In a game that featured high intensity, relentless defense and clutch shooting down the stretch, the Madison High School girls basketball team was crowned champions of the Westfield High School Bulldog Bash with an overtime victory Dec. 29 over the host school, 41-36. It was Madison’s first Bulldog Bash title since 2005.
After scoring 80 points in its semifinal win against perennial private school power Paul VI, Madison was forced by the Bulldog defense to work hard for every point in the tournament final.
The Warhawks fell behind early and were down by 10 points midway through the second quarter. The first half ended with Madison trailing by 6 points, 23-17, but the Warhawks came out with renewed intensity in the third quarter and methodically cut into the Bulldog lead to trail by a single point at the start of the fourth quarter.
Madison took its first lead of the game midway through the final period and led by 2 points with only 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Unwilling to concede the championship, the host Bulldogs scored on a driving layup in the final seconds to tie the score and send the game into overtime.
The Warhawks scored the first and only basket of overtime on a 12-foot jump shot by Lindsey Joost. Westfield tried to respond; but with victory in sight Madison dug in defensively and closed out the game with clutch free throws to claim the championship.
Madison freshman forward Kelly Koshuta led the Lady Warhawks in scoring with 17 points, while junior guard Megan Henshaw scored 8 points, senior guard Lindsey Joost scored 7 points and sophomore guard Katie Kerrigan scored 3 points. Junior guard Megan LeDuc was outstanding down the stretch. With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter and in overtime, LeDuc came up big with a timely steal and crucial free throws, sinking her final 5-6 attempts to seal the victory.
The Westfield Bulldogs were led by sharp-shooting senior guard Maggie McInturff, who scored 13 points, including a driving layup that sent the game into overtime. Junior forward Meghan DiPippa also scored 12 points for the Bulldogs. McInturff was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Kelly Koshuta was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Megan Henshaw and Katie Kerrigan were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
The Warhawks return home for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Tuesday against cross-town rival Marshall High School.
Albert Jacquez contributed reporting to this story.