While Westfield’s Caroline Amos was pleased with the way her team played in the first half, she pretty much knew Thursday’s game against Tattnall Square would end up being close.
After all, the two teams had met twice already, and both games came down to the final minutes.
The championship game at the Tattnall Christmas tournament was no exception at the Lady Hornets hung on for a 50-44 win, capturing their second straight title at the tournament.
“We talked about them coming back at the half,” said Amos, who scored all nine of her points in the first half. “They are too good of a team to let us have an easy win. We wanted to play a great first five minutes of the third quarter, but it didn’t work out that way. We all stuck together when we weren’t playing well, and I think that’s what got us through.”
It didn’t look like the Lady Hornets would need any help in the first half. They led by five at the end of the first quarter and took their biggest lead of the game at 31-17 on an Ellen Grier basket. But Tattnall rallied behind Ivey Slaughter to cut the lead to 10 at the half at 33-23. Slaughter had 15 of those points to go with eight rebounds.
The second half saw Tattnall come out with a much better defensive effort, and cut the lead to five at the end of the third quarter, then cut the lead to one at 44-43 on a Kayla Steele basket. Steele, who was scoreless in the first half, scored six points in the second half and actually was at the line with a chance to give her team the lead. She missed the front end of a 1-and-1, however, and Westfield was able to hit 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
“No doubt they turned up the intensity on us in the second half,” Westfield head coach Cass Cassell. “Tattnall Square is an excellent basketball team, with a great player in Ivey Slaughter and a lot of good players around her. I thought they were able to take us out of out game, but we made enough free throws down the stretch to win the game. Now we can take off until Monday, see some family and get ready for the region schedule.”
Amos led the Lady Hornets with nine points, followed by Jeannia Rust with eight. Slaughter had a game-high 24 points to go with 16 rebounds. Westfield improves to 8-4 while Tattnall drops to 10-2.
“We came out flat, but were able to get back in the game,” Tattnall head coach Todd Whetsel said.