Livingston, Donaldson ignite Westhill
STAMFORD -- Coming in as the team to beat in the FCIAC, the Westhill boys basketball team might have been feeling a little bit of that pressure in the first quarter of the opening game of the season against Darien.
Viking guards Jeremiah Livingston and CJ Donaldson were shut out in the first quarter but came alive in the second with Livingston scoring 14 and Donaldson adding nine as the Vikings closed out the half on a 22-5 run, leading 37-20 at the break.
"They turned it up on the defensive end and that is basically what we do," Westhill coach Howard White said. "(Donaldson and Livingston) totally took the game over. That is exactly what I want them to do was step up and take that game over."
Livingston finished with a game-high 20 points and Donaldson ended with 15.
Carter Scott had 14 and Alex Preston had 12 for Darien (0-2).
Darien, which only suited nine players, led 15-13 in the second quarter when Preston went to the bench with two fouls, not coincidentally followed by a 15-0 run by the Vikings.
"It's tough because Alex is a great player," first-year Darien head coach Charoy Bentley said. "He's our leader out there and when your leader goes down, it is tough to recover from that. He came back in the second half and started playing his game again, continuing where he left off."
By the time, Preston returned the Blue Wave were in too big of a hole, though they outscored the Vikings in the third quarter.
Ultimately Westhill's speed, experience and depth wore down the Blue Wave.
"We had a little first-game jitters and once we got those out, we were fine," Livingston said. "It's great to have a bench this year. Last year we struggled when guys came out but this year we are on track."
The highlight of the game came on a missed shot in the second quarter, which Livingston rebounded and dunked home, sending the large crowd into a frenzy.
White said some of the new varsity players were not quite ready for the atmosphere of opening night, but adjusted quickly.
"Some of the guys on the bench, this is their first opportunity to play varsity," White said. "They didn't really know what to expect with the big turnout tonight and they got a little nervous and that is going to happen in the first game but in the second quarter we turned up the defense."
Westhill 64, Darien 43
Westhill (1-0): Brendon Thomas 2 3-3 7; Lenold Auguste 1 1-2 3; Tyrell Alexander 2 0-0 4; CJ Donaldson 6 3-4 15; Jeremiah Livingston 9 2-2 20; Juan De La Cruz 3 0-3 6; Samir Johnson 2 0-0 4; Gio Noel 1 0-0 3. Totals: 26 9-14 64
Darien (0-1): Alex Preston 5 2-6 12; Casey Brown 3 0-2 6; Jackson Ryan 1 4-7 7; Carter Scott 3 6-6 14; Geoff Pernon 2 0-0 4. Totals: 14 12-21 43
3-Point field goals: D -- Scott 2, Ryan
DARIEN 10 10 12 11--43
WESTHILL 7 30 11 14-- 64