Westview misses shot to advance
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
All J.B. Suiter wanted was a chance at the end.
When Jazell Baker’s driving lay-up rolled around the rim and off at the end of regulation, though, the Westview coach and his troops didn’t get a second opportunity.
Seventh-ranked Jackson South Side scored the first 12 points of overtime to effectively end the Chargers’ season Saturday night, beating No. 9 Westview 74-64 in a Region 7AA Tournament quarterfinal thriller in Martin.
The loss brought to an immediate end the Chargers’ otherwise stellar 2011-12 campaign — one that saw them win 24 games and finish second in both the District 13AA regular season and postseason tournament.
And Westview — which was state-ranked the final month of the regular season — didn’t go down without a fight against an athletically-gifted South Side bunch which used its length and prowess around the bucket to ultimately put away the Chargers.
Westview rallied from a double-digit first-half deficit, climbed out of an eight-point hole in the third quarter, and was seemingly in the driver’s seat after Chris Evans drew a critical charge and Javier Gordon made two free throws with 56 seconds left in regulation to put the hometeam up 62-60.
The Hawks (22-6) answered with two free throws by Maliek Hicks at the 48-second mark before Westview milked the final ticks off the clock with the aid of two timeouts that allowed them to escape trouble.
After the second of those timeouts, Baker was isolated first at the head of the key before beating his defender to the bucket and getting off a shot on the move under heavy pressure. The attempt banked off the backboard and rolled around the front of the rim before bouncing off the right side, though, with the regulation horn sounding just a second afterward.
In the extra four minutes that ensued, South Side scored on its first possession when Jaylen Barford converted from underneath and later made six consecutive free throws. Westview, meanwhile, missed its first six shots from the field, two more from the charity stripe, and committed a turnover before getting a meaningless bucket by Jordan Davis with four seconds to go that accounted for the final margin.
“We had a shot at the end. There wasn’t much more I could’ve asked for,” said a disappointed, but proud Suiter immediately afterward. “We had a good look. I thought it (Baker’s shot) was going in.
“Then in the overtime, they just seemed to have more energy than we did.”
The Chargers trailed by as many as 10 in the first half and by eight in the initial stages of the third period before catching fire with their best stretch of the night to pull even and then briefly ahead on a handful of occasions.
Tyquis Johnson made the last of his three 3-pointers to forge a 46-all deadlock with 3:30 left in the third, and a stickback by Evans 18 seconds later gave Westview its first lead since early in the contest.
After SS scored on back-to-back possessions to leap-frog back in front, Gordon then twice tied the count before Antonio Hogard’s driving hoop made it 54-all heading into the stretch run.
Suiter elected to slow down the pace in that fourth period, content with taking time off the clock when South Side did not apply defensive pressure.
The Chargers twice held two-point leads during the period and deadlocked the count on three other occasions — at 60 when the Hawks were called for goal tending on Gordon’s attempt with 2:26 to go, and then when he made two aforementioned foul shots with less than a minute left.
“We might’ve lost a little rhythm offensively or a little momentum by backing off there in the fourth, but I thought it was something we had to do in order to have a shot at the end,” Suiter continued. “We had such a small margin for error because of their athleticism and length.
“I can’t say enough about our kids and their effort, though. They bounced back from a not-very-good performance in the district championship game with three good days of practice and gave us everything they had tonight. It makes this a little easier to take — but not much.”
Gordon had 16 points to lead a quartet of double-figure scores for Westview. He was joined by Hogard (12), and both Baker and Evans who had 10 apiece.
The game was the last in a Westview uniform for seniors Evans, Adam Reinhard and Jermaine Fuller.
Published in The WCP 2.28.12