By JUSTIN RAINS
Looking to finish up the first round of district play unbeaten, the 17th-ranked Westwood boys’ basketball team made it look easy Friday.
The Panthers rolled past visiting Woden, 61-33, in a game that was only close for the first few minutes before Westwood turned it on and pulled away.
The visiting Eagles actually led early on, as Westwood struggled to find its touch from the field. The Panthers missed their first six shots before Chris Thompson hit a baseline jumper to finally get the Panthers on the board.
From there, the flood gates opened, and it was Dra Ross who opened them.
After missing his first four attempts from the field, the senior post dominated for the remainder of the second half.
Ross hit six-straight shots to end the half, and when the Panthers took a 32-14 lead into halftime, he had almost as many points (12) as Westwood’s visitors.
He also pulled down seven rebounds in the first half alone en route to a monster double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The stifling Westwood defense never allowed Woden to score more than 11 points in a quarter, and that 11 came in the fourth when the Panthers had emptied their bench. Prior, Woden’s highest-scoring frame was eight points in both the first and third quarters.
Besides Ross, Westwood got 11 points each from L.J. Hutchison and Chris Thompson, with Thompson also pulling down seven rebounds.
Both J.J. Turner and Damontrey House had four, with Sam Carlisle and Darian Walker each pitching in three.
Even La’Rodney Brown got in on the act, as the senior scored two points, as did Jacobee Newton.
The win keeps Westwood one game ahead of Crockett for the district lead, after the Bulldogs beat Elkhart, 85-78 Friday. That loss dropped Elkhart to 4-2 in league play, and that trio of teams currently occupy 19-2A’s three playoff spots.
Westwood (16-8, 6-0) travels to Groveton Tuesday for games beginning at 5 p.m., before hitting the road to Elkhart Friday.
CAYUGA 95, Wortham 46
The sixth-ranked Cayuga boys’ basketball team got big nights from Chandler Rigdon and star Preston Anderson, rolling to a 95-46 win over Wortham Friday.
Rigdon had a team-high 26 for the Wildcats, while Anderson added 23. Cayuga also got 15 from Deon Shofner in the victory.
Both Brayden Walthal and Don Holly finished with seven points for Cayuga (17-6, 3-0), while Trayce Howard had five.
The Wildcats host Kerens Tuesday in a battle of teams unbeaten in district play. Games begin at 5 p.m.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org