The Westover girls went to the third round of the state tournament last year, and even with the loss of two starters who transferred, it seemed obvious they’d be good again.
The way Westover coach Lewis Smith talks, though, a 20-0 start wasn’t really what he expected.
“We replaced those two startes with some sophomores, and it’s a big deal for them,” said Smith, whose team improved to 20-0 overall and 8-0 in Region 1-AAA with a 51-41 win over Dougherty Tuesday night. “They’re in a little over their head, because we’ve kind of thrown them into the fire.”
How have they done it? By employing the three four D’s: DyTiesha Dunson, defense and determination.
Dunson, a senior who has signed with Florida Gulf Coast University, is averaging 24 points per game and burned Tift County with 35 in a win Saturday. Classmate Ieshia Young averages 14.
Smith points to the defense as the key. The Westover girls have held 13 of 20 opponents under 40 points.,
“Defensively we’re probably better than we were last year,” Smith said. “When you look at our scores, the games will always be nail-biters. Sometimes it’s just not about offense.”
Indeed, Westover has four wins by four points or less, and a handful of others Smith says were with a couple of possessions late before his club extended with free throws. Unbeaten through 20 games might suggest a lot of blowout wins, but just three of the Lady Patriots’ wins have been by 20 points or more,and two of those came against Worth County.
“We just don’t have the kind of talent that we’re going to have 20-point wins. Our games are going to be close. We’re comfortable with that,” he said. “We try to be disciplined, guard people and take good shots.”
Growing up in Grovetown: They already have twice as many losses as they had all of last year, but it’s hard not to be impressed with how the Grovetown girls have progressed. Starting three sophomores and a freshman, the Lady Warriors, who won 25 games last season, are 15-6 after beating Harlem Tuesday.
Point guard Malia Kency is the chief 10th-grader, scoring 14 points per game and dishing out six assists on average, while classmate Alayah Canteen is scoring 10 points per game with 8.1 rebounds.
Glassmasters: The Mary Persons girls don’t have any eye-popping individual statistics, but the reason they entered Tuesday’s play at 15-1 is they do two things very well – play defense and rebound. The Lady Bulldogs’ opponents were shooting just over 30 percent from the field for the season, and Mary Persons out-rebounds foes by an average of 12 per game.
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