Westover’s T.J. Cromer scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds to help the Patriots snap a six-game losing streak against Terrell County.
DAWSON — The drought’s over for Westover.
For those who keep up with these kind of things, Westover’s 73-53 victory against Terrell County on Saturday night said a lot about a lot of things.
It means Westover can win games in the Terrell County gym. The Greenwave had won the last six games over the past three years, including games in Albany.
“That’s too long,” said Westover coach Dallis Smith, who was happy with the win but still upset because he didn’t think his kids played well enough on defense. “I just felt our intensity wasn’t there on the defensive end. But it’s been a long time since we beat them. All the games have been close. I guess I can smile now.”
How much this win means to the most prestigious basketball program in Southwest Georgia remains to be seen, but it was a statement game for the Pats.
Westover hadn’t won in Dawson since 2009. That’s the bad news. The good news is back in 2009 the Patriots went to the state title game.
Maybe that’s not an omen, and maybe it is … Stay tuned.
Westover has plenty of weapons, including T.J. Cromer and Kell Miller, who each had their moments on Saturday and combined for 46 points and 16 rebounds.
Miller not only dropped in 24 points but he spiced up the scoring sheet with three rim-shaking dunks that left a standing-room-only crowd with its mouth open, and Cromer, who scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds, hit the court firing and dropping every shot.
“We talked about it in practice and talked about it in the locker room about how they had beaten us six times in a row,’’ Miller said. “We knew about it.’’
“We knew,’’ Cromer said. “We knew we couldn’t let it be seven in a row.’’
They both played like it.
Cromer was red-hot from the tip-off and hit his first five shots. Three of those were from beyond the arc as he poured in 13 of Westover’s first 14 points to give the Patriots a 14-7 lead. He left the court late in the first quarter with a sore ankle but came back to hit a long jumper in the second quarter to finish the half with 15 points.
“It was just one of those nights,” said Cromer of his fast start.
Miller took over in the second, and ended the half with a monster dunk on a rebound to lift Westover to a 31-21 lead at the break. He finished the third quarter with another dunk that sent the Pats to the fourth quarter with a 49-37 lead. The Greenwave had an 11-2 run to close the gap to 43-37, but Westover had a 6-0 run in the last 57 seconds of the quarter.
It was like that most of the night. The Greenwave would make a run, and Westover, which is ranked No. 2 in The Herald Fab 5 poll, would answer. The Patriots forced 22 turnovers and were on the run all night.
Donavon Robinson hit three 3-pointers to finish with nine points and Kyle Baker had eight second half points for the Patriots, who improved to 5-1 with the lone loss coming to Class AAAAAA Tift County’s powerhouse squad.
It was the first loss of the season for Terrell County (2-1), but coach John Davis liked what he saw from his young team. The Greenwave was led by Rakeem Spencer with 15 points, Joe Ward, who scored 14, and Raython Cooper, who added 10.
“I liked their effort,” Davis said. “This was their first home game and there were a lot of jitters, but they played hard. They gave me what I ask for. I like their effort. Westover, they’ve got a good team.”
Westover has a big week ahead, facing Crisp County at home on Tuesday and then traveling to meet rival Monroe, which is unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in The Herald Fab 5 poll.
“It’s a big week,’’ Cromer said. “We are going to need to have intensity at practice.’’
There was plenty of that Saturday night — just enough to end the drought.
WESTOVER GIRLS 52, TERRELL COUNTY 21: Westover’s girls are still trying to find an identity, but nights like the one they had Saturday sure will help.
The Lady Patriots had no problem handling a young team from Terrell County as they jumped out early and beat the Lady Greenwave, 52-21 to improve to 4-4 for the season. The Lady Greenwave fell to 2-3 for the year.
The Lady Patriots needed the win, especially with next week’s brutal schedule coming up. They face Herald No. 2 Crisp County and 6-foot-2 Nasheema Oliver on Tuesday at Westover, and then travel to Monroe to meet their biggest city and region rival, the Herald No. 1 ranked Lady Tornadoes, who beat Crisp 53-45 on Friday to stay unbeaten.
The Lady Patriots were led by junior Mykesa Smith, who scored 13 points and had four steals, three rebounds and two blocked shots on a night when Westover coach Lewis Smith emptied his bench. A’Breana Moore scored 10 points for Westover, which led 15-7 after the first quarter and 28-9 at halftime.
Terrell County was led by Nydrah Wright, who scored nine points.