Westview's girls basketball team lost just twice last season and both defeats were to top teams they saw little or none of in the regular season.
A tougher schedule plus the return of four starters and veteran team are a recipe coach Lisa Contreras hopes can take the Lady Knights a little further this campaign.
A strong first half offensively from Airianna Sesma, Marissa Rincon and Rene Contreras plus an effective press for the better part of three quarters Tuesday night led Westview to a 52-30 romp over Chandler at Chandler's House of Payne Gymnasium.
Westview, which opened its season last week in HIghland's Thanksgiving Tournament with six games and a fourth-place finish, concluded the tourney at 4-2. They played some of the traditional powers in Division I from the East Valley, an ingredient missing from its slate last year. The Lady Knights beat Mesa Mountain View by two, and lost by one to Highland and three to Mesquite. Last year Westview lost to St, Mary's in its section final and to Hamilton in the state tournament.
“There are still things we need to work on,” Contreras said after beating Chandler. “We didn't see East Valley teams last year so I was glad to see our schedule this year had us in the Highland tournament and the Nike (Tournament of Champions). Highland was a good experience and I think the NIke will be, too.”
Westview dominated Tuesday again playing an East Valley opponent in Chandler. Westview's pressure and ball movement took a toll on Chandler quickly as the Lady Knights raced to a 19-8 lead after the first period.
Sesma, Rincon and Rene Contreras did the bulk of the damage combining for 16 of the 19 points. Good, crisp passing and finding the open player in the opening period netted them a half dozen good looks from three-point range.Westview made four threes in the first quarter and five in the first half. Sesma led Westview with 13 points — all in the first half. Rincon added 11 and Jada Smith chipped in 10. Rene Contreras finished with eight.
Westview stretched the lead to 35-11 at halftime, forcing 17 Chandler turnovers in the half and limiting the Lady Wolves to 3-of-19 shooting from the field. Chandler managed six points and one-made field goal combined in the second and third quarters. Westview led 46-14 after three quarters initiating a running clock in the fourth.
“The two losses and three close games we had in the Highland tournament made us work harder at practice Monday,” Contreras said. “I was pleased the way we played the first half. When we pulled off the press in the second half we seemed to lose energy and focus.”
Chandler, a Division I staple in the final eight or better the last four years under coach Zon Thompson, is Thompson's most inexperienced teams to start the season in many years. They returned six players with varsity experience, but opening with a top five team preseason in Division I was a tall order without a legitimate starter from last year back.
The Lady Wolves were clearly overmatched in the opener, but often have been a better team in January and February than in December.They returned six players with varsity experience
Junior Micaela Clayton led Chandler with 11 points — all in the fourth period. Junior Sam Miller added 10.