Positive Chargers spark happy dance
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 12:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
After watching his team make just three first-half field goals in what could only be described as a dismal offensive display, Sean Stephenson defied conventional wisdom when addressing the Westview girls at the intermission.
And the surprise strategy worked.
The Lady Chargers rallied from a double-digit deficit, completing a stirring comeback with a run of 13 consecutive points down the stretch to stun Covington 51-44 Friday night.
“Actually, I just tried to stay positive,” Stephenson grinned when asked for the overview of his halftime talk in light of a 22-12 deficit and woeful play on offense. “I’ve done some heavy talking to them a few times earlier this year, but I just pointed out that we didn’t do anything at all offensively in the first half and surely didn’t do the things that we’d worked on practice. And we were still in the game.
“In the second half, we spread the floor better, made some 3-pointers and got the ball inside to Teddy (Vincent), where she had good success.”
Kendall Leyhue scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half and Tiffany Rechis hit for eight of her 14 markers over the final eight minutes to help Westview (16-7, 10-4) move past Covington (15-8, 9-5) into third place in District 13AA with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Homecoming was deemed a complete success after the Westview boys completed the sweep, knocking off league-leading Covington 63-51 in the nightcap.
The Martin Chargers (18-5, 11-3) locked down the Tipton County visitors with dizzying defensive play in the first half in which they allowed just 13 points — three in the second period.
Westview built its 13-point halftime lead to as many as 22 in the third period behind the hot hand of sophomore Tyquis Johnson, who drained three of his four 3-pointers during the stanza.
Jazell Baker then halted the visitors’ comeback hopes in the fourth quarter after the lead had been dwindled to nine at one point, scoring 10 of his 15 points during that time.
The two Westview wins avenged earlier close road losses at Covington and left the boys just one game out of a first-place tie and the girls a game back of Dyersburg for second in 13AA.
Westview plays at South Gibson tonight.
Westview 51, Cov. 44 (G)
Outscored 10-1 in the first four minutes and with Vincent making its only two field goals of the first 13 minutes, Westview found its rhythm and shooting touch in the second half when it outscored Covington 39-22.
Kendall Leyhue made a trey, then immediately converted an old-fashioned 3-point play in the latter stages of the third period to draw the host team within 30-27.
After Covington expanded that difference to six points at the end of the quarter and was still up 41-33 early in the fourth, Westview put together its telling run and most impressive stretch of the night.
Kaley Leyhue made her only two buckets in the contest — both 3-pointers — after Rechis had begun the flurry with a trifecta of her own. Two foul shots by Rechis tied the game at 41 with 4:31 showing before Vincent converted a stickback chance to give Westview its first lead with 3:50 showing. The second of Kaley Leyhue’s shots from beyond the arc capped the spurt.
Rechis then made 3-of-4 foul shots and Kendall Leyhue scored in transition over the final 49 seconds to keep the Blue and Gold in front.
“It was obviously a big win for us because it puts us in control of our own destiny as far as finishing third in the district and getting a favorable home game in the first round of the district tournament,” Stephenson added.
Vincent’s 16 points led all scorers.
Westview 63, Cov. 51 (B)
Reaching, snatching and grabbing at every turn and opportunity, Westview put on a defensive clinic in the first half.
“Our position defense was just tremendous,” winning head coach J.B. Suiter agreed. “We just played hard. We contested shots, we battled in the paint and we really just got after them.”
With regular starter Javier Gordon out due to sickness, Johnson — usually a substitute — made his presence known in the third quarter after a quiet first half.
He buried consecutive 3-pointers from the left wing after Jordan Davis and Antonio Hogard had also connected from downtown to give Westview its largest lead at 39-17 with a little over three minutes left in the third. After Covington’s Demarcus Seaberry rattled off eight straight points, Johnson hit again from the perimeter to widen the gap to 42-25.
The visitors made a deeper cut into the difference in the fourth frame, but another Johnson longball and an impressive sequence by Baker that saw him score on a nice driving scoop shot, two free throws and a slashing 3-point play sealed the Westview triumph.
“It’s important because playing at home (in the postseason) is a huge advantage for us and we obviously want to get the highest seed possible,” Suiter continued. “The top spot is still our goal.”
Hogard led a quartet of Westview scorers in double figures with 18 points. Baker had 15, Davis added 13 and Johnson finished with 12. Published in The WCP 1.31.12