After scoring 33 in the first meeting in early January, Crisp Academy star Madi Mitchell was held to just 14 points in the rematch with Westwood on Tuesday night, but it was still enough to beat the girls from Camilla for a second time this season.
CORDELE — Westwood did nearly everything right on the defensive end Tuesday against the defending GISA Class A girls state champs — and it still wasn’t enough.
Crisp Academy, which beat their region foes Westwood in the state title game last season, played just as good on the defensive end and got enough offense to pull away in the second half for a 35-21 win.
Westwood held Crisp star sophomore Madi Mitchell to 14 points, well below her 20-plus point average — and the 33 she lit up Westwood for in their first meeting — but let the game slip in the third quarter. There wasn’t much else the Lady Wildcats from Camilla could do after trailing just 14-11 at halftime, other than knock down more clutch shots in the second half.
“That’s it,” Westwood head coach Jenni Smith said.
Mitchell still led all scorers and added five rebounds and three blocks. Crisp Academy, which has won 18 in a row, won the third quarter 16-4 and blew open a tight first half that saw them get outrebounded, 16-6.
“Rebounds were the main thing,” Mitchell said of the first-half struggles. “They kept us from getting layups and our shots.”
Crisp (21-3, 9-0 GISA Region 3-A) went 7-for-11 from the floor in the third with clutch perimeter shooting from Kendall Wilson (eight points) and Kara White (six points).
“We said at halftime that the first three minutes of the third quarter we’ve to come out strong and we did,” Crisp head coach Gina Mitchell said. “We just weren’t rebounding (in the first half), and we work on that all the time.”
Crisp led 30-15 after a torrid third quarter, ran its flex offense over and over to near perfection and cruised in the fourth quarter, clinching the top seed for next week’s region tournament in Camilla.
“We got a feel right off the bat (in the second half),” said Madi Mitchell, who knew Westwood would be out to stop her. “It’s tough. They’re out to get you. You know every single time they’re going to pound you because they want to win just as bad as you do.”
Westwood (19-4, 7-2 Region 3-A) had to play without starter Ivy Foister, who was sick. Crisp was also without one of its leading scorers, Jay Jay Yawn, who has a broken arm and will likely miss the region tournament.
Westwood, which next plays at Georgia Christian and will be the No. 2 seed in the region tournament at home, was left to wonder what might have been if the offense had found some life.
“We played good team defense,” Smith said. “We just can’t beat anybody scoring 21 points. We’ve scored 22 points in a quarter (before).”
Westwood was led by Callie Smith’s eight points, while Sydnee Smith added seven.
CRISP ACADEMY BOYS 49, WESTWOOD 36: The Wildcats from Cordele have Westwood’s number this year and that means the region’s top seed is still up for grabs.
Crisp beat Westwood for the second time this season, handing the Wildcats their only two region losses with one game remaining.
Westwood (9-9, 7-2 Region 3-A) used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to go ahead 33-30, but Crisp finished the game on a 19-3 spurt to put this one away. Robbie Wright and Michael Spears each scored 14 points in the win for Crisp. Spears did most of his damage down the stretch, scored 12 points in the second half.
“They played a pretty good defensive ballgame,” Westwood head coach Al Timmerman said. “We just never could get on track offensively.”
Westwood was led by Kaleb Bentley’s 12 points. Both Westwood and Crisp each have two losses in region, while Crisp holds the tiebreaker with two wins against their fellow Wildcats. Westwood next plays at Georgia Christian, which also has just two region losses, on Friday, while Crisp (13-9, 7-2 Region 3-A) faces Randolph Southern with the region’s top seed on the line.