The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 13, 2014

H.S. Basketball: Westwood comes close to beating Class 3A No. 21 Fairfield, but falls short 87-81

By BRYAN URBACH
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

With about two minutes left on the clock in regulation, Westwood had a chance to beat Class 3A No. 21 Fairfield on Monday.

Down one point and in possession of the ball, Westwood got down the court and missed two consecutive shots, leading the Eagles to capitalize and eventually win the non-district match, 87-81.

Fairfield played full court press defense almost the entire night, which Westwood struggled with at first, then mastered in the second half.

Westwood coach Scott Nettles said he thought Westwood played a solid game defensively after it figured out how to put a stop to the pressure.

“That was one thing (beating the pressure) that I thought we did well,” Nettles said. “We spaced the floor, we moved the ball. We had a couple of turnovers in a row, but for the most part, we were patient and made pretty good decisions. We attacked when it was there.

“We made some shots tonight,” he added. “Our jump shots and three’s were going in for us and that kept us around.”

With Fairfield being a Class 3A school, Westwood came into the match as an underdog and wasn’t expected to put up much of a fight. Nettles said he thought his team played exceptionally well, despite this week’s game coming on a district bye week.

“Coming in, we knew this was a good 3A basketball team,” Nettles said. “We just wanted to make sure that we competed for four quarters. Sometimes with a bye game, you get in the district routine where everything is high intensity and sometimes during the bye, there’s a little bit of a letdown, but I was really impressed with the way our kids handled the level of the game.

“We played a high level game for four quarters and we gave ourselves a chance,” he added. “Fouls ended up being a real big factor for us. Their depth crept in there at the end and we couldn’t keep them from getting offensive boards.”

One thing that has remained constant all season for the Panthers has been the play of J.J. Turner.

Turner had another monster performance in Monday’s game, scoring 34 points. Nettles said that he’s glad he has someone like Turner to turn to whenever Westwood gets into a slump on the offensive side.

“He’s always going to be a threat to the other teams,” Nettles said of Turner. “Offensively, when he has his jump shot falling, he’s really good. It’s hard to keep him from being a big factor offensively. There were definitely periods in there where he carried us a little bit.”

Westwood’s next match comes on the road on Friday night as it travels to Woden to take on the Eagles.