Westside hasn’t had the most luck when standout Tre’anna Smith isn’t on the floor.
The Seminoles have struggled at times when their senior center has been in foul trouble.
There was no such trouble, however, Friday when Smith left the game in the third quarter with her fourth foul. The Seminoles (17-12) put together one of their best quarters of basketball this season, using a 24-11 run to close the game and pull away from Glynn Academy for a 77-63 win in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs.
Point guard Jazzmin Grove scored 11 points in the second half, while senior Jessica Gainey scored 10 of her career-high 16 points in the second half.
“Obviously, I want to be out there,” Smith said. “And I know my teammates want me out there. But they’re good basketball players, too. They showed that (Friday). They were huge.”
Smith, who will play at Arkansas-Little Rock, came up with one of her best games of the year, too. Her dominance on the offensive glass helped the Seminoles keep pace with the athletic Lady Terrors for much of the game. The senior finished with 29 points and 20 rebounds — 15 coming on the offensive end. Her play in the first half and the first part of the third quarter helped Westside match Glynn Academy basket for basket.
The Lady Terrors scored 23 points in the first quarter and led by as many as nine points in the first half. But the Seminoles closed the gap quickly in the second quarter, using a 14-3 run to open the second quarter and take a two-point lead, which they eventually stretched to four at the half.
“They came out so quick that we really felt that it would be hard for any team to sustain that kind of offense,” Westside head coach Deb Baber said.
Glynn Academy, however, got another strong start in the third quarter when Janisha Wilkerson shouldered the Lady Terrors’ scoring load. The senior center scored her team’s first 10 points of the third quarter to help them regain the lead.
After a quick Westside spurt put the Seminoles back up by six points, Smith drew her fourth foul with less than two minutes to play in the quarter. At that time, Smith had 26 points and 17 rebounds.
Glynn Academy quickly retook the lead at 52-51 and with Smith likely spending the first half of the fourth quarter on the bench, the Lady Terrors seemingly gained control of the game.
But Westside got a layup from Antonise Harper to regain the lead. On the Lady Terrors’ next possession, Westside senior Alfie Gore went to the floor for a loose ball and managed to roll it ahead to Grove for a layup with six seconds left in the quarter. The play by Gore, a senior who doesn’t play a lot of minutes, changed the tone of the game.
“I think that was the difference,” Smith said. “To have her make that play and get us into the fourth quarter with momentum was huge.”
Westside then settled into its press and continuously hounded the Glynn Academy ballhandlers. After four turnovers and easy layups, the Seminoles led by 10 and never let the Lady Terrors within 10 points the rest of the way.
Wilkerson scored 16 of her team’s 30 second-half points and finished with 24 points in the game.