers. Their standard shout of “defense, defense!” echoed throughout the gymnasium as WA continued to score.

Halfway through the final quarter the score was 52-40, making a win highly unlikely for the Ghosts. Even so, Bramanti rallied the team as they prepared for a free throw, and after sinking both shots they stood at their smallest margin yet. Mulhern went down for the second time that game at the Springfield basket, causing an outrage for fans and players alike.

The girls were visibly worried, as with only two minutes left they were trailing 55-42. Within another minute they had fallen 58-45, and with seconds left in the game the girls began to slow down. Even as the horn sounded the team was walking off the court, having resigned to the end of their season.

Athletic Director Dan Twomey commended the girls’ performance.

“Springfield Central played well in the first half, they shot the ball very well. I think that was the difference,” he said. “I think we played much better in the second half. We played a good game, but when you’re down twenty points at halftime, it’s hard to get back into it.”

He added, “Any time you win a sectional championship it’s a historic season. They had a great year, they have nothing to hang their heads over.”

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Girls’ Basketball season ends with a 61-45 loss to Springfield