During football season, the Westfield coaching staff would look to get senior Quentin Basil involved early with a big play, and the 6-foot-4 wide receiver often would answer with a long touchdown or big catch.
On Friday night on the basketball court against Chantilly, Basil again showcased his ability to respond when called upon to provide an early spark.
With the visiting Chargers (6-4, 0-1) playing a zone defense intent on stopping 6-foot-11 senior center Zach Elcano, Basil took on the scoring load and recorded 13 points in the first quarter.
Westfield did not trail en route to a 53-43 win over its Virginia AAA Concorde District rival.
“I think when I got my first couple transition layups, that kind of springed me off and I hit a couple jumpers,” said Basil, who caught two touchdown passes in the Bulldogs’ 40-14 win over Chantilly during football season. “I know I’m not the greatest outside shooter so I know I had to have a lot of transition baskets.”
Basil finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Elcano emerged in the second half; the American University recruit scored 11 of his 14 points after the break and finished with seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Together they helped the Bulldogs (10-3, 1-0) end their streak of seven consecutive losses to Chantilly.
In practice on Thursday, the Bulldogs prepared for a Chargers zone that would collapse on Elcano; they moved Basil to the free throw line, where he could get the ball and get to the rim. The adjustment worked.
Westfield opened the game with an 11-2 run spurred mainly by Basil, who hit five consecutive baskets to close the quarter, including a three-point play with 5.6 seconds left.
“He was just attacking,” Elcano said. “We put a scorer in the middle, he’s usually on the wing, so somebody could penetrate and shoot and he was just hot.”
The Chargers closed the deficit to six points at the half. But Elcano started to have more space to operate and his layup to start the fourth quarter opened the lead to 10.
Chantilly’s Brady Caslavka hit back-to-back three-pointers in 37 seconds to cut the Bulldogs’ advantage to 41-37 with 5 minutes 55 seconds remaining.
But Westfield hit 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to stymie any hopes for a Chargers comeback.
The win was the Bulldogs’ first in the rivalry since Feb. 23, 2008.
“It’s good to break the curse,” Elcano said.