By BRYAN URBACH
PALESTINE — The Westwood Lady Panthers and the Cayuga Ladycats squared off on Friday night in a Dogwood Circle girls basketball showdown.
The game ended in a 51-46 victory for the Lady Panthers, but the game wasn’t close to being decided until the final minutes.
Westwood’s MiKayla Benson led the way for the Lady Panthers as she finished the night with a quiet 27 points and nine rebounds. Her play down low helped the Lady Panthers in the second half as she made her last 10 shots of the game after going 1-3 previously.
Cayuga seemed to have success with the three-ball in the second half as the Ladycats finished the night 4-12 from beyond the arc, which is about 33 percent, a good number for threes.
Cayuga’s Madison Spears led the way for the Ladycats as she almost brought Cayuga back into the game in the fourth quarter with her free throws.
Spears finished the night 8-10 from the free throw line, and Cayuga fought right along side her till the end. Spears’ 21 points led the Ladycats.
The match started off a bit sluggish, which is understandable because both teams are still getting players into the swing of things with it being early in the season.
Westwood scored only 14 points in the first quarter, which had it leading Cayuga who scored just nine points.
The second quarter was a much better offense performance as Cayuga scored 15 and Westwood scored 12 to bring the halftime score to 26-24 with the Lady Panthers on top.
“It’s kind of good to get off on that start (with a win),” said Westwood coach Brandi McEnturff. “I finally got the rest of my team back on Monday. I knew we would make a lot of mistakes, but the best thing is that they were listening as we were trying to make all of the right adjustments. We’ve got a lot of new faces in here.
“Overall, I was proud of them and proud of how hard they worked,” she added. “We just go back to the drawing board and work on some things that we’re not as good at right now.”
Cayuga and Westwood both struggled mightily in the third quarter as the Ladycats put in just four points to the Lady Panthers’ six.
Thankfully, for both squads, the fourth quarter was a different story.
Spears and Benson led the way for their respective teams, and McEnturff said she was especially proud of the way Benson played tonight.
“She’s my gem down low,” McEnturff said. “She’s just a workhorse. She can go up and get rebounds and put them back in. We’re going to face that all season long of who the other team is going to matchup against her. She’s a very integral part of our game. Last year she started to come around, and she’s very quiet when she scores. People don’t realize in the end that she just had a double-double. She’s so valuable for us.”
Cayuga’s coach John Jackson was unavailable for comment after the game.