Westport girls win playoff opener against Cape Cod Academy

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Visiting Cape Cod Academy got a taste Wednesday of the swarming defense that has propelled the Westport girls basketball team all season long.

From the outset in the teams' playoff opener, Cape Cod struggled to get the ball up the court, turning the ball over again and again en-route to Westport’s 68-37 playoff victory.

But early on, it was not as easy as that final score suggested, as Westport had trouble converting turnovers to points — at one point in the first quarter shooting just six of 22 from the field. That cold shooting enabled Cape Cod to fight back to within 30-23 at one point.

At the half, Westport Coach Mike Ponte told his young team to take a deep breath and remember the sort of play that led them to a 19-1 regular season.

And the team responded. After one early Cape Cod scoring flurry, Westport’s effort began paying off with points.

Eighth grader Laura Mendell led Wildcat scorers with 23 points, ten of them in the third quarter. Kara Figueiredo scored 18, and seventh grader Laila Silver added a dozen, most of them in the second half.

Westport next plays Diman on Friday. at 6:30 p.m. in Westport’s gym. The Wildcats beat Diman twice during the regular season, 58-35 in December, and 58-48 on February 15.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.