DAWSON -- Looking for Terrell County's secret to success?
Look again, it just went by you. That's how quick the Greenwave play this game.
"Like a torpedo,'' Terrell County guard Charles Brown said. "We're lightning quick.''
Just ask Westover's Patriots, who completed the longest weekend of their season Saturday night in Dawson, where the Greenwave ran by Westover, 52-43, in front of a standing-room-only crowd that loved this high-throttle classic between two of the top teams in Southwest Georgia.
Westover (10-5) was coming off a bitter 42-37 loss in the Civic Center on Friday night to its biggest rival, Monroe, which is ranked No. 1 in the Herald. Westover was No. 3, but that poll is sure to get shaken up next Tuesday because No. 5 Terrell County (13-1) is flying high and could land as high as No. 2 in the next poll and no worse than No. 3.
The Greenwave's only loss is to top-ranked Monroe, and they made a big statement Saturday.
"Westover is always a top dog and we always want to beat them,'' said Super 6er Terel Hall, Terrell County's quick-silver point guard who runs the floor for the Greenwave. "We knew if we beat them we would get a little more respect.''
Westover is used to it.
"Everybody gets up for us,'' Westover coach Dallis Smith said. "I knew they would be waiting on us. I knew they would be ready to play us.''
But no one knew Terrell County sprint from the gate with a 15-2 run to open the game, a torrid run that shocked Westover fans and had the Greenwave faithful on their feet from the opening tip.
Like a torpedo...
Westover blocked three shots in the opening five minutes of the game, and yet was down 15-2, thanks in part to Hall, who had two slick assists, a game-opening basket, two rebounds and two steals in the opening minutes to set the pace for the night -- a pace that Terrell County loves.
"When we can get out on the open floor and run we can beat anybody,'' said Hall, who finished with 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and five steals. He even blocked a shot.
It's that quick-hit attack that has made Terrell County, ranked fourth Georgia in the Class A state poll, a threat to get back to the Final Four, and because coach John Davis, who simply gets the best out of what he has, has his undersized team playing over its head.
"Coach just tells me to get in there and fight for every rebound,'' said Terrell County's Dekoven Ware, the tallest starter at 6-feet even. Ware, like everyone else on a team that starts four guards, plays bigger.
"He tells me to just get in there and not to be intimidated by the other's team's height,'' Ware said. "They were much bigger than us so we had to run the floor to beat them.''
They did, but Ware had yet another huge game, holding his own and more. He led the Greenwave with 18 tough inside points and he grabbed 12 rebounds on a night when Terrell County needed every one of them.
Westover stormed back from that early 15-2 deficit, and took its only lead of the game when Dequan Green, who had a magnificent game while leading the Patriots with 18 points, hit a high-flying coast-to-coast drive to lift Westover to a 28-27 lead with 1:34 left in the first half.
Green's drive completed a 17-3 run that was fueled by Westover's wide-body front of Trent Brown and Shenard Childs, who came off the bench to combine for 11 points and six rebounds in the second quarter.
But Ware answered Green with a put-back at the other end, and then then Hall made a steal and a highlight film pass inside to Ware, who gave Terrell County a 31-28 edge, and Westover didn't lead again.
The Patriots managed only six points in the third quarter and trailed 43-36 going into the fourth quarter, and made one last run when Joseph Harrell, who had six points eight rebounds and three blocks, had a four-point run to start the fourth and closed the gap to 43-40 with a monster dunk that rocked the crowd with 6:30 left. But hall answered with a jumper than blocked a shot at the other end to give the momentum back to the Greenwave at 45-40.
Westover killed its chances at the free throw line, where the Patriots went 4 for 17 for the night.
"We weathered the storm in the first half,'' Smith said. "And we were close in the second half, but we went 4-for-17 at the free throw line and when you do that you're supposed to lose, especially playing against a team at home that has momentum.''
Super 6er Malcolm Sapp had a nightmarish night as everything he threw up seemed to bounce off the rim. Sapp, who averages 20 points a game, finished with three points.
"Sapp is in a little bit of a slump,'' Smith said. "It seemed like there was a lid on the rim for him. Even his layups were spinning in and out.''
And Terrell County just kept running, and grabbing loose balls.
"I don't think we boxed out good enough,'' Green said. "And Terel Hall is a good point guard and good penetrator. He would penetrate and then kick the ball back out, and we didn't do ago job getting back on the open man. They just out hustled us.''
Like a torpedo...
WESTOVER GIRLS 62, TERRELL COUNTY 35: Herald No. 1 Westover improved to 13-1 with the win, but it was costly as two starters, including Super 6er DyTiesha Dunson, suffered knee injuries. Dunson left the game in the first quarter and Cessily Colwell left in the fourth, and coach Lewis Smith said he wasn't sure when they would play again.
"They say they can play but we will have to wait and see,'' said Smith, whose team meets Turner County at 3 p.m. at Tift County in the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational on Monday and then travels to Americus-Sumter for a huge Region 1-AAA game against the Lady Panthers, who are No. 3 in the Herald and right behind Westover in the region race.
"I hope they can play Tuesday,'' Smith said. "That's a big game in Americus. We're No. 1 and they're No. 2 in the region.''
Ieshia Young led Westover with 16 points and Colwell scored 11 for the Lady Patriots. Jaleesa Richardson and DeAndra Mitchell led the Lady Greenwave (2-11) with nine points each.
"I will be ready to play on Monday,'' Dunson said. "I felt my knee pop when I came down after a shot, but I think I'll be ready by Monday, and I know Tuesday is a big region game.''