FAIRFIELD — As Parish Rowell goes, so goes the Westhill High School boys basketball team.
With Tyrell Alexander a given, there has been a direct correlation between how the Vikings play when Rowell has a strong game offensively.
On Saturday, against Stamford in the quarterfinal round of the FCIAC Tournament, with Alexander having a hard time with the ball, Rowell took over, putting up 17 points to lead the defending league champions to a 47-40 victory.
“Tyrell is our leader and he was struggling so someone had to take over and score,” said Rowell. “They look more to me and Tyrell as leaders because we played last year in the state championship. If it is not Tyrell it is me, if it is not me it is Tyrell. One of us has to go and score.”
Westhill (14-7), the No. 6 seed, will meet Trumbull in the semifinals, a rematch of last year’s Final Four game. The second-seeded Eagles outlasted Ridgefield in double overtime, 51-46.
Tyler Lasicki played well, with 11 points for Westhill. Alexander finished with 7, though he was a factor on the defensive end.
The same was true of Rowell, who often found himself matched up against Jay DeVito, the Black Knights’ top scorer. DeVito finished with 23 points, but except for a streak in the second quarter he was not able to take over play, and received little support.
Stamford (14-7), the No. 3 seed, won the teams’ regular season meeting but has slumped the last two weeks.
“It meant a lot to me. I was guarding (DeVito) and he scored 28, and we’ve been going at it since 5th grade and he’s been winning, winning, winning,” Rowell said. “Today it felt good to get this W.”
Stamford held a 28-27 halftime lead, but Westhill used an 11-1 run to take control. Rowell scored 7 points during the stretch.
Westhill coach Howard White, who was hospitalized following Wednesday’s win over Bridgeport Central, was released Friday and sat on the bench but let assistant Roberto Nieves run the team.
“I didn’t want to do it and I had no intentions of doing it this morning,” White said of coaching. “My family basically has been on me since getting out of the hospital.”
White said of Rowell, “Parish knew he had to take over and that’s what he did. He stepped up at the end of the game. He played good tonight.”
Trumbull defeated Ridgefield in overtime last Monday. The teams played two overtimes on Saturday in a game that was hard fought but sloppily played.
“Very competitive games,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said. “I think both teams showed a lot of heart. It seemed like whoever had the ball last was going to win the game.”
Trumbull (18-3), the second seed, took a 31-26 lead on a drive by Chris Lyons with 5:46 left in the third quarter when the Eagles’ Ben McCullough was hit with the first of two technical fouls in three minutes and was ejected.
It changed what little momentum there was in the game as the Tigers (11-10), the No. 7 seeds, took a 34-32 lead. Neither team led by more than two points until the Eagles scored the final five of the second overtime.
“He’s a good kid, he played hard, I don’t get into that,” Trumbull coach Buddy Bray said of McCullough, who will have to sit out the semifinal. “It is disappointing he’s not going to be playing on Tuesday.”
Trumbull was 19 of 35 from the foul line, but JJ Pfohl made four free throws in the final 39 seconds of the game.
Jack Moore scored 21 points for Trumbull. Matt Saporito scored 15 points for Ridgefield.