Westfield girls basketball head coach Cass Cassell has been waiting for his veteran team to play a little better than it had showed in its first nine games.
That wait came to an end in the opening round of the Tattnall Square Christmas tournament Tuesday as they dismantled John Milledge 57-30. The Lady Hornets broke open a close game in the second quarter by outscoring John Milledge 17-6 and never looked back as they notched their sixth win of the season.
“We have played a lot of close games so far, and I was expecting another one in this game,” Cassell said. “I thought that we had a good practice (Monday) and that we were ready to play, and we finally seemed to put an entire game together. We stressed rebounding and pressuring the basketball, which is what we will always do. We feel like we have to wear the other team down because we can go 10 deep. I have never platooned with a team as much as this one, but it seems like it works well.”
All 10 dressed players for Westfield had already received playing time in the first five minutes of the contest. The constant pressure obviously wore down John Milledge by the second quarter, as the Lady Trojans turned the ball over 11 times in the quarter alone. Meanwhile the Lady Hornets got six points from senior post player Jeannia Rust in a 13-2 spurt that gave them a 31-14 lead at the half.
Westfield continued to dominate the boards and play pressure basketball for the rest of the game. The Lady Hornets forced 31 turnovers and outrebounded John Milledge 32-17.
Christine Campbell added eight points for Westfield, while Sarah Miller led all scorers with 16 for John Milledge
“It was probably our best game of the year, but we all know what we are capable of,” said Rust, who ended the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds. “We worked hard over the Christmas break, and we felt like we are starting to figure out what Coach Cassell wants us to do. We know we have to play as a team to be successful, and a lot of us have been playing together since the eighth grade. Sometimes it’s hard coming out after four minutes in almost every quarter, but I know that we are always fresh when we are playing, and that is a big advantage for us.”
Tattnall Square 61, Central Fellowship 13
The Tattnall Sqaure Lady Trojans cruised to a 61-13 win over Central Fellowship to advance to the semifinals.
Tattnall Square jumped out to a 35-4 lead at the half before emptying the bench for much of the second half. Ivey Slaughter scored 21 points and Kayla Steele added 10 as the Lady Trojans won for the ninth time in 10 games.
“I think it is always better to play a game than to just practice,” Tattnall head coach Todd Whetsel said. “It really is difficult for both teams. We needs all the experience we can get because eight of our 12 players are in the ninth grade or younger.”