Despite season-ending injuries to three players, the Weston High School girls basketball team is still finding ways to win. The Trojans' strategy has been to shift their focus to defense and simply hold the line.
That plan worked perfectly Tuesday night in the first round of the CIAC Class M state tournament , in which The Trojans defeated Northwestern, 28-23.
"We had two sophomores and a freshman out there tonight playing huge minutes for us," Weston head coach Dan Rosen said. "We know how to deal with adversity and I'm proud of the girls for that. They're an extraordinary group of young women."
Playing up in the faces of a Northwestern team clearly used to shooting from the outside perimeter, Weston held the Highlanders to nine first half points. The Trojans mixed up their defensive schemes from man-to-man to zone and back again, confusing Northwestern. Hannah Hutchins and Lindsay Koch harassed Northwestern shooters all night, while Anna Mahoney deftly guarded the paint down low.
The defense began to slip in the third quarter, giving up 10 points in that frame. Northwestern briefly tied the game at 21 early in the fourth, but a much-needed time out called by Rosen refocused the Trojans.
While Weston dominated on defense, it struggled mightily on offense. Ellie Martin led the Trojans with 11 points, followed by Mahoney with eight. Martin and Mahoney were the only Trojans with field goals in the second half.
Martin said she knew Weston got some lucky bounces on Tuesday night and that defense alone will not get them to the title game.
"We missed a lot of layups and free throws that we usually make, but I think fate was on our side tonight," Martin said. "We'll have to adjust based on who we're facing and we'll have to go in with intensity if we want to win [in the next round]."
Weston will have its hands full when it travels to third-ranked Plainfield (18-3) on Friday.
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