Girls’ basketball faces 51-44 defeat against Billerica Memorial


Srivas Arun

Senior captain Alanna Saunders takes a free throw as the players around her jump into action.

Srivas Arun, Staff Writer

The Westford Academy Girls’ Basketball Team was dealt their second loss of the season away against Billerica Memorial High School on Thursday, Dec. 22 with the game ending in a score of 51-44.

Billerica began with an early lead in the first quarter. Due to their strong offense, they were able to score very quickly at the start of the game. Although WA managed to score a few times, they were unable to catch up with Billerica by the end of the first quarter, and ended it with a score of 19-6. 

Both teams improved in the second quarter with WA almost completely eliminating Billerica’s lead by reaching a score of 29-25. Seniors Alanna Saunders and Ali Mammola, and sophomore Diya Jayaraman, were the players responsible for bringing up the score through free throws and layups. However, Billerica was able to increase their lead and go up 31-25 by the end of the second quarter.

Despite Billerica managing to score a shot at the beginning of the third quarter, Saunders was able to score more points for WA, along with sophomore Erin Keefe and senior Alex Jones. Billerica maintained their lead though and ended the quarter with a score of 41-32.

Billerica was able to stack up points earlier in the fourth quarter, but Jayaraman and Saunders were able to score a combination of free throws and layups that resulted in a final score of 51-44. Nevertheless, Saunders, Jayaraman, and other players were unable to collaborate and the team fell short as a result.

Going into the game, head coach Russell Coward knew that Billerica Memorial would be a tough opponent due to WA’s past matchups with them.

“[They are] very athletic, very physical, and very talented,” Coward said. “We have been playing them for 12 years and it has probably been dead even as far as wins and losses.”

Throughout the game, Billerica seemed to get possession of the ball more often and made more shots than WA. Nevertheless, WA’s defense prevented Billerica from making many of their close range shots.

“We got back on defense pretty well,” Jayaraman said. “Our offense was there. Moving a little bit more would have been great, but [we] moved the ball pretty well today.

In the second half, some of WA’s plays were also disrupted by calls from the referees and a lack of communication prevented them from making shots while the ball was in their possession. 

“I think we did really well with the lack of officiating in the game. Some of the calls were really off in my opinion,” Saunders said. “Communication was a big thing [to fix]. Also, our passes could have been a little bit better. Those are the two things I think we need to work on.”

The team’s next game will be at Merrimack College’s Lawlor Arena on Dec. 27 where they will be facing Pentucket Regional at 4:15 p.m. in the Commonwealth Motors Christmas Classic Tournament.