LEESBURG -- Lee County boys basketball coach Tim McPherson wanted to see if his Trojans could keep up with Westover's transition game.
A 10-0 spurt by Westover in the span of 65 seconds Saturday night answered that question.
Using a constant rotation of five players, coach Dallis Smith's Patriots improved to 7-0 after beating Lee County, 83-64, on Saturday night. After Lee County tied the game, 26-26, early in the second quarter, the Patriots went on their 10-0 run and put to rest any hopes of an upset against the Patriots, who are The Herald's No. 2 boys team in the Top 5 Poll.
Although Smith was pleased with the outcome, he was nervous after the first quarter when his team held a slim, two-point lead, 24-22.
"We came out lackadaisical; we weren't ready," Smith said. "Once they got focused, they took care of business."
To make sure his team was ready to take care of business, Smith had a few words in post first-quarter huddle.
"I told them to come out and play instead of playing around," Smith said. "Our offense feeds off our defense, and we were just lackadaisical."
The Lee County boys tied the game at, 26-26, with a free throw by James Terrell, who with Jacoby Mallory led the Trojans with 16 points each. Starting with a free throw by Villus Baker at 6:35, the lead grew from there with a Baker layup and the second of back-to-back 3-pointers by Malcolm Sapp at the 5:30 mark . Sapp, who made a crucial trey to help put city rival Dougherty away on Friday night, has become the latest model for what Smith hopes will carry his team back to the GHSA Class AAA championship game -- having the ability to answer challenges and put teams away.
"Sapp is a great shooter," Smith said of Sapp, who finished with 13 points. "Like (Friday), he had to come out and answer what Lee County had been doing on offense."
While older brother, former Patriots guard Shaun Keaton, was at the game, Westover's Shevren Keaton scored a game-high 22 points, 12 of which were scored during the first half. Shevren Keaton, who plays point guard, impressed Smith with more than what he did offensively.
"He played solid, all the intensity on defense comes from him, and (fellow team captain) Anthony Ball," Smith said.
Lee County coach Tim McPherson, after the game, quickly noted the different reasons the two teams went to their benches.
"When (Smith) pulls out his first five and puts the next five in, that second five is as good as anybody around," McPherson said. "When I'm subbing, however, I'm just trying to keep starters fresh."
McPherson, who said he noticed some things Crisp County tried to do against Westover with its pressure last week and wanted his players to do the same thing, said he did not regret trying to outrun a deep Westover team.
"I felt like we had nothing to lose," he said. "That's why we pulled a hard man-to-man defense on them several times."
Keaton, however, said the Patriots did not panic.
"When someone wants to run with us, we use it to our advantage," he said.
WESTOVER GIRLS 57, LEE COUNTY 38:
Lady Patriots point guard Dytieshia Dunson finished with 23 points, 18 of which were scored during the first half. Another key was a 21-8 Westover run during the second quarter.
Westover won this season's first meeting, 58-55.
"That was only our second game of the season then," Westover girls coach Lewis Smith said. "We came out with a lot more focus in the second quarter."
The Lady Patriots' only concern after the win is post player Latisha Williams, who injured her shoulder in the third quarter. Westover's Cessily Colwell also was in double figures with 10 points.
Lee County, meanwhile, struggled against Westover's pressure defense and committed 37 turnovers. Lindsey Crawford was the lone Lady Trojan in double figures with 16 points.