WHS beats Sabis in OT, 63-58

Westfield’s Casey Willey (2) sets to make a pass past Sabis’s Xavier Garcias (4) on Monday night in Wilbraham. Garcias reached his 1,000th career point in the game, but the Bombers prevailed. (Photo by Chris Putz)

WILBRAHAM – The Westfield High School boys’ basketball team overcame a tough shooting night Monday, and Sabis guard Xavier Garcias’s 1,000-point celebration for a big road win. The Bombers won in overtime, 63-58.
It was an epic victory for Westfield, which had never won at Sabis. The Bulldogs have averaged less than one loss per season at home over the last decade.
“It was a big win – we were battling,” said Westfield senior forward Devin Wells, who finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. “We tried to not focus (on the) 1,000. It helped our defensive intensity.”
Casey Willey scored 15 points with three 3-pointers, including a key basket – the first field goal from either team in overtime – from beyond the arc with 3:30 remaining to give Westfield a 57-54 lead. Amarie Brown hit a 2 to trim the advantage to one. Connor Sas responded for the Bombers with two free throws at the 2:51 mark to push the lead back to three, 59-56. Wells scored with 1:04 remaining to give his team a five-point lead.
Brown scored with less than a minute left. D.J. Florek canned two free throws for Westfield with 28.2 ticks to cancel out the Sabis’ 2. Garcias lofted a 3-pointer in the final seconds that rimmed in and out. Time ran out on the Bulldogs.
“We were 2-3, then 3-3, then 4-3,” said Wells, whose team is now 5-3. “We have a little cushion now. If we lose, we won’t be back to .500 or below.”
It was a close battle throughout, especially in the fourth quarter after Garcias scored his 1,000th career point on a free throw with 7:21 remaining.
The teams traded baskets for much of the quarter before Westfield went on a 10-3 run over a three-minute span to go up 53-46 with 1:26 on the clock. Still, Sabis rallied behind Nelson Zoyas, Jr.
Zoyas (30 points) made 3-of-4 from the free throw line and a 2-pointer in the final 1:18 of the fourth quarter – with just one Wells’ free throw in between – and Jonathan Beadle hit a putback with less than 10 seconds left to tie the game at 54. Wells missed a desperation 3 as time expired.
“We had a chance to put the dagger in, but we didn’t,” Westfield coach Bill Daley said. “Garcias was going to get his 1,000. We did a great job on him in the first half. The kid’s a good player. We did a great job on Zoyas, and then we just fell asleep. …But we played really well in overtime.”
It does not get much easier for Westfield. The Bombers travel to Putnam on Wednesday to take on the undefeated Beavers (9-0) at 7 p.m.

Southwick-Tolland 50, Belchertown 46
Mark O’Neill scored game-high 29 points to lead Southwick. Rams’ Vinny Fortini had 12.

Ware 55, Gateway 45
Curtis Dowers (16 points, 8 rebounds), Calvin Dowers (13 points), and Ryan Fisk (9 points, 11 rebounds) produced for Gateway, which squandered a one-point lead to begin the fourth quarter.
Ware converted eight free throws in the final quarter.
“We just couldn’t chip away,” Gateway coach Mike O’Connell said.

Sun., Jan. 13
St. Mary 3, Taconic 1
Corey Wurster, Dominic Ceccarini, and Andrew Booth scored one goal apiece to lead St. Mary. Saints’ Peter Demos, Ashton Bourbonnais, Jonathan Spears, Nate Tremblay, and Zach Slepchuk each had one assist.
St. Mary goalie Zach Brown collected 19 saves.

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