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WHS hopes buzzer-beater is season-changing shot

WHS hopes buzzer-beater is season-changing shot
WHS hopes buzzer-beater is season-changing shot | Westview Chargers, Dillon Gardner, Dyersburg Trojans, Will Thompson, JB Suiter, Martin, Tennessee

Big shot — Westview junior Dillon Gardner, here firing up a shot in the first half, drilled the game winner just before the buzzer to lift the Chargers past host Dyersburg on Friday night, 62-61. Photo by Stephanie Sturgis
With time winding down and his team trailing by a point, Charger Dillon Gardner didn’t let the pressure get to him. Instead of hoisting up a desperation 3-pointer, the junior drove in from the wing, pulled up just at the edge of the lane and nailed a short jumper at the horn to set off a Westview celebration.
Gardner’s basket gave the Chargers a 62-61 victory over the host Dyersburg Trojans. The WHS girls made it a Friday night district sweep by cruising past the Lady Trojans 55-38.
The Chargers have been slumping of late, losing their last five district contests and four consecutive games, but first-year head coach J.B. Suiter hopes Friday night’s furious finish is a season-changing win.
“There is no where but up to go. I hope this win will be a turning point in our season for us,” the Charger coach said.
Westview trailed by nine, 57-48, mid way through the fourth quarter before clawing back into contention. The Chargers turned up the intensity on the press and increased their efforts on the boards. Two free throws by Westview’s Will Thompson were followed by a DHS turnover and a Gardner 3-pointer to cut the gap back to four, 57-53, with 3:25 left in the game.
The Trojans missed a layup and Gardner grabbed the rebound, leading to a fastbreak, reverse layup by Thompson.
Thompson drew an offensive foul to give the ball back to WHS and then he drew another foul, earning a trip to the free-throw line. The sophomore hit one of two attempts to slice the deficit to a single point with 2:00 left in the game.
The Trojans ran just more than a minute off the clock before Winn Decker scored on a backdoor layup to stretch the DHS lead to three, 59-56, with 55 ticks left on the clock.
At the 35-second mark, Westview’s Jacob Lloyd hit one free throw to make it a two-point game again.
Westview sent Kody Howard to the line, and he hit a pair to extend the DHS lead back to four with 27 seconds left in the game.
The Chargers then set a pair of screens for Lloyd who was fouled on a trey attempt. He sank all three freebies to make it a one-point game again, 61-60, with 18 seconds remaining.
The Trojans threw the ball away with an errant inbounds pass, but Lloyd missed a runner down the lane with 12 seconds left. Sam Crocker grabbed the rebound for Dyersburg and was immediately fouled.
With 10 seconds left, Crocker missed the front end of a one-and-one try and Chris Evans hauled in the rebound for WHS. Evans got the ball into Lloyd’s hands, but he was tripped near mid court. Antonio Hogard gathered the loose ball and found Gardner open on the right wing. His leaner beat the buzzer and elevated Westview to the 62-61 victory.
“I knew when I saw Dillon glance up at the clock he wasn’t going to take the quick 3-pointer and was going to drive in. I felt like we had it won right then,” Suiter said. 
The teams played evenly through the first quarter, which ended with an 11-all tie. The Chargers were up by four, 21-17, on an Evans putback with 4:17 to play in the second quarter.
From there, four consecutive WHS turnovers allowed the Trojans to start a 15-2 run that provided them with a 32-23 halftime lead.
The teams traded threes early in the third before a late Westview defensive flurry led to fastbreak layups and cut the DHS advantage to five, 47-42, heading into the fourth.
Lloyd led Westview with 19 points, followed by 14 from Thompson and 12 from Gardner. Decker’s 15 points topped Dyersburg.
In the girls game, the Lady Chargers were rarely challenged in cruising to the 55-38 victory over the host Dyersburg girls.
After getting little in the way of offensive contributions from anyone other than Amber Rechis and Grace Ann Swaim in last Tuesday night’s loss to Gibson County, the Westview girls got a boost from both Sara Olds and Taylor Swaim. Olds reached double digits with 11 points, while Taylor Swaim added seven points.
“I told Sara and Taylor tonight was their most complete game,” WHS coach Sean Stephenson said.
Grace Ann Swaim scored seven of her 12 points in the first quarter as Westview quickly pulled ahead 16-4. The lead stretched to 28-10 by halftime and was at 42-30 after three quarters.
Rechis ended with a game-high 24 points. Kay K Tate’s 13 was tops for Dyersburg.

Jan. 22 at Dyersburg
Westview (55) — Amber Rechis 24, Grace Ann Swaim 12, Sara Olds 11, Taylor Swaim 7, Jacey Sims 1.
Dyersburg (38) — Kay K Tate 13, Brandi Davis 6, Amber Mosley 6, Rudy Wesley 4, Jolyta Taylor 4, Lauren Evans 2, Madison Butler 2, Rachel Gauldin 1.
3-pointers: Westview — Rechis (2), G. Swaim, Olds; Dyersburg — none.
Records: Westview 16-4 (7-3 District 13-AA), Dyersburg 9-11 (4-6 District 13-AA).

Westview (62) — Jacob Lloyd 19, Will Thompson 14, Dillon Gardner 12, Jazell Baker 6, Antonio Hogard 4, Javier Gordon 3, Chris Evans 2, Garrett Vincent 2.
Dyersburg (61) — Winn Decker 15, Tevin Taylor 12, Sam Crocker 9, Kody Howard 9, Trey Walker 6, Marcus Nelson 5, Andrew Sanders 3, Percy Brown 2.
3-pointers: Westview — Lloyd (3), Gardner (2); Dyersburg — Walker (2), Howard, Decker, Sanders, Nelson.
Records: Westview 8-10 (3-7 District 13-AA), Dyersburg 9-11 (5-6 District 13-AA).

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