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Pats rally to beat Trojans

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- He said it over and over again, "They're going to fall. They're going to fall. They're going to fall."

They did -- landing right on top of Dougherty.

That's how Westover overcame the worst first-half in Dallis Smith's coaching career to beat city-rival Dougherty, 64-50, on Friday in front of a packed house at Westover. Smith has been the head coach for nine years, and he had never seen a 16-point first half.

And we never wants to see another one.

"I just tried to encourage the shooters at halftime,'' said Smith, whose team was trailing, 25-16, at the break. "I told them, they're going to fall and I said it three or four times.''

Westover shot a painful 20 percent in the first half, making just 5 of 25 shots and at one point the Patriots went more than nine minutes without a basket.

"That's not a drought. That's a plague,'' said Westover guard Shevren Keaton, who finally hit a drive with 1:25 left in the half to stop an 0 for 14 stretch.

Malcolm Sapp, who was coming back from an illness, had a personal nightmare, going 0-for the first half from the field. But Smith told him at halftime that he was shooting line drives, and to put some arch on his shot.

"When I hit that first 3, I felt like I could hit a million of them,'' said Sapp, who bagged four rainbow shots to finish with 12 points -- all on 3-pointers. "The arch worked.''

So did Westover.

"(Malcolm) started hitting those 3s and it just gave us a boost,'' said Keaton, who led the way with 16 points. "We picked up our defensive intensity and that helped our offense.''

Just ask Anthony Ball, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half -- all on fast breaks.

"Everything changed in the first two minutes of the second half,'' Ball said. "We were down by nine, and two minutes later we were up by one. We didn't come out with a lot of energy at the start of the game. But we had it in the second half.''

Westover (17-2 and 8-2 in the Region 1-AAA) made five of its first six shots in the third quarter, including a pair of Sapp 3s, to take the lead and never looked back, scoring 48 second half points. The Pats made 16 of 25 in the second half.

"We have to play tougher defense,'' said Dougherty coach Donald Poole, whose team was once again led by Arabian Williams, who scored 21 points. "It's real easy when you stop playing defense.''

Easy as just letting them fall.