Westover Super 6er DyTiesha Dunson, left, scored 21 points, swiped five steals and had five assists Friday.
ALBANY – It’s becoming academic at this point.
Westover High’s Lady Patriots have made 23-0 look easy, doing it again Friday in a 57-42 win against Crisp County in the Boston Garden. Westover has now won 32 straight regular-season games, but nothing about it has gotten repetitive.
“Winning never gets old,” said Lady Patriots Super 6 senior DyTiesha Dunson, who scored 21 to go along with five steals and five assists.
The Lady Pats, now 10-0 in Region 1-AAA, have two games standing between them and the first unbeaten regular season in school history.
They will also host the Region 1-AAA tournament as the No. 1 seed.
Friday, the Lady Patriots knew their top task was defending Lady Cougars’ sophomore center Nasheema Oliver, who scored 18 in the previous meeting. Oliver was limited to 12 points and nine rebounds in Friday’s loss and saw shot after shot roll off the rim.
“We just tried to deny (Oliver) the ball and get as many people to the ball as we could,” Westover head coach Lewis Smith said of defending the Lady Cougars’ 6-foot-3 center. “On any given night she can beat you herself.”
Westover led, 26-17, at the break before outscoring Crisp (10-9, 5-5 Region 1-AAA) 14-7 in the third quarter to open the lead up. Herald Super 6er Ieshia Young scored six of her 12 points in the third quarter and finished with three steals.
Shanteria Williams scored eight points and had four steals, many coming on deflections against the pass inside to Oliver that limited her touches in the paint.
The Lady Patriots were lights out from the foul line, going 17-for-19 from the charity strip. Keidra Green had 11 points and four blocks for Crisp County, while younger sister Kayla Green added 10 points in the loss.
Westover plays Monroe Tuesday at Darton College with the unbeaten streak on the line against a team Smith is wary of because of their speed and depth.
“Monroe is another problem with their quick guards,” said Smith, whose team beat the Lady Tornadoes 54-40 in the first meeting. The Lady Patriots finish the regular season on the road against a dangerous Americus-Sumter team that doesn’t like to lose at home.
“Every region game scares us because teams come and play their hardest,” Dunson said. “We’ve just got to stay focused and not take anyone lightly. Every night we try to play the same way. We try to come out with the same energy and even when we don’t, we still do the little things that help us win the game.”
Crisp County boys 56, Westover boys 53 (OT): Crisp County senior Marshall Taylor has the football recruiting behind him and it’s showing on the court. Taylor, who committed to play for Miami of Ohio on Wednesday, scored six of the Cougars nine overtime points to keep second place in the region wide open.
Taylor scored 19 points and added 12 rebounds to knock off Westover, moving the Cougars one game behind the Patriots for second.
“(Taylor) was in the recruiting process, but he came back from Miami of Ohio with a better attitude from that point on,” Crisp head coach Terry Smith said. “He stepped up to the plate.”
Westover (14-8, 8-2 Region 1-AAA) led by as many as six in the second half but the lead fizzled thanks in large part to a 7-for-23 night at the free throw line.
“That was the difference in the game,” Patriots’ head coach Dallis Smith said. “We’ve got to make free throws, and we didn’t do it.”
After Kell Miller’s leaner in the lane missed to force overtime, Taylor put the Cougars (12-8, 7-3 Region 1-AAA) up big with a dunk on an in-bounds pass to take a 55-51 lead with 29 seconds left in OT.
T.J. Cromer hit two free throws to cut the lead to 55-53 with seven seconds left before D.J. Jackson made one-of-two on the other end for a three point lead. Josh Black’s 3-point shot at the buzzer was no good, sending Crisp home with a key region win and making Westover’s next game Tuesday against Monroe at Darton College that much more important.
“It was a great win,” Terry Smith said. “Anytime you can win on the road in 1-AAA, it’s a good win. I love Dallis. That’s my fraternity brother and I’d give him the shirt off my back, but I’ve got to pull for Monroe (Tuesday).”
Cromer led Westover with 16 points. Dequan Green added 13 in the loss, while Crisp’s Jontavious Carter finished with 14 points.