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Westtown sweeps Friends' League championships

02/19/2022, 9:00am EST
By Matthew Ryan

Matthew Ryan (@matthewryan02)

Dominating the Friends School League has been the norm for Westtown this season.

Entering the league championship game, the closest conference game the Moose had played was a 29-point victory over Germantown Friends in January. And on Friday, the two teams faced off again, but this time, everything was on the line.

But much like the first contest, Westtown was far too much for the Tigers, dominating from early on to capture the league title, 66-31.

“It feels great, for the kids,” Westtown head coach Fran Burbidge said of winning the league. “I mean, they’ve worked really, really hard. They’ve put a lot of time in on their own. They’re in the gym a lot.”

Westtown was led in the championship game by senior wing Kaylene Smikle, who finished with a game-high 29 points. This was the Rutgers commit’s first-ever league title as she transferred to Westtown for her junior season, which didn’t have a championship because of the pandemic.

Westtown's girls celebrate their Friends' Schools League championship. (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)

For the Moose, it was their fourth overall FSL Championship and second in a row after winning back in 2020. Since Burbidge and associate head coach Doug West — the former Villanova star and NBA player who Burbidge called an equal in terms of coaching role on the team — arrived at Westtown, the Moose have captured two league titles and only lost one FSL game.

Throughout the season, Westtown has had a consistent approach. There’s no ‘this game’s a big one, let’s try extra hard’ or ‘this team is bad, let’s not give it our all.’ The mindset has been go all out every night, and it shows in the results.

Through the 11 game league schedule, Westtown only won by less than 40 points twice, both coming against Germantown Friends (20-5, 9-2 FSL). The Moose’s average margin of victory in the FSL is a whopping 48.6 points, headlined by five victories of more than 50 points and three by more than 60. With many of the games out of hand early, Burbidge mentioned that he’s not trying to run up the score, but in a league with a 30-second shot clock, there’s only so much he can do.

“They play one way, and that’s try to compete as hard as they can and try to be the best teammates they can be,” Burbidge said. “And I think the results of that are we don’t have the letdowns in that sense. We might have little periods of it, but overall we don’t have them because that’s the way we practice, and that’s the way they play.”

While Westtown has proved that they’re in a different tier than the rest of the FSL, the title of the best team in the state still looms. With Westtown sitting at 20-4 and 11-0 in the league, the Moose have earned themselves the number one overall seed in the PAISAA bracket.

Westtown will have a first-round bye and face the winner of Friends’ Central and Shipley in the second round on Saturday, February 26.

To take home the first PAISAA state championship in program history, the Moose are going to have to win three more games, including a championship game back at La Salle on March 5. It’s a tough task, but Smikle has her sights set on winning it all.

“I wanna be the first year to win states,” she said.

“All we’re thinking about are states. We’re playing for states, so we can win.”

By Quarter
G'town Friends:   7   |  10  |   4   |  10  ||  31
Westtown:          14  |  18  |  24  |  10  ||  66

Scoring
Germantown Friends: Clare Meyer 12, Martina Kiewek 8, Ndaia Blakney 5, Caroline Putman 4, Caroline Schure 2

Westtown: Kaylene Smikle 29, Zahra King 12, Meliah Van-Otoo 10, Grace Sundback 8, Olivia Wiggins 3, Helena Lasic 2, Mara Donnelly 2

~~~

Westtown boys win eighth FSL title in a row

Every time Westtown needed a bucket, Matt Mayock delivered.

After being held scoreless in the first half, the 6-foot-7 junior guard delivered two 3s in the third quarter to extend the Moose’s lead over Academy New Church to seven and eight.

Then in the final frame, Mayock again drilled two long balls to go up seven and then eight with under four minutes to go, the final one being the nail in the coffin as Westtown topped ANC, 60-52, to secure its eighth consecutive Friends School League title.

It was Mayock’s first FSL title game after there wasn’t one a season ago because of the pandemic, and he stepped up in a big way.

“I’ve known Matt since he was in fourth grade and been an assistant coach on his AAU teams. I think that was the best half of basketball, on both sides, that Matt Mayock’s ever played,” Westtown head coach Seth Berger said. “[If] he doesn’t play like that, there’s no chance we win the game. It’s not just his 3s. Obviously, he’s an elite, elite shooter from deep, but he rebounded the ball, he defended, he got on the floor. For sure Matt’s best half he’s ever played.”

It's an octo-peat for Westtown's boys, who've dominated the FSL over the last decade. (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)

Mayock finished with 14 points on the night, and his scoring load came in a game where the Moose needed it as the No. 1 player in the nation Dereck Lively II, who didn’t start the second half due to an ankle injury, managed only three points.

“It was just all thanks to my teammates,” Mayock said of his big game. “At halftime, I was a little down, didn’t play well in the first half, and they all lifted me up, told me to keep shooting so that’s what I did. They got it to me in good spots at the right time, I was just able to knock it down.”

“Once I saw the first one go in, that’s all a shooter needs. I saw one go in so I was like ‘alright, now I’m on.’”

The only Westtown player that surpassed Mayock’s scoring total was Penn State commit Jameel Brown, who finished with 22 points on five makes from beyond the arc.

After scoring just six points in the first quarter and 20 in the first half, Westtown found itself up two entering the third. But an offensive explosion in the third quarter, scoring 27 points — 11 of them coming from Brown — put the Moose (25-7, 11-0 FSL) up by nine heading into the final frame.

Elmarko Jackson, who had 20 points, threw down a thunderous dunk to cut ANC’s deficit to five with under four minutes to go, but Mayock’s aforementioned final 3 all but sealed up the championship.

For the Lions (16-6, 9-2), the loss marked the third consecutive FSL championship game they have fallen to Westtown in and their fifth straight game they have lost with a title on the line.

The win secured Westtown’s first overall seed in the PAISAA bracket, where it will look to repeat as champions after winning back in 2020.

Westtown won’t play again until Saturday, Feb. 25, but when the playoffs start, the Moose will be focused on going out there and doing one thing.

“We’re just ready to dominate," Lively said. "That’s all we’re doing."

By Quarter
ANC:          8   |  10  |  20  |  14  ||  52
Westtown:  6   |  14  |  27  |  13  ||  60

Scoring
ANC: Elmarko Jackson 20, Gabe Harris 12, Anthony McCall 9, Dylan Coq 6 and Isaiah Milien 5

Westtown: Jameel Brown 22, Matt Mayock 14, Quin Berger 11, Seyphon Triplett 7, Dereck Lively II 3, Wade Chiddick 3


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