NEW CANAAN -- Put the past behind you and don't look toward the future.
Maybe, Howard White did not preach such a contradiction to his Westhill High boys basketball team before Tuesday's game, but that was, in so many words, the message.
And, unfortunately for New Canaan High, the mentality worked to perfection for the Vikings.
The Vikings needed to forget that their 11-game winning streak ended in their last game to Staples, while at the same time Tuesday loomed as a trap game for Westhill. Powerful and city rival Trinity Catholic is up next on Thursday.
So, how would the Vikings respond?
Just the way White had hoped.
With DJ Donaldson leading the usual balanced attack with 15 points, Westhill concentrated on the here and now, routing the Rams, 54-35.
"I wanted to see how we would play after a loss," White said. "And we showed we weren't worried about Trinity. I'm very happy right now."
New Canaan coach Mike Evans was not so happy.
"I was hoping they would be (looking ahead to Trinity)," Evans said after his team's losing streak reached seven.
Westhill (15-2, 14-1) entered play Tuesday in a three-way tie for first place in the FCIAC with Trinity and St. Joseph. The Vikings get St. Joseph and Ridgefield next week following Trinity to close out the regular season.
Donaldson had 10 of his 15 points in the first half and Yveson Cassamajor added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Vikings, who played terrific defense for the final three periods to turn it into a rout.
"We needed to bounce back and play a complete game and we did," White said. After the first period the Vikings forced 18 turnovers and held New Canaan to 5-for-27 shooting until the Rams made three of their last four shots. "When we want to play great defense we can, and we've got it in their minds now to play great defense."
Tuesday's game was close for one quarter because the Rams (5-12, 5-10) were hot from the outside. Westhill led 20-17 but a 10-0 run to end the half gave Westhill a 36-20 lead and the Vikings led by as much as 25 in the fourth quarter.
Obviously, Staples and Trinity were the farthest things from the Vikings' minds.
"They do everything right," Evans said. "They're deep, show good leadership and are well-coached. And when they pick it up on defense, watch out."
Andrew Read had 11 points for New Canaan, which needs to beat Ludlowe, Greenwich and Wilton in its final three games to qualify for the states.
"It's a three-game season now," Evans said. "The seniors deserve postseason play and it's right there for us."
Westhill, meanwhile, is only concerned with the here and now, and that's Trinity Catholic.
"We are absolutely where I want us to be," White said. "Trinity is a big game, a rival and it's for the city championship. We're ready for it."
NEW CANAAN 35
WESTHILL (15-2, 14-1 FCIAC)
Jeremiah Livingston 2 2-2 6; Terell Middleton 1 0-0 2; Yveson Cassamajor 2 6-6 10; Guyveson Cassamajor 3 0-0 8; Ariel DelaCruz 1 0-0 2; CJ Donaldson 6 2-3 15; Evan Skoparantzos 3 0-0 8; Jesse Kortez 0 0-0 0; Peter Horn 1 0-0 3; Nigel Belizair 0 0-0 0; Jordan Young 0 0-0 0; Luke Herritt 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-42 10-11 54
NEW CANAAN (5-12, 5-10 FCIAC)
Andrew Read 4 0-0 11; Paul Hagopian 1 0-0 2; Erik Jager 2 2-3 8; Zach Allen 4 0-0 8; Beau Santero 1 0-0 2; Henry Lavieri 0 0-0 0; Matthew Swift 0 0-0 0; Andrew Penchuk 1 0-0 2; Chris DeWaele 1 0-0 2; Alex Curto 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-43 2-3 35
WESTHILL 20 16 14 4--54
NEW CANAAN 17 3 9 6--35
3-pointers: W--G.Cassamajor 2, Skoparantzos 2, Donaldson, Horn; NC--Read 3, Jager 2.
Highlights: W--Y.Cassamajor 7 rebounds, Donaldson 4 steals; NC--Lavieri 5 rebounds.