eschickler@bcnnew.com

The Weston High girls basketball team defeated Abbott Tech 54-12 in its home-opener on Friday. Weston raised its record to 2-1. Abbott Tech dropped to 2-1.

The game was more lopsided than the final score indicated, as the Lady Trojans, who led 37-5 at the half, stopped pressing in the second half and used mostly JV players in the fourth quarter.

"I'm proud of the kids, they worked hard," said Weston coach Pat Cole.

Lady Trojan senior captain Jessica Welsh said, "We went into the game with a practical vision of how well we can play and I'm happy with how we played."

Weston's press forced 13 Lady Wolverine first-half turnovers, 18 overall. Juniors Christina Welsh (Jessica's sister) and Hannah Hutchins (six points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals, one forced turnover) were instrumental in forcing turnovers off the pass with the younger Welsh (seven points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal, four forced turnovers) getting an easy layup off a steal.

"Coach always tells us to keep our hands up and if we create enough disruption, that either I or a teammate gets the steal," said Christina Welsh.

Sophomore Ellie Martin (12 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, three steals) benefitted from the pressure applied by Christina Welsh and Hutchins. Martin also nailed her shots in the paint.

"It's because my teammates were able to get me the ball and it's the success of the entire team," said Martin. "Christina and Hannah made the entry passes and they had the hard part."

The Lady Trojans dominated the glass with junior Dakota Sloop (seven points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one block) and Martin leading the way.

"It was a matter of wanting it toward the end," said Sloop.

Martin said, "We boxed out really well and it came my way."

Christina Welsh deftly set up the offense with crisp passes and she would have had more than 10 assists if her teammates didn't miss easy shots, the one negative for Weston in this lopsided victory.

"I give credit to my teammates because they got open and I had a good passing angle," said the younger Welsh.

Cole is aware that his team missed some easy shots and he hopes to correct it. He said, "It's an area we need to improve on and we'll work on it in practice."

Sloop is developing a shooting touch and has improved offensively since last year.

"Our opponents give us an opportunity to work on scoring in different ways and we took advantage of it," said Sloop.

Jessica Welsh (13 points, three rebounds, one steal, two forced turnovers) beat Abbott Tech inside and out, hitting a 3-pointer and two layups, one on a coast-to-coast play off of a steal. The elder Welsh also helped her sister and Hutchins apply pressure on the Lady Wolverines.

Freshman Taylor Swanson (five points, four rebounds, five assists, three forced turnovers) showed she's adjusting well to the varsity level). Swanson located her teammates for easy baskets and harassed Abbott Tech into making bad passes.

Sophomores Sarah Schwartz (four points, one rebound, one blocked shot) and Lianna Hursh (three rebounds, two assists) and freshmen Anna Mahoney (one three blocked shots), Emily Savitsky (one rebound, one assist), Zoe Zegers (one rebound) and Allegra Schiff (one steal) also contributed.

Weston is confident that it will continue to improve as the season progresses. The return of senior captains Brittany Swanson and Natalie Odierna, who are out sick, will only help the Lady Trojans.

"If we're healthy and get the shot opportunities, I'm happy," said Cole.

Jessica Welsh said, "We are disappointed with our [season-opening 40-38] loss at Brookfield, but we had strong practices and we're in a good place. We have to work on things but I think we can still recover and get 15 wins."