Girls hoops teams move on to section finals
Westlake girls surge to win over Calvert
For a quarter in Monday night’s Class 2A South Region Section II girls basketball semifinal at Westlake, it appeared as though the Wolverines and the visiting Calvert Cavaliers were destined for a dramatic finish.
That feeling only lasted for a quarter.
The second-seeded Wolverines, who led by a mere point after the first period, opened the second on a six-point run and never looked back in what turned out a 72-50 win over the third-seed- ed Cavaliers.
Westlake (15-8 overall) advanced to play in the section final at Thomas Stone a 6 p.m. Wednes- day. The top-seeded Cougars ousted fourth-seeded Lackey 69-53 in another section semifi- nal Monday.
On Monday, Westlake scored 20 points in each of the second, third and fourth quarters and had a pair of players — Gigi Brown and LaTavia Washington — eclipse 20 points, while Jasmine Gholson scored 16. All in all, it turned into a rela- tively solid effort after a sluggish start.
“The first half we came out flat. Calvert did a good job keeping us out of rhythm,” Westlake head coach Marvin Binion II said. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm. In the second half we picked it up. We had more energy, the effort was there. In the first half Calvert really killed us on the boards. In the second half we did a better job.”
Ahead 12-11 after a quarter, Brown scored five points on a 6-0 West- lake run to open the period to crack open the advantage. Later, after Calvert had pulled to within 20-16, the Wolver- ines reeled off a 12-2 run to push the lead into double figures.
With the lead at 32-22 at the half, Washington scored the first basket of the second half to kickstart what became a 15-point run by the hosts to start the half. By the time Washington bookended the run with another bucket, the Wol- verines led 47-22 with 5 minutes 1 second left in the quarter.
“I think we finally found our heart,” Brown said of the difference in the team’s performance after the opening quarter. “We didn’t want to go out. We wanted to keep going.”
Calvert (14-9) finally scored its first basket of the second half when Alexis Commodore got a shot to drop at the 4:48 mark. It was the start of an 8-0 Cavaliers’ run that cut the deficit to 17 points.
Calvert eventual- ly pulled to within 15 points on Mya Smith’s three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, but it could never cut the gap down to single digits. Westlake’s press suc- ceeded in creating many turnovers and easy bas- kets, allowing the Wol- verines to coast to the comfortable win.
“I think we started out slow in the first quarter,” Gholson said. “We picked it up eventually throughout the game. We got the rebounds we needed towards the end and put more pressure on their offense with our defense.
“We got our runs off of our defense . ... We got them down to a lot of turn- overs and we capitalized on the fast breaks and just played our game.”
Jalaysia Weems led the Cavaliers with 16 points. Smith scored 8, while Tatyana Jones, Denycia Bess and Commodore all scored 7. But similar to the season on the whole, the Cavaliers struggled to maintain a consistent effort on Monday night, according to Calvert head coach Tim Contee.
“I think tonight was kind of like our season, full of ups and downs,” he said. “We played well in spurts, and then not so well in spurts. It would be like the best we could be in spurts, and then the low- est of the lows. That’s just how our season has been, up and down. We just ha- ven’t been consistent the whole season with our en- ergy and effort. I felt like we were maybe a step behind tonight.”
Westlake’s win earned it another crack at crosstown rival Stone. The Cougars defeated Westlake in both of the teams’ regular season meetings, the first a 62-51 decision on Jan. 6 and the second a 61-51 game on Feb. 1. Binion expected the third meeting to be every bit as competitive as the first two.
“We have to come ready,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough one. Every time we play them it’s always tough. I expect the third one to be even more intense because of what’s at stake.”
STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES Westlake’s girls basketball team comes together prior to its Class 2A South Region Section I semifinal with the visiting Calvert Cavaliers on Monday night. Westlake defeated Calvert 72-50.