Kayla Green scored 11 points for Crisp County, but seven of those were in the last 1:31 of the game as she lifted Crisp to the win.
ALBANY -- It was all part of the plan.
That's what the kids and coaches at Westover said after the Patriots stormed back to beat Crisp County, 71-62, on Tuesday night at the Westover gym, where it looked like Crisp was going to pull off the upset against the Herald No. 2 Patriots.
Crisp came hot firing and led most of the night, and looked in control with a 54-47 lead with 7:03 left in the game.
Then the plan kicked in, and C.J. Davis kicked down the door with the game of his life. Davis, a 6--foot,5 junior, suddenly became to go-to-guy for the Patriots, who went to him for the win. Kyle Baker hit a pair of free throws and was the right man on a fast break to close the score to 54-53 with 5:32 left, and then Davis took over.
Westover changed its defense and forced three turnovers in a row, and Davis went on a personal eight-point run to lift the Patriots to a 61-54 lead as he went 4-for-4 on the inside.
"In the second half we wanted to concentrate on getting the ball down low and getting it to C.J.," Westover coach Dallis Smith said. "That's what we talked about, and they were conscious about getting the ball to him. They did a good job getting him the ball, and C.J. had a great game."
Davis scored 10 points in the final seven minutes to ignite the Patriots, who took off running and didn't stop until they had outscored Crisp, 24-8, over the final seven minutes to stay unbeaten in the Region 1-AAAA race at 4-0. They are 5-1 for the season with the one loss coming to Class AAAAAA Tift County, which is ranked second in the state in the big school classification.
Davis finished with a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds.
"Yeah, that's a career high," Davis said with a smile after the game. "The most I ever scored in a game was 15 points.''
Davis knew the plan better than anyone.
"I was expecting the ball,'' he said. "Once I saw a player go by their guy I was waiting for him to dish it to me."
They did, and it was money in the bank.
"He played great,'' said guard T.J. Cromer, who finished with 16 points. "He stepped up big time for us. The guards weren't shooting the ball well and the plan was to go down low and get the ball (to C.J.) , and he had a great game."
Crisp jumped out early on the strength of Davion Harvey, who scored 15 points in the first quarter, and had 18 at halftime. But he didn't score in the second half. Javoris Cooks followed with 11 points for Crisp, which has been run through the grinder of late. Kel Miller finished with 13 points for Westover.
Crisp, the defending Region 1-AAAA champ, has been through a grinder of late.
The Cougars (3-3 and 2-2 in Region 1-AAAA) lost to Herald No. 1 Monroe, 40-39, on Friday, and watched Westover come from behind to beat them on Tuesday. They get a non-region break on Friday when they play Class A powerhouse Turner County at home.
Westover heads to Monroe on Friday for the first of what many expect to be two or three classic showdowns with the Tornadoes, who are unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the Herald Fab 5 poll.
CRISP COUNTY GIRLS 63, WESTOVER 54
ALBANY — Kayla Green scored 11 points for Crisp County on Tuesday night, but that’s not what Westover’s Lady Patriots will remember about Green.
She scored seven of those in the final 1:31 of the game to help Herald No. 2 Crisp put away a feisty and gutsy group from Westover, 63-54, to improve to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in Region 1-AAAA.
“She’s like that when she gets going,’’ Crisp County coach Barrett Wilkes said. “And she’s a good player right now.’’
Crisp also won the game at the free throw line, where the Lady Cougars made 17 of 19 in a dramatic turnaround. The same kids went 7 of 20 from the line in a 53-45 loss to Herald No. 1 Monroe last Friday night.
“We had a real good practice (on Monday),” Wilkes said. “And I told them, ‘If you will just relax at the free throw line, just find some rhythm. I don’t care if you have to pass the ball between your around your back to get the rhythm, just find some rhythm.’ And they all laughed.”
It must have worked because Crisp County was almost perfect from the line, and the Lady Cougars were tough when they had to be down the stretch.
Nasheema Oliver had another big night for Crisp, leading the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds. She also had two blocks and altered more than a dozen other shots. D.D. Williams scored 14 for Crisp, and Deletia Colson added 11.
Westover (4-5 and 2-2 in Region 1-AAAA) was led by junior Mykesa Smith, who scored 18 points and hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when the Lady Patriots stormed back from a 40-29 deficit to close to 52-50 with four minutes left. But Nisha Waters hit two free throws and banked in an inside shot to lift Crisp to a 56-50 lead before Green took over down the stretch with the final seven points and a critical steal with 1:31 remaining.
Westover jumped out to a 5-0 lead, then watched as Crisp stormed back with an 11-0 run to take control when Oliver hit a couple of and-one plays off of put-backs to close the quarter and give the Lady Cougars a 17-9 lead going into the second quarter. But Westover came back and, thanks to 12 first half points by Smith, took a 28-27 lead to halftime when Aubre’Ana Moore hit a shot at the buzzer. But the Lady Patriots made just one field goal in the third quarter and went to the fourth trailing by 11.
Westover next travels to face Herald No. 1 Monroe on Friday, while Crisp hosts Turner County on Friday.