Boys’ Basketball stampedes Wayland on senior night


James McDermott

WA’s starting lineup gets introduced on senior night.

James McDermott, Sports Editor

Westford Academy Boys’ Basketball improved to 7-6 on the season after blowing out Wayland 85-41 at home on Tuesday Jan. 31 on their senior night.

A season-high 85 points, coupled with stifling defense, gave Wayland little hope from the opening tip-off. Almost every single player for WA got in the scoring column, while only two players reached double-digit points. This display of team basketball was a huge factor in their dominant victory and demonstrates that WA has the potential to be a very dangerous team for the rest of the season, and into the playoffs.

After an emotional senior night ceremony, the first quarter was set to begin, and WA came out with a ton of energy early on. Senior Yuvi Gahlaut knocked down two threes from the right wing, and senior Asa Geller got free on a fast break for a layup. On the other end of the floor, WA forced multiple turnovers, helping WA jump out to a 10-0 lead before a Wayland timeout with four minutes remaining in the opening frame.

After both teams came up empty on multiple possessions after the timeout, Wayland knocked down a three to finally get on the board. The final two minutes were back and forth, as a layup from senior Justin Jones off of a beautiful pass from Gahlaut helped WA maintain a 16-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

WA Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Chris Bramanti believes that senior night played a huge role in WA’s hot start to the game. 

“It was a huge boost,” Bramanti said. “The seniors had a great week of practice and started the game with a tremendous amount of tenacity. It was good to see the hard work pay off.”

The first half of the second quarter was filled with an 8-2 run by WA, extending their lead to 24-9. Just as WA seemed to be putting the game away, Wayland knocked down a three to keep them in it. 

The final three minutes of the quarter were extremely back and forth. A bucket from senior Alexander Movsessian and multiple other fast break layups helped WA enter halftime in the lead 33-17. 

To start the second half, WA once again came out with intensity. WA immediately went on a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 45-21. Jones started the run by finishing a layup through contact and then completing the three-point play. On the next possession, Movsessian once again got open in transition and finished a layup. Senior Ben Jones then electrified the crowd with back-to-back 3-pointers. 

With four minutes left in the third quarter, WA really began to explode offensively. Two more 3-pointers from Gahlaut and sophomore Vishal Rampur extended WA’s lead to 25. A layup from senior Jack Sullivan and then two more layups from Rampur officially put Wayland away as the third quarter came to a close with WA holding a 57-26 lead. 

The fourth quarter is when the fun really began for WA. WA emptied out their bench, giving many of the sophomores and juniors time to shine in the final frame, and they took advantage of the opportunity. Junior Rajit Talluri, sophomore Nate Pitts, junior Jonathan Coughlin, sophomore Andrew O’Brien, junior James Farley, and junior Tarun Sreekanth all got on the board, while also definitively continuing to outplay Wayland. 

“That is the joy of coaching. When all of the kids buy in and play for each other. The excitement the regulars showed when the kids on the bench got to play and score, makes it so fun,” Bramanti said. 

As the fourth quarter ended, WA held an unbelievable 85-41 lead, making for their most convincing win of the season. It was an impressive showing from the seniors in the first three quarters, and arguably an even better performance from the bench in the fourth quarter. The comradery the team displayed throughout the game, constantly celebrating each other’s successes, proves how close the team is from top to bottom. 

“We love to see each other do well and succeed,” Gahlaut said. “We all have a role on this team and we’ve been playing as a unit these past couple of games. We treat each other like family off the court which makes this team special.”

WA also now finds themselves in a position to make a postseason push. They are in a position to control their own fate in the DCL and in the state tournament. 

“We have a chance to win the DCL vs Newton-South in a couple of weeks. That is a good goal,” Bramanti said. “We also need three wins to get into the state tournament, which is also a good goal. We need to keep playing hard and for each other. If we do that, who knows how far we can go?”