PERRY -- Stratford found itself in familiar territory Friday night in Perry.
Playing on the road again, the Eagles entered the fourth quarter needing a handful of defensive stops to gain a victory.
Stratford came up with a big answer again.
The Eagles held the Hornets to just one field goal during the fourth quarter as they pulled away in a 60-49 victory.
This is a tough place to play; the crowd was awesome. And we played them for the state championship in football, and a lot of those same guys are out there, Stratford head coach Jamie Dickey said. We expected a physical game. They play defense really well and make you work for every point.
The win came in a game in which both teams relied on their offensive and defensive efforts in the paint. Both frontcourts thrived as a result. Westfields William Amos asserted his physical presence throughout the game, scoring 17 points, most of them coming close to the basket.
Hes a monster for them. Its a tough matchup for us, Dickey said. We tried to play him a couple of different ways, and he still found ways score.
Stratfords DJ Boyd and John Clark helped the Eagles counter. Clark had 14 to go with the 13 of Boyd. Guard Quintez Cephus matched Clark with 14.
With so much of the game being played close to the basket, aggressive defense became the norm, resulting at times in missed shots close to the basket.
We hacked each other a good bit, Westfield head coach Jake Walls said. Some of those shots are high-pressure shots. But in big games, someone has to step up and make those shots. You have to finish those shots, those shots have got to go down and we have to find a way to will it into the basket.
Those missed shots doused hopes of a comeback by the Hornets, who trailed 46-43 near the end of the third quarter.
Two layups by Stratfords Jonathan Hefner, the second off a behind-the-back pass from Boyd, extended the Eagles lead to 50-43 entering the fourth quarter.
Westfield was unable to rally. An Amos score cut the Eagles lead to 52-47 early in the fourth, but a 6-0 run finished off by two Clark scores, combined with multiple defensive stops by Stratford, ensured the Eagles win.
The Stratford girls came out on the winning end of another nail-biter, winning 44-43. Taylor Reese led the Eagles with 21 points and Bonnie Jarrard had 10. For the Hornets, Chelsea Whaley had 17 points and Callie Hammerle scored 13 in a losing effort.