The Westport PAL sixth grade girls travel team won the Fairfield County Basketball League A division title with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire 32-28 victory over its main rival, Ridgefield. The game was played last Sunday, March 8 at the Danbury PAL Center.

In winning the playoff championship game Westport (17-4, 5-3 FCBL), avenged losses to Ridgefield (32-5, 8-0) in both of their regular season matchups. Ridgefield, the defending champion, had also taken Westport down in the championship game last year.

Westport came out in a full court press, knowing it could not deny talented and well-coached Ridgefield from getting the ball up court, but trying to disrupt its offensive flow. This strategy was effective, with Westport jumping out to a 10--0 lead. Ridgefield slowly clawed back, closing to 22-21 in the third quarter. But Westport pulled away down the stretch, with Marley Lopez-Paul's free throw pushed the score to the final margin in a game in which Ridgefield never led and never tied.

Ball handlers Caroline Lau, Lexie Moskovit, Maya Reiner, Megan Cua, and Riley Lipman kept constant pressure in the backcourt, and engineered an offense with few turnovers. Ryan Weil, Clara Holleman, Lopez-Paul, Caroline DeLaurentis and Nicole Holmes never let Ridgefield work the ball inside, fought for every rebound and executed the offense they had worked all season to learn and improve.

At the championship trophy presentation, coach Johanna McNelis observed: "We knew what we could do, and that we'd need everything we had. That's what the ladies did. I'm very happy for them."

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