Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Westview’s fourth showdown of the season with Obion Central turned out to be a survival of the fittest. The Lady Chargers proved to be in better shape.
Beating the Lady Rebels for the third time in four meetings this season, and the second time on Dyersburg’s court in the postseason, Westview survived an extra period to take a thrilling 57-54 win in the semifinals of the Region 7AA Tournament on Monday night.
By winning, the Lady Chargers not only ended defending state runner-up OC’s pursuit of another state tournament trip but also got two steps closer to that goal for themselves by earning a spot in Wednesday’s championship game and Saturday night’s sectional round.
“Awesome, amazing,” Westview head coach Sean Stephenson said to describe the feeling. “Just give our kids credit for fighting through. Certainly, there were some circumstances that warranted laying down and not fighting and giving in when they could have. You hate to see someone go home at this point, but I’m certainly glad to be the one advancing.”
Westview (28-5) will play Covington for the fourth time 7 p.m. Wednesday at Dyersburg, the result determining whether or not the Lady Chargers host the sectional game.
“It’s a short turnaround, but at least it’s not an unfamiliar opponent,” Stephenson said. “We’re well-versed in their personnel, and they are with ours. We’re just going to get some shots up (today) to get our legs back and then go play to host. The good thing about Wednesday is that you’re still going to play Saturday. Covington’s a great team, and we’re going to have to play well.”
Covington reached the title game by rallying past Dyersburg 62-55 in the first semifinal game Monday night.
Westivew advanced by surviving a barrage of 3-point shots from OC’s Paige Hicks in the second quarter and then fighting through miscues and adversity late in regulation and throughout overtime.
Back-to-back treys from Kaitlyn Harrelson and Tiffany Rechis early gave the Lady Chargers a 36-33 lead at 6:01 of the fourth quarter, their first advantage since 14-12 in the second period.
Katelyn Luthi followed with another triple for Westview’s biggest lead of the quarter at 39-35, and then the rest of Westview’s points in regulation came at the line, hitting 6-of-9.
OC fought back, though, as Hicks took a steal in for a layup and later fed Dianne Flippen underneath for a basket to get OC within 42-41 with 48 seconds remaining. Central then hit 4-of-6 at the line, sending the game into an extra quarter on two Brandi Goodman charities with 1.6 seconds to play.
That Westview was able keep going and win was even more impressive considering Rechis, one of the team’s top outside shooters, fouled out with 4:38 to play in regulation.
Teddy Vincent, a good perimeter shooter in her own right, knocked down Westview’s biggest field goal of the game — and only one of overtime — with a triple at 2:39 to break a 47-all tie.
Rachel Jones hit twice at the line and then Hicks scored on a 15-footer off a steal for a 51-50 Lady Rebel lead with 1:50 to play, but Westview’s 7-of-8 shooting at the line trumped Hicks’ 3-pointer to bring down the curtain.
“Give Obion a lot of credit,” Stephenson said. “They kept hanging in there, scrapping and coming back.”
Westview held a slim 12-10 advantage after one period, but then was soon buried under an avalanche of Hicks’ triples as the Rebel perimeter player knocked down four 3-pointers against Westview’s zone looks in the quarter as Central shot out to a 27-20 halftime lead.
“We just had to pay closer attention to her,” Stephenson said of his team’s defensive strategy. “I felt had we done that (pulled out of zone), that would have opened up chances for Brandi inside, and it was more important to me to stay in there and help out rebounding. We just had to do a better job of extending out on her. You get seniors in do-or-die games, and crazy things happen. She played great, but I thought our seniors came up huge, too. Luthi made a big three, Harrelson made some big free throws and, obviously, Teddy made a big shot there at the end, too.”
Hicks led all players with 25 points, and Goodman finished with 17 for OC. Kendall Leyhue scored 15, Harrelson added 13 and Rechis totaled 12 for Westview.
Published in The WCP 2.26.13