The Fairfield Ludlowe girls basketball team, for the third straight year, played a tight game against Westhill.
Yet, thanks to Megan D'Alessandro, the Vikings' took a victory over the Falcons for the third straight year.
The senior guard scored a game-high 28 points, chipping in seven rebounds, as the Vikings claimed a 49-44 win over Ludlowe on Tuesday night.
"D'Alessandro is a tremendous player," Ludlowe coach Sarah Huntington said. "She just knows the game, she's amazing."
Steph Roones and Tyler Evans each scored eight, with Evans adding nine boards, as the Vikings claimed their sixth straight win. Westhill improved to 9-2, and claimed its third straight victory over the Falcons -- by a combined 10 points.
"I think both teams just play very hard and get after it," Westhill coach Mike King said.
Sophomore guard Caroline Pangallo led Ludlowe with 17 points. The Falcons had their three-game win streak snapped and are still just one win from clinching a Class LL state playoff berth.
"I wish we had gotten this one," Huntington said. "Tonight was a tough loss."
A 9-0 fourth-quarter run gave the Vikings the lead for good. A pair of 3-point plays by Evans and junior Krystal Dixon spearheaded the spurt, helping Westhill build a 49-42 lead.
"They both made the shot and hit the foul shot, which was huge for us," D'Alessandro said. "Once they made that, I knew we had the game."
The Vikings held Ludlowe to just one field goal over the final 5:44, outrebounding the Falcons 17-16 in the second half.
"I thought we did a better job of rebounding in the second half," King said. "It made a big difference."
Westhill outscored Ludlowe 17-14 in the third, with 10 coming from D'Alessandro. But the Falcons opened the fourth with a 6-0 run, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Julia Von Ehr and Julia Pangallo. Ludlowe last led 42-40 with 5:44 to play.
The Falcons led by as many as nine, with Pangallo hitting three of her four 3-pointers in the first half. The Falcons closed the first quarter with a 10-0 run, then enhanced their spurt to 15-4 midway through the second, building a 20-11 lead with 3:15 before halftime.
"In the first quarter we were not really playing as a team," D'Alessandro said. "We were down ... and we said `we need to play more like a team.'"
Led by D'Alessandro, that's what Westhill did, answering with a 12-0 run. Eight of Westhill's 12 came from the free-throw line.
D'Alessandro scored 15 of her 28 in the first half as Westhill held a 23-22 halftime advantage.
"She's a stud," King said. "When we need a basket, she steps up. That's just Meg, that's who she is."
Westhill 49, Ludlowe 44
WESTHILL 9-2, 7-2
Megan D'Alessandro 7 13-18 28 Tyler Evans 2 4-5 8 Steph Roones 2 4-5 8 Kat Grosso 1 0-0 2 Krystal Dixon 1 1-1 3 Edona Thaqi 0 0-0 0 Jackie Paasman 0 0-0 Totals 13 23-29 49.
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 7-4, 6-3
Caroline Pangallo 6 1-1 17 Julia Von Ehr 2 0-0 5 Pauline Blatt 3 1-2 7 Julia Pangallo 2 2-2 7 Pauline Blatt 2 2-3 6 Charlotte Blatt 1 0-2 2 Trish Auray 0 0-0 0 Regan Steed 0 0-0 0 Totals 16 6-10 44.
WESTHILL 7 16 17 9-- 49
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 15 7 14 8-- 44