The Westwood Lady Cats pose with the region championship trophy after defeating Southwest Georgia Academy in the region tournament held at Terrell Academy in Dawson.

The Westwood Lady Cats are at it again. Last Friday night Westwood beat Southwest Georgia 45-41 in a hard fought back and forth battle to win the Region 3-AA championship for the fourth straight time.

In a year full of challenges, the Lady Cats have made back into the GISA playoffs — this time as the No. 2 seed — and have earned a first-round bye. The Lady Cats are now 12-4 on the season and have edged out Southwest Georgia three times.

Westwood sophomore Hanna Glass knocked down 18 points to lead the Lady Cats, point guard Monique Judge added nine points and Nia Benefield scored eight and pulled down a team high eight rebounds. Post player Emily Childress blocked three shots and leads the state in that category.

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“It’s been a challenging season,” said Westwood head coach Derrick Harris. “We missed a couple of games because of COVID, but the girls have handled all of this and just continued to work.”

The GISA girls playoffs begin Tuesday night with Southwest Georgia facing Robert Toombs, Terrell Academy taking on Edmund Burke and Crisp Academy battling Augusta Prep. The Lady Cats won’t play until Friday, when they play the winner of the Gatewood-Cottage School game.

Westwood has won three straight GISA championships and lost in the state finals by two points the year prior to that. But Brentwood (25-3) took the top seed in the GISA. The Lady Cats defeated Brentwood in the state semifinals a year ago.

“They have some weapons,” said Harris. “But so do we. They have been the top team all season, so it will definitely be challenging if we get to play them. Right now, we are taking just one game at a time.”

GISA schools might not like to know how young the Lady Cats are with only two seniors in De’Ericka Harris and Naia Benefield and one junior in point guard Monique Judge. The rest of the team is loaded with sophomores, freshmen and one eighth-grader.

On the boys side, Terrell Academy (14-4) beat Westwood (6-9) 44-37 to claim another region title and take the No. 5 seed heading into the tournament. The Eagles will host the Cottage School in Dawson Wednesday night, while Westwood took the 11th seed and will travel to Sandersville to take on sixth-seeded Brentwood in the first round of the state playoffs. Winners advance to Macon where games will be played at Tatnall Square Academy and then the Final Four will be in Americus at Georgia Southwestern.

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