Quarterfinal victory? Dunn it

CHICOPEE – Westfield senior guard Aidan Dunn and the Bombers saved their best for last.
Everything came together for No. 5 Westfield in the second half of a West Division 1 boys basketball quarterfinal as the Bombers rallied past fourth-seeded Chicopee Comp 70-58 Saturday on the road.
Dunn finished with 15 points, 14 of which came in the second half. He made four 3-pointers.
“Sophomore year, we didn’t make the playoffs; last year, we only made preliminaries,” Dunn said. “Especially for the seniors, I was not going to let this be our last game. Since sixth grade, we’ve been dreaming about this. I wasn’t going to let it stop here.”
The comeback began late in the first half.
Rather than go into the half trailing by nearly double-digits, Westfield’s Luis Castro hit a shot from well beyond half-court to send the Bombers (14-7) into the half trailing 35-29.

Senior guard Aidan Dunn soars to the hoop during as Javi Santos looks on at left for Westfield. Dunn and Santos were instrumental in orchestrating a Bombers basketball victory in a West Division 1 boys basketball quarterfinal Saturday at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. (Staff photo)

“That was a huge momentum shift,” Dunn said.
Dunn and Kam Wells (16 points) came out early in the second half and hit jump shots, but Chicopee Comp (15-6) responded with 3-point shots each time.
Javi Santos (16 points) converted an and-one to pull Westfield within 41-36 with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter. Dunn drained a three. Castro followed with a two to tie it 41-all. Mike Hall put the Bombers out front 44-41 with a three. Comp tied it 44-44.
Dunn, Tony Torres, and Santos hit consecutive buckets to give Westfield a six-point lead. The two teams exchanged baskets in the final seconds of the quarter and led 52-46 going into the final quarter.
Westfield opened the fourth quarter with a 14-2 run to effectively end it.
Dunn hit consecutive shots from beyond the arc. The first hit the front rim on a shot from the top of the key, but got the roll as it dropped through the net. The second came from the corner to put the Bombers up 58-46.
Castro converted an open lay-up in transition, and Santos hit two straight two’s and two free throws to make it 66-48 late.
The Bombers players on the court slapped hands in the final seconds as Dunn protected the ball.
“Drew Lebel came to play,” Westfield coach Joe Balestracci said of Chicopee Comp’s guard, who exploded for 15 points in the second quarter. The Bombers shut him out in the second half.
“It was impressive,” Balestracci said. “They are well-coached. (Adrian) Bunilla is a heck of a player too, and (Bryan) Alinbo.”
Bunilla and Alinbo finished with 12 points apiece.
“We pushed the tempo (in the second half),” Balestracci said. “We were almost walking up the court in the first half, but we turned up the volume … and the pace of play.”
The noise figures to get louder for Westfield in the next round as the Bombers advance to the D1 semifinals where they will take on unbeaten, top-seeded Central (20-0). The game will be played Tues., March 6 at Western New England University. Tip-off is at 8:15 p.m.

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