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Westover waltzes in tourney opener; next up -- bitter rival Monroe

ALBANY -- It didn't take Southeast Bulloch coach John Page long to sum up what happened to his team against Westover in the opening game of the U Save It Pharmacy Boys Basketball Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Albany High.

"They kind of beat us down on the boards,'' said Page, who watched Westover rip its way to a 68-25 win against the Yellow Jackets. "They had a size advantage on us and they took advantage of it.''

The Patriots, who are usually undersized against most teams, owned the glass, out-rebounding Southeast Bulloch, 37-22. They were even better on defense, forcing 27 turnovers.

Herald No. 3 Westover moves on and plays Herald No. 1 Monroe, which has two Herald Super 6ers in 6-foot-7 Rantavious Gilbert and 6-6 Jabari McGhee, at 8:30 p.m. Monday in the semifinal round of the tournament in one of the city's best rivalries.

"We have to get ready for those giants,'' Westover coach Dallis Smith said of Monroe. "We won't have a size advantage against those guys. It's a rivalry. It's what the fans want to see.''

Westover fans saw plenty Saturday afternoon. It was all Westover -- early and late -- as Smith played everybody.

The Patriots jumped out to an 11-0 lead as T.J. Cromer scored seven points in the first four minutes to pace Westover, which held Southeast Bulloch (0-6) without a basket for almost five minutes. Cromer finished with nine points as Smith substituted in shifts.

Herald Super 6er Dequan Green, who sat out the previous game for undisclosed reasons, didn't start, but came off the bench to lead Westover with 12 points.

"(Green) has to play his way back,'' Smith said. "I think he'll be ready for our next game.''

Brandon Hudson also scored 12 for the Patriots, and Kel Miller, who hit a pair of 3s in the first quarter, finished with 10 points.