WESTFIELD – Entering the second quarter with a three-point lead, Patrick School third-year head coach Damel Ling shouted this instruction to his players: “start to take some 3s!”
The Celtics had five girls with exactly one two-point field goal for all of their first quarter scoring. That was not the case for the next eight minutes.
That’s where senior reserve Dana Hill made her presence felt in a big way. Hill made her first two 3-point attempts – both from the right side and back-to-back – for the first points of the second quarter.
She then made her third 3 with less than four minutes to go in the second to give the Celtics their first of two 11-point leads before intermission.
Hill took her coach’s advice wisely. Her scoring in the second quarter, she led all players with nine in the period, began a separation that kept the visiting parochial school in front the entire way.
Hill, who paced the Celtics with 12 points on four 3-pointers, was one of 10 Patrick School players who scored against host Westfield. The Celtics led from start to finish in producing a decisive 50-33 triumph in Friday night’s Union County Conference-Watchung Division contest at Westfield.
“When many of us score, not just one or two players, we all do much better,” said Hill, who made three of her 3s in the second quarter and her last – nothing but bottom of the net from the left side – in the third. “We then start to play off each other.”
As a result, Patrick School won for the second straight time to improve to 6-11 overall and 5-1 in the Watchung Division. The defending champion Celtics have two more division games remaining – home against Cranford Tuesday afternoon and vs. Oak Knoll Thursday night. Patrick School beat both teams the first time.
Patrick School also defeated Westfield 55-44 at home on Jan. 11.
Westfield, which had a five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 12-6 overall and 5-2 in the five-team Watchung Division, will wrap its division schedule at home against Cranford on Feb. 9. Westfield finished third in the division last year.
Patrick School also clinched the top seed for the Union County Tournament, which will be seeded Tuesday morning. Westfield should get the second seed based on sweeping Roselle Catholic, which split with Patrick School. Defending champion RC will most likely be the third seed, with Kent Place – the UCC’s Valley Division leader – among the candidates for the fourth.
Patrick School won the UCT two years ago for the second time and Roselle Catholic last year for the sixth. Patrick School and Roselle Catholic also split in Watchung Division play a year ago.
Westfield was led offensively by junior Faith Dobosiewicz, who scored 11, including two 3-pointers.
Both team’s leading scorers – Hill for Patrick School and Dobosiewicz for Westfield – did not start.
Westfield junior guard Ali Lisanti led the Blue Devils in 3-pointers, sinking three, and finished with nine points. Senior forward Samantha Stravach was strong on the boards again, leading Westfield with 10.
The closest Westfield got was 8-7 after Dobosiewicz hit her first 3. The Celtics responded with an 8-0 run that included Hill’s first two baskets.
Only two other times this year was Westfield held to less than 33 points – vs. Hunterdon Central 41-18 on Dec. 26 and its loss before its five-game winning streak – at home against Chatham 47-32 on Jan. 17.
“Our effort was there defensively,” Ling said. “It was specifically our energy, fighting through things. I was very happy with that. Our bigs (Bianca Glover, Shanice Simpson and Toni Renee Blanford) also took away the middle.”
Obviously, the message Ling sent about wanting his players to start taking long-range shots was not lost on Hill.
“Dana needed a game like this, her shooting has been up and down,” Ling said. “Her confidence is tied to making those kinds of shots.”
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-WATCHUNG DIVISION GAME
Patrick School (6-11, 5-1) 10 16 14 10 – 50
Westfield (12-6, 5-2) 07 08 13 05 – 33
PATRICK SCHOOL CELTICS (50):
25-Shanice Simpson, sophomore, 2-0-0-4
33-Niaisya Ervin, sophomore, 2-1-0-7
2-Lashae Dwyer, sophomore, 1-0-3-5
15-Bianca Glover, senior, 3-0-0-6
0-Toni Renee Blanford, senior, 2-0-0-4
23-Taylor Crystian, junior, 1-0-4-6
1-Asonah Alexander, senior, 0-0-1-1
4-Dana Hill, senior, 0-4-0-12
5-Quanaijah McDowell, senior, 1-0-0-2
13-Camila Valencia, senior, 0-1-0-3
10-Aliyah Williams, senior, 0-0-0-0
11-Helena Lasic, freshman, 0-0-0-0
34-Brianna Bell, freshman, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Alexander, Williams,
McDowell, Blanford, Glover.
WESTFIELD BLUE DEVILS (33):
23-Faith Dobosiewicz, junior, 1-2-3-11
11-Ali Lisanti, junior, 0-3-0-9
22-Samantha Stravach, senior, 1-0-0-2
3-Caroline Dwyer, junior, 0-1-0-3
21-Chole Kreusser, freshman, 3-0-0-6
5-Charlotte Dursee, sophomore, 1-0-0-2
33-Grace Klag, freshman, 0-0-0-0
10-Lily Maz, senior, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Kreusser, Klag,
Dursee, Lisanti, Stravach.