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Westover coach: Thanksgiving Shootout 'a success'

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- The Westover girls basketball team isn't just off to a 4-0 start.

Right now, the AAA Lady Patriots are looking like they can play with anyone in the state -- regardless of classification.

All but one of Westover's wins are against GHSA Class AAAAA schools, the latest two coming Friday and Saturday during the return of the all-girls Thanksgiving Shootout, which was held at Darton. The Lady Pats, who beat AAAAA Tift County in their opener two weeks ago, easily handled AAAAA Valdosta on Friday, 46-34, then capped off the Shootout with a 32-28 win against AAAAA Colquitt County on Saturday.

In fact, Westover has dominated the region just to its West so far, beating Lowndes County -- another AAAAA school -- in its only preseason game.

"I thought the girls did a great job," said Westover coach Lewis Smith, whose team got its other win against local rival Albany. "And, yeah, it's great (for our confidence) to start like this, as well as to beat much bigger schools."

Westover was led Friday by DyTiesha Dunson (16 points) and Latisha Williams (11), then got a solid game from Ieshia Young on Saturday with 12 points in a low-scoring affair.

"Our defense was outstanding in both games," Smith said of the games vs. Colquitt and Valdosta.

Other games Friday saw Colquitt beat Dougherty, Whitefield Academy out of Atlanta beat Albany in overtime and Monroe (3-0) beat Turner County.

On Saturday, Albany (1-3) got its first win of the season when the Squaws beat Turner County, while Monroe beat Whitefield to stay perfect.

Dougherty (1-1) and Valdosta did not play the second day of the Shootout, which returned this year for the first time since the mid-90s.

"I thought it was a success. It was a well-attended event for girls basketball, and all the teams were well-matched and well-coached," Smith said. "We had some close games and I hope this will continue next year and get even bigger."

The All-Tournament team was made up of the following: Antania Graddick (Turner County), Chasity Mullins (Albany), Brianna Jones (Whitefield), Ashley Johnson (Monroe), Dunson (Westover) and Masanda Trian (Colquitt).

The tournament MVP was Monroe's Shaniqua Young.