GHSA CLASS AAA STATE TOURNAMENT: Westover girls slip into second round

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Westover's girls shed a few tears over the region title loss last week, but they weren't about to let that ruin their season.

The Lady Patriots came back from an upset to Dougherty in the region championship to survive in the first round of the GHSA girls Class AAA playoffs, 62-58, against Hephzibah on Friday.

"(The girls) cried about (losing the region title)," Westover head coach Lewis Smith said. "Monday, they were back and happy. I asked them, 'Do y'all realize we did not win (the region championship)?' They said, 'Coach, we're going to win this Friday.' "

These ladies are big-picture thinkers.

Westover (24-4) moves on to the second round, where they haven't won since 2004, and will host Westside, Macon on Tuesday.

Westover, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AAA, gets to host Westside, Macon (Region 2-AAA No. 4 seed) after Westside upset Drew High School (Region 4-AAA No. 1 seed) late Friday.

The Lady Patriots, winners in the first round the last three years, needed 12 points from Super 6er DyTiesha Dunson in the second half to fight off the Lady Rebels rally in the fourth.

Hephzibah (19-9, No. 3 seed Region 3-AAA) trailed by as many as 15 in the third quarter when Dunson, who had just four points in the first half, drained a trey to give Westover a 42-27 lead with 4:34 left in the third.

"A team with that winning tradition, they're not going to fold up," Smith said of Hephzibah. "They played like their backs were against the wall, which they were."

Lady Rebels guard Tiffani Harrison scored a game-high 25 points, including hitting 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Hephzibah went 20-for-25 at the charity stripe.

Westover led by 13 going into the fourth, but saw that lead trimmed to 58-56 and 60-58 in the final minute. Dunson converted on consecutive one-and-one free throws to extend the Lady Patriots' lead to four both times. She finished with 16 points, while fellow Super 6er Ieshia Young scored 12 with three steals, and Cessily Colwell had 10 points, five boards and two steals.

"It came down to the wire," Young said. "We just had to keep it together and come up with the win. I don't know (if it will help us). We've got to play better defense."

Westover played four freshmen and four sophomores Friday in the first round and were undersized compared to Hephzibah but still managed to win the battle in the paint. Shantaria Williams scored eight and had eight rebounds, while Latisha Williams also scored eight points and finished with seven boards.

After falling in the region title game, Young said there was no way Westover was going to be upset in round one.

"We said from Day 1 we want to be state champions, so we had to play like it," she said.