The Westhill boys basketball team that you see before now is not the same one that took the court to start the season.
Just ask McMahon. Or Stamford. Or Greenwich, the latest FCIAC squad to find out just how serious the Vikings are about making another deep postseason run.
The catalyst for Westhill over the last seven games has been 6-foot-4 senior forward Chris Walters, who has cemented his status as one of the league’s top players since returning from a meniscus tear in his knee.
Walters, who came in averaging over 22 points per game, posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards Friday night as the surging Vikings rolled to a 61-43 victory over host Greenwich in a key FCIAC matchup.
It was the fifth win in the last six games for Westhill (8-4), which also defeated defending league champ Bassick in Walters’ return three weeks ago but had to forfeit the victory for using an ineligible player.
But that’s all behind the Vikings now. They’ve emerged as a serious threat behind the senior trio of Walters, 6-foot-5 Sam Dorissaint (11 points, 12 rebounds) and cat-quick point guard Tony Dobbinson, who finished with 10 points, four boards, four assists and four steals.
“Chris means so much to this team,” Westhill coach Howard White said. “We’re playing very well right now. We’re aggressive on defense, and we’ve got to keep up that same intensity because we’ve got some tough games coming up. We’re all jockeying for playoff seeding, so this was a big road win for us.”
The Cardinals (9-4) have been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises, but this simply wasn’t their night outside of an 18-point, six-rebound and four-block effort from senior Greg Donlic and 11 from junior Alex McMurray.
Early turnovers hurt, and so did 11 missed free throws.
“We controlled the tempo but our shots just weren’t falling and we didn’t rebound the way we needed to,” Greenwich coach Bill Brehm said. “(Walters) is a very good player, we’ve known that for a while. Thank God we won’t have to see him and (Dobbinson) anymore after this year.”
Clinging to a one-point lead early in the second quarter, the Vikings went on a 16-3 and would never look back. In the middle of that spurt was a posterizing dunk by Walters, who added three 3-pointers on the night as Westhill cruised to its third straight victory by at least 18 points.
“It feels really good to be back with my teammates and I think we’re finding our rhythm,” Walters said. “It all starts with defense, and that helps get us out in transition. We like to run, that’s when we’re at our best.”