Chargers rebound to bounce Obion County
Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 9:58 am
Following a lethargic first half in which his team trailed heavy underdog Obion Central by two points, Suiter spent just a brief moment in the Westview lockerrom before returning to the bench and leaving his team to consider a message written on the blackboard.
The ninth-ranked Chargers responded with a considerably stepped-up effort over the final two quarters and wound up beating the Rebels 70-62 Friday night in Troy.
Westview’s superior athleticism — with Jacob Lloyd and Javier Gordon shaking defenders and making plays at critical junctures while combining for 18 fourth-quarter points — proved to be the difference in Westview handing OC it sixth straight loss.
The Chargers (16-7, 7-3) maintained their hold on second place in District 13AA.
The Lady Chargers showed the rust of a 10-day layoff due to weather postponements, digging themselves an 11-0 hole with turnovers in their first four possessions in what was ultimately a 62-40 loss to the No. 4-ranked and district-leading Lady Rebels.
After the WHS rally, Suiter claimed his scribbled halftime words were for his team simply to be committed to each other and focus on the task at hand after the Chargers were guilty of overall sloppy and uninspired play in the first two quarters when they trailed by as many as five and 25-23 at the break.
“We had to pick up the pace,” insisted the coach, who acknowledged Westview’s decided edge in natural abilities. “We picked up the tempo.
“When Javier (Gordon) is zoned in, he can make a lot happen. He’s probably our most athletic kid. And we challenged Jacob (Lloyd) to make some plays and he did.”
Gordon made a spectacular steal on the front end of the press and converted a traditional 3-point play, before Lloyd then repeated that feat on a drive to double what was a 63-60 Westview lead with 1:15 to play.
Both Gordon and Lloyd had nine points apiece in the final period that started with the Chargers going on a 9-0 run to break a 44-all deadlock with Chris Evans’ only bucket capping that spurt. Dillon Gardner had a pretty reverse layup and Gordon converted inside as part of the rally.
Westview forced OC turnovers on five of six possessions during a stretch to open the second half when it used an 11-2 surge to overtake the Rebs for a 34-27 lead. Gardner, who tallied a game-high 21 points, converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and bottomed a trey to highlight that flurry.
Mike Klien gave the Rebels a huge lift off the bench with back-to-back 3-pointers from deep-range that drew Central even at 42 before a La’Prince Gauldin bucket gave OC a brief lead with 35 ticks left in the third.
The Chargers, though, with a decided edge in quickness, used those talents on the front end of fullcourt pressure down the stretch and ended up forcing the Rebels (8-13, 2-9) into 15 of their 21 turnovers in the second half.
“Any win in our district is a big win, and any way we can get one, we’ll take it,” added Suiter, whose club is only 4-7 after a 12-0 start to the season.
Lloyd finished with 18 points, while Jazell Baker had 14 to give WHS three players in double figures.
In the early game, the Lady Chargers were guilty of nine first-quarter turnovers against Central’s fullcourt pressure and made 21 in all to contribute greatly to their demise.
“I never know how we’re going to handle pressure, and we obviously didn’t handle it well tonight,” said Westview coach Sean Stephenson, who had a handful of players battling flu symptoms during what had been a week-and-a-half layoff due to a pair of postponed games.
“I did think we settled down in the second quarter and were able to make a game out of it when we took care of the ball better and made it a halfcourt game. That’s the key against Obion: make them guard you and make it a halfcourt game because they aren’t nearly as effective if they aren’t creating their offense off their pressure.”
The Lady Rebels zoomed to a 17-4 first-quarter lead, fueled by Westview’s floor mistakes and eight points by Macy Wright.
Martin eventually settled down somewhat in the second period behind the play of Teddy Vincent and made a game out of it until late.
Vincent scored eight straight points during one juncture — including a pair of deep 3-pointers — and had 10 of her team’s 12 points in the quarter as the Lady Chargers crept to within 27-19 at the half.
Twice in the third period, Martin got as close as six — the first time early on a pair of Vincent free throws, then midway through the frame when Breanna Pitcher bottomed a trey to close the difference to 34-28.
Mackenzie Tucker swung the momentum back to OC with a huge trifecta with just under four minutes left, though, and after building its lead back to twin-digits, OC held the ball the final two minutes of the quarter as Westview elected to pack its zone defense into the lane.
Up 40-28 heading into the fourth, Central gradually pulled away. Billie Dee Preuett and Tucker both converted after WHS turnovers with Preuett then knocking down a trey to make it 53-35 at the halfway mark.
“We don’t have that person who can get you 20 or 25 points every night like we’ve had in the past, so the pressure is on us to have five people play well at the same time every night,” Stephenson added. “We have to work for all of our points, and every possession is big for us. We can’t have the turnovers and those wasted possessions like we did tonight.”
Vincent matched Tucker for scoring honors, topping WHS with 14 points. Pitcher finished with 11.
• Editor’s Note: Mike Hutchens is the Sports Editor for the Union City Messenger and can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Jan. 28 at Troy
Jan. 29 at Martin