In possibly the biggest upset in New Jersey youth travel basketball this winter, the Westfield PAL academy girls’ seventh grade basketball team upset the no. 1 ranked team in the Central Jersey Basketball League to reach its third League finals in four seasons at the Travel A-level last weekend.
Following back-to-back Garden State League championships in fourth and fifth grade, the Westfield PAL squad shocked the Central Jersey field this winter by knocking off the teams with the two best records entering the tournament on their way to another championship game.
Point guard Catie Carayannopoulos was the high scorer and averaged five steals and over 13 rebounds per game in the team’s three playoff wins to reach the championship game, including 21 points in the quarterfinals against the tournament’s top seed and 19 points and 18 rebounds in the team’s Final Four upset. Said one of the PAL’s coaches, “Catie has dominated this tournament against top competition and has the potential to play Division One college basketball.”
The PAL’s highly successful playoff run was the result of outstanding teamwork, including the consistently excellent floor game of point guard Priscilla Dayon, dead-eye outside shooting from Natalie Debowski, clutch free throw shooting by Keira Deignan and Laura Oliveira, tremendous rebounding from Mila Talati and outstanding guard play from Sophia Gandhi, Natalie Horne and Ruby McGurn.
“I’d like to thank Westfield PAL President John Dugan, Executive Director Ron Allen and the other members of the Westfield PAL’s Board for their tremendous support of our academy girls’ basketball program during the past six years and their invaluable community service in Westfield and throughout Union County,” said the PAL coach. “Coaches David Oliveira, Shefali Gandhi and I are very proud of the girls.”