Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WILLIAMSPORT — At just the right time of the year, Westfall’s girls seem to be clicking on all cylinders.
The Mustangs welcomed Paint Valley to The Dome on Tuesday in Scioto Valley Conference action and sent the Bearcats back on the road with a 47-45 loss.
It was a victory spearheaded by Mahaley Farmer and Gabby Patete, but also one that required a complete team effort. It also avenged a first round loss to PV by a 15-point margin.
“I was out for revenge a little bit. I didn’t play well last time and I knew I had to pick it up,” Patete said. “But everybody did. The key to success was really working on the pick and roll and defending, hedging and forcing them out so we don’t bet off the dribble. That was our main focus.”
While Westfall (13-5, 7-5 SVC) didn’t exactly blow the doors off the hinges in the first quarter offensively, the Mustangs’ defense did its job and then some. Farmer scored at the 5:25 and 1:58 marks while the Bearcats didn’t sink a single field goal in the opening eight minutes.
The result was a 5-2 lead over Paint Valley (10-7, 6-5 SVC) heading to the second … after what Westfall coach Zane Miller called “the best defensive quarter we’ve had this season.”
“In the first quarter, we came out focused on defense and hedging the ball and just stopped them from progressing towards the basket,” Farmer said. “For me, scoring, I did it with my teammates. I couldn’t do that without them. They get me open, they get me open looks and I try to do the same for them. We worked as a team. It was really nice.”
The Bearcats finally tallied their first field goal with 6:34 left in the second before Farmer buried a pair of freebies to make it an 8-4 score. PV’s Abbi Stanforth then nailed back-to-back lay-ups, tying the game, before Olivia Smith gave the Bearcats an 11-10 lead with 2:11 remaining.
Smith scored again with 1:57 left, making it 13-10, before Stanforth buried a triple at the 1:36 mark, pushing the lead to 16-10. But in the next 73 ticks, Westfall went on a 7-0 run — thanks to Patete and Marissa Mullins — to take a 17-16 lead into the break.
“We’re getting looks down at Marissa in the post and then getting open looks on [the perimeter] when [the defense] collapses on her,” Patete said. “It’s working really well.”
In the third, Grace Wolfe and Farmer scored back-to-back buckets to give Westfall a 25-21 edge. From that point forward, the Mustangs never trailed.
Patete and Farmer worked together to cap a 12-0 run, one that spanned six-plus minutes. By the beginning of the final quarter, Westfall had a comfortable 33-21 advantage.
PHOTOS: Images from Westfall’s win over Paint Valley
But the Bearcats wouldn’t go away quietly.
After Alyssa Wyman put Westfall ahead 35-23, PV’s Hanna Uhrig scored Kendall Dye sparked a 16-5 run — boosted by three triples at 5:27, 3:03 and 2:32 to play.
With Westfall’s lead trimmed to one at 40-39, Farmer delivered back-to-back scores to make it 44-39. Dye answered with the front end of two free throws before Farmer provided the knockout blow.
With 53.1 seconds left, the senior guard drove through the lane and was fouled while scoring. She hit the ensuing free throw attempt, making it a 47-40 ballgame and, ultimately, putting the game out of reach.
“Our team definitely has good team chemistry. We hang out after school and that helps because we bring that out onto the court,” Patete said. “That’s really improved a lot. At the beginning of the season, COVID was really heavy and we were quarantined at one point. Once we got out of that, and got together, it really helped.”
Farmer ended the night with a game-high 20 points alongside eight rebounds and four assists. Patete added 13 points, Wyman had six points and Mullins tallied five points, eight rebounds, three assists and seven blocks.
Uhrig led Paint Valley with 13 points while Dye added 11 points and five rebounds. Stanforth had 11 points and six boards, and Smith added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Paint Valley is back in action on Thursday, hosting Piketon, while Westfall returns to the court on Saturday, hosting New Hope Christian Academy.
“I think it’s a big change. We came out [this season] and were really all over the place. We weren’t in sync. I think, now, we’re getting in that sync and it’s working,” Farmer said.
Paint Valley: 2-14-5-24 — 45
Westfall: 5-12-16-14 — 47
Paint Valley: 16-54 FG, 7-13 FT, 6-23 3pt., 33 rebounds (Smith 11), 14 turnovers, 3 assists (McFadden 2). Scoring: Uhrig 13, Dye 11, Stanforth 11, Smith 9, McFadden 1.
Westfall: 18-42 FG, 9-12 FT, 2-9 3pt., 26 rebounds (Mullins 8, Farmer 8), 15 turnovers, 8 assists (Farmer 4). Scoring: Farmer 20, Patete 13, Wyman 6, Mullins 5, Wolfe 3.