MIAA girls basketball: Big first half powers No. 5 Westport past No. 12 Franklin Tech, 50-31, in Div. 5 Round of 16

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau goes up for a layup while defended by Greenfield’s Anna Bucala during the Western Mass. Class C tournament. 

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau goes up for a layup while defended by Greenfield’s Anna Bucala during the Western Mass. Class C tournament.  STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 03-06-2024 7:40 PM

WESTPORT — The Westport defense made life difficult for the Franklin Tech girls basketball team on Wednesday in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 16.

The fifth-seeded Wildcats smothered the No. 12 Eagles and didn't give them any easy looks at the rim early, holding Tech to just one point in the first quarter and four in the second quarter to take a commanding 29-5 lead at the half.

Franklin Tech had just one field goal — a layup with the foul from Hannah Gilbert — in the first half.

The Eagles found their footing offensively in the second half but it was too late at that point, as Westport came away with a 50-31 victory. 

The Wildcats (21-1) advanced to play at No. 4 Renaissance in the state quarterfinals.

“We got a lot of good looks early on, they just weren’t falling,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “The girls battled right to the end. I can’t ask anything more from this group.” 

It was the second straight season the Eagles (19-5) reached the Round of 16. 

It was the final game for seniors Trinity Doane, Kyra Goodell, Lea Chapman and Kait Trudeau, each playing a pivotal role in Franklin Tech winning tournament games the last two years, as well as taking home another state vocational title this winter. 

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Gamache noted how tough it will be to lose each of those players, but said they have set the bar for what he expects from all players moving forward. 

“Our four seniors have done amazing things for this program,” Gamache said. “They started off in the Covid year which is a tough spot to start. They learned a lot from it, competed at a high level and set the bar high for the girls behind them. I’ll miss those kids and the impact they made on the program. Now the young kids need to step up their game.” 

Sarah Perry got Westport going with a basket early before Julia George knocked down four from the line to give the Wildcats an early 6-0 lead.

Cordelia Guerin put Franklin Tech on the board with a free throw but Korynne Holden scored a basket while Skylar Rezendes and Tess Silvia made free throws to give Westport a 10-1 lead after eight minutes.

The Wildcats opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run to take control of the game. Holden got inside for a pair of baskets, Rezendes knocked down a jumper before George swished a 3, putting Westport ahead 19-1.

Gilbert's bucket halted the run but the Wildcats ripped off eight straight thanks to its press, with baskets coming from Meghan Malloy, Holden and Rezendes (2).

Guerin made a pair from the line but Jenna Eggy closed out the half with a basket inside that gave Westport its 29-5 lead at the half.

“They moved the ball really well,” Gamache said of Westport. “They can shoot it. They played tough defensively and they were pretty physical. I wish them the best luck the rest of the way. It won’t be an easy road for them.” 

Chapman got going for Franklin Tech in the third quarter, scoring six points in the frame. Goodell added a basket as well, but Holden knocked down a pair of 3s while Perry, Rezendes and Molloy scored baskets for the Wildcats, giving them a 42-13 lead after three quarters. 

It was all Franklin Tech in the fourth quarter, as it outscored Westport 18-8 in the frame. 

Gilbert knocked down a pair of 3s and got to the line for two, Chapman scored a pair of baskets and added three shots from the charity stripe, Brayleigh Burgh scored in transition while Haleigh Benoit added a free throw for the Eagles. 

Chapman finished with 13 points, Gilbert scored 10 points while Guerin tallied three points for Franklin Tech. Holden led the Wildcats with 19 points.