Season 'going great' as undefeated Wildcats win again

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 1/20/23

“It’s going great, we are 7-0,” said senior co-captain Leah Sylvain of her senior season as the undefeated Westport girls basketball team laid a 39-16 beating on Southeastern RVT on …

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Season 'going great' as undefeated Wildcats win again


“It’s going great, we are 7-0,” said senior co-captain Leah Sylvain of her senior season as the undefeated Westport girls basketball team laid a 39-16 beating on Southeastern RVT on Tuesday night. Five Wildcats scored in the first quarter as the Wildcats ran out to a 14-2 lead. Sylvain led the team with 13 points, Korynne Holden scored 10, Sarah Perry netted 6, Jenna Egbe scored 4 and Julia George and Meghan Molloy each scored 3. 

Westport led 23-7 at halftime and it wasn’t even that close. Coach Gargiulo had to keep the Wildcats engaged in second half as they scored just 4 points in the third quarter. After a talking to between quarters, the Wildcats put up 12 points in the fourth quarter to close out the game. 

“It’s been so much fun,” Sylvain said of the season. “I love my team this year.”

“We’ve had some success with non-league play,” said head coach Jen Gargiulo. “We’ve grown both individually and as a team. We have a group of girls that encourage each other and stand behind each other and I think that’s why we are having success.” 

Plus Westport has an abundance of potential. The real question is, how far can they go? 

The Wildcats have all of the pieces. They have talented and scrappy guards in Sylvain, Holden and George, who can shoot from the outside and in Sylvain and Holden, can drive to the basket. They have fierce forwards in Molloy and Perry who can rebound and score inside. And they just got back Egbe, a sophomore center, that can rebound, start the fast break and help run the offense. They also have a good bench with Tess Sylvia, Shelby Orr, Gigi Mendes and Molly Costa. Co-Co-captains Syvain, Perry and Holden provide strong leadership, play hard every game and help out in practice. They also have terrific coaches in Jen Gargiulo and Nikita Soares, who know the game well, do their homework and have the team playing well. 

Egbe could be an x-factor.

The Wildcats went undefeated to this point, without her, but Egbe has a gift that the basketball gods love, a combination of skill and height. She is over 6 feet tall, has length and is very athletic. If she can get caught-up to speed and develop as in inside threat, it could really help their chances of making a deep playoff run. 

“Jenna has a confidence on the court,” said Perry. “She works hard and gets a bunch of rebounds. We all have real good chemistry. It’s showing on the court in our success. Every practice we work hard and everyone gives 100 percent.”

“One thing I love about this team is that they are never satisfied,” said Coach Gargiulo, “They want to continue to grow and push each other. They look to the next game and what we can do better.”


Ready to face West Bridgewater on Friday

Westport enters league play and will face their toughest test of the year as they travel to West Bridgewater on Friday at 5 p.m. Next week they play three games, a non-league game at Wareham on Monday at 6 p.m., then host Holbrook at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and travel to Avon at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.  

“We’ll be ready for West Bridgewater,”said Perry. 

“We need to stay consistent,” agreed Holden. “We are a really good team when we work together.”

“They have a very good group of players,” said Coach Gargiulo, “They are well coached and are always our Achilles heel.” 




Team building exercises to build good chemistry

The team sits in a circle to stretch before practice every day. “We sit in our circle and we have our question of the day,” said Sylvain, “So we can bond and get to know each other.” Questions like, “A favorite sauce to use for chicken nuggets?” 

“Sometimes there are disagreements,” said Holden. “Like, if you like or don’t like pickles. That was a heated one.” 

2023 by East Bay Media Group

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Jim McGaw

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.