Brandon Hudson led the way for Westover on Tuesday with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
ALBANY — Westover’s Brandon Hudson knew before he stepped on the court Tuesday against Worth County that it was going to be a good night.
And, boy, was he right.
Westover jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never looked back in the Region 1-AAA opener for both teams, winning, 70-37.
“It was a very important game, because it was a region game. We needed it,” said Hudson, who led all scorers with 11 points and eight rebounds. “We didn’t want to be 0-1 to start off (the region).”
Hudson wasn’t the only one who stepped on the court ready to make a statement.
“We felt confident,” added junior Josh Black, who had eight points. “It’s easy to get up for a region game. I got my team behind me, and we are playing together.”
Now The Herald No. 4 Patriots (4-2) are off and running in the region race with huge games against region rival Dougherty and Herald No. 2 Albany looming this weekend. But the message they sent Tuesday night in the Boston Garden — especially in those first six minutes when they scored 19 unanswered points — was loud and clear to the rest of the region teams.
“We were playing together and everything was clicking,” Hudson said about the opening minutes. “We looked up at that scoreboard and saw it was 19-0, and we were thinking that we can’t let up. We had to keep playing.”
The visiting Rams, who fell to 2-1, pulled to within 13 points at the end of the first quarter, but that was as close as Worth County would get. Senior Ellis Anderson finished with 10 points — all in the second half — and was the only Ram to score in double figures. Worth missed its first 11 field goals and just couldn’t get into a groove against a Westover defense that forced 21 turnovers.
“We wanted to see how we would stack up against the best in the region,” said Worth coach Arthur Davis, whose Rams opened up the season with a 67-17 victory against Berrien and a 68-56 win against Lee County. “Westover did what they had to do. They showed who is still the big dog in the house, and this lets us know that we have to work a little bit harder.”
Westover continued to pour it on in the second quarter. The Pats opened up with a 15-2 run to take a 34-8 lead, and by halftime, nine players had scored for the Patriots, who led, 43-14, at the break. Twelve Patriots ended up scoring, including T.J. Cromer with 10, M.J. Vangure with eight and Kenneth Towns with six. Herald Super 6er Dequan Green was held to just four points.
“That’s what we have been preaching — trying to play together,” Westover coach Dallis Smith said. “We had good ball movement. They were clicking (Tuesday night), especially at the beginning of the game. Everybody was on the same page. … I thought we took a step forward (Tuesday night).”
It wasn’t just one Patriot who took a step forward. It was the whole team — all 16 players — who stepped on the floor. And Black said it’s that parity that makes this team so special.
“We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball. I pass the ball, and I’m alright,” said Black, the Patriots’ starting point guard. “We can go a long way as long as we keep playing as a team. If we do that, we can go very far.”
Westover is in action again Friday against Dougherty at Albany State, while Worth County plays Fitzgerald at home Friday night.
WESTOVER GIRLS 60, WORTH COUNTY 22: The Lady Patriots can’t be stopped right now — and neither can their pair of Herald Super 6ers.
Senior guards Ieshia Young and DyTiesha Dunson combined for 29 points Tuesday and helped keep the Lady Patriots’ perfect season alive. Young scored 16 points and Dunson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Westover, which is now 8-0 overall and 1-0 in Region 1-AAA play.
The Patriots led by just 10 points at halftime before Young and Dunson really turned it on in the second half, when they combined to go 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
“Offensively, we started the game off trying to establish other people, where our big two scorers should have been the people taking most of the shots,” Westover coach Lewis Smith said. “That kind of gave us a flat start. Then as the game rolled on, we got some layups and it got us going.”
Westover outscored Worth (2-3, 0-1 Region 1-AAA) 25-5 in the third quarter and 10-2 in the fourth quarter, continuing a trend of strong second halves for the Lady Patriots.
“Over the short course of the season, we have kind of been a second half team,” Smith said. “That seems like it will be the personality of this team. That second half will be their half.”
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Lady Rams, who were led in scoring by Quashemiia Green (11 points, 8 rebounds).