Westover’s Achanti Layfield dribbles in for an easy layup during the Lady Patriots’ 62-17 win against Worth County. Layfield scored a game-high 30 points. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Westover girls coach Lewis Smith hasn’t always been happy with his team’s play this season. However, he knows there is still time for the Lady Patriots to improve and make a run at first place in Region 1-AAAA.
They started Tuesday night.
Westover’s defense harassed Worth County early and often, building a large first-half lead and coasting to an easy 62-17 victory at Westover’s Boston Garden.
The Herald No. 4 Lady Patriots forced 22 first-half turnovers and built a 33-point halftime lead. They never looked back.
“We may have missed some little layups earlier, but this was one of our better shooting nights of the season,” Smith said. “It wasn’t a good night from the free throw line. Defensively, everybody got into their right places and showed a lot of hustle, which led to some early shots and we were able to get some things going.”
Westover (11-3, 3-2 Region 1-AAAA) entered Tuesday’s game having won four of its last five. They sat in fourth place behind region leaders Monroe and Dougherty. Crisp County, which defeated the Lady Patriots in overtime on Dec. 10, was third.
But with games against Dougherty on Friday and a rematch with Monroe on Saturday night at the Albany Civic Center, the Lady Patriots can move up in the region standings — especially if they keep playing like they did on Tuesday.
“This is a big week for us,” Smith said. “We had one earlier this season where we had Crisp County and Monroe in the same week. This week is even bigger with three region games, including Dougherty and Monroe.”
Westover forced eight turnovers on Worth County’s first eight trips down the floor. The Lady Rams didn’t score their first basket until the 4:00 mark of the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Westover built leads as high as 19 in the first quarter, then increased it to as high as 33 before halftime.
The Lady Patriots were led by Achanti Layfield’s 30 points. Mykeshia Smith added 12 and Au’Bre’Ana Moore finished with 11.
Worth County (3-8, 1-5) was led by Brianna Farley’s seven points.
Layfield, who had a career night, said it’s important for the Lady Patriots to all be on the same page as they begin the final stretch of the regular season.
“We know how coach Smith is,” Layfield said. “If we learn the system and run the plays like he wants us to, we’ll be all right.”