Welsh pickpockets Newtown in leading Weston girls hoops to victory
The Weston High School girls basketball team took the early lead and held it from start to finish in a 61-44 at Newtown on Monday night. The Trojans were led by four players in double figures. Christina Welsh (six rebounds, five assists, one blocked shot) scored 18 points, including 10 on a perfect fourth-quarter performance from the foul line, and added a baker's dozen steals, several of which led to fastbreak scores. Weston remained perfect at 3-0 and Newtown fell to 2-1.
The Trojans who, historically, have struggled against Newtown, scored the first six points of the night and led 15-6 after one quarter of play. The Trojans went up by ten points early in the second before the host Nighthawks got to within 19-13. Weston's Ellie Martin scored two of her 17 on a baseline put-back for a 23-14 advantage with 3:28 to play in the opening half. Newtown hung in there and pulled to within 23-18 before Hannah Hutchins (three rebounds, two steals) scored three of her 12 points from downtown, and Martin (15 rebounds) added a basket down low for a 28-18 lead at the intermission.
In the third quarter, the Trojans kept answering Newtown's baskets, and held a 41-32 advantage going into the fourh. The Nighthawks climbed to within 45-40 and were within 47-44 with just 2:52 to play.
That's when Welsh took over. She sank a pair of free throws for a two-possession lead, 49-44 with 1:45 left.
After Hutchins scored two on a transition basket, making it 51-44 with 1:32 to play, Welsh's teammates continued to get the sharp shooter the ball and she was fouled repeatedly as Newtown tried to come back. Welsh sank eight free throws in the final 1:12 to seal the win.
"We came out real strong which I was very pleased to see and the girls battled all night long. They played a lot of minutes -- our starters. They got a little tired there in the fourth quarter but battled through it and played some great D," Weston Coach Dan Rosen said. "Christina was unbelievable tonight -- all the free throws, she had 13 steals, controlled the game -- and I couldn't be more proud of the girls."
Dakota Sloop (nine rebounds, one blocked shot), who played a strong game down low, getting to key rebounds to thwart Newtown on one end and give her team new life at the other, tallied 10 points.
Weston had beaten Oxford and New London handily in the first two games, and Rosen was thrilled that his team pulled out a hard-fought victory against a tough SWC foe.
"This was a really good win against a good team," Rosen said. "We're going to continue to build off it. The energy is great and the girls believe."
Weston hosts Immaculate tomorrow at 7 p.m. and will visit Wilton on Tuesday at 4 p.m.