SLOCUM – The Westwood Panthers took home the silver bracket championship Saturday after defeating the Martinsville Pirates, 53-51.
Another close contest went in favor of the Panthers at the Slocum varsity tournament Saturday as Westwood needed a 60-57 win against Joaquin to advance to the silver bracket title game. They were in store for another battle as no team led by more than five in the first half.
Boston Anderson got things started for the Panthers in the first quarter with a hard take to the rim for the first basket of the game. After Huntington responded, Lamarion Goodwyn, answered with a tough finish in the paint. Martinsville rattled out two quick baskets to take their first lead of the game, 6-4 before a 5-0 run from Westwood shifted the lead back to them 7-6. TJ Davis had a nice finish at the rim to end the quarter that help them take a 9-6 lead into the second quarter.
Davis picked up his end-of-quarter momentum with another layup early in the second. Martinsville refused to allow Westwood to build any type of comfortable lead as they shot back with their first three of the game.
On the opposite end, Shannon Jackson found his stroke from behind the arc – pushing Westwood in front 16-11. Again, the Pirates seized their opportunity to close the gap with a 5-0 run before Davis cashed Westwood’s second three of the contest.
Brandon Russell scored six of Westwood’s final eight points as the game sat tied at 27 heading into the third quarter.
Neither team was able to fully shift momentum to their side in the third quarter. Leondric Lacy gave Westwood a little bit of breathing room with his first three of the contest that was followed by a layup from Russell to give them a 36-30 lead.
The Panthers finally got their largest lead of the game when a Goodwyn and-one sequence followed Reg’e Harrison’s first triple of the game. It gave Westwood a 42-35 advantage with under two minutes left in the quarter. The Pirates were able to reduce their deficit to four as Westwood still carried a 44-40 lead into the fourth.
Back-to-back baskets from the Pirates allowed them to retake the lead, 45-44, with 6:34 of game time remaining. Jackson finally ended a two-minute scoring drought for the Panthers with a needed three from the left corner that regained them the lead, 47-45.
The Pirates stayed persistent and found another two baskets – one layup and another 10-foot jump shot — that snatched the lead back, 49-47. Trailing 51-48, the Panthers’ sense of urgency began to show itself.
Russell, who had been Westwood’s leading scorer throughout the tournament, was called upon for a needed basket and he delivered at the rim through a sea of Pirate defenders. After their third consecutive defensive stop, a beautiful dish from Anderson to Josh Davis gave the Panthers a 52-51 lead with a minute left. Westwood went into their full-court press defense and forced a critical turnover from the Pirates that resulted in free throws for the Panthers.
Russell closed the game for them with 13 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Jackson finished with eight points and five rebounds, while Lacy recorded four points and eight rebounds.