The Westport PAL eighth-grade girls basketball team struggled to find an offensive rhythm for most of Sunday's championship game against Ridgefield in the Fairfield County Basketball League "B" Division. Westport found it, however, when it mattered the most.
Westport scored seven of the final eight points to pull out a dramatic 35-33 victory to win the crown at Danbury High School. Gabi Titlebaum scored 10 points to lead Westport, while Maggie Fair scored five of her seven points in the fourth quarter and Kelsey Bobrow hit four free throws down the stretch.
"Patience was the key,'' coach Chris Lindwall said. "They're a very good defensive team. It was about us getting some confidence."
After a quick start, Westport went into an offensive dry spell and trailed 10-4 after the first period and 16-13 at halftime. Titlebaum scored five of Westport's 11 points in the fourth quarter to forge a 24-24 deadlock entering the final eight minutes. Westport took its first lead on a putback by Fair at 26-25 with 7:03 to play. Ridgefield responded, however, with a 7-2 run to go up 32-28 with 4:27 remaining.
Westport rallied in the final two minutes. After a free throw by Fair and two by Bobrow sliced Ridgefield's lead to one, Fair converted a pretty feed from Madeline Schemel to put Westport ahead, 33-23, with 37 seconds left. After Ridgefield missed two free throws, Bobrow hit a pair of free throws with 23.9 seconds left. Ridgefield made a free throw with 16 seconds left and got the ball back after Westport missed at the free throw line. But it couldn't get the game-tying basket.
"We missed a couple of layups early, but we came through at the end,'' Lindwall said. "I can't be more proud of the girls."
Westport lost to Ridgefield, 30-21, on Feb. 17. It won its first two tournament games over Brookfield and Greenwich before earning the rematch with Ridgefield.
Team members include Kelsey Bobrow, Zoe Brown, Maggie Fair, Abigail Lustig, Shoshana Lynfield, Tessa Mall, Megan Root, Kate Rubin, Madeline Schemel, Jessica Taets and Gabi Titlebaum.
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