By MICHAEL S. ADAMS
H-P Sports Editor
Westwood’s 20-point halftime lead was too much for a resurgent second half from the Grapeland Sandiettes.
The Lady Panthers (4-4) defeated Grapeland 88-66 Tuesday night at Panther Gymnasium behind a game-high 28 points from senior Richelle Anthony.
Senior Keriana Gainer added 27, while both players took 54 percent of Westwood’s field goal attempts, hitting 22-of-45 combined.
The Lady Panthers led 44-24 at halftime after Grapeland shot just 23 percent from the floor, hitting 6-of-26 field goal attempts.
“Westwood did a very good job of exposing our weakness by pressing us early,” Grapeland head coach Felicia Meador said. “I think the girls got nervous and we were taking a lot of shots early that we didn’t make.”
But the no-quit Sandiettes fought back in the second half and cut Westwood’s lead to 17 with the score 77-60 with 2:34 left in the game.
Grapeland (0-7) got double-doubles from guards Christy Willis and Opal Hughes.
Willis connected on 9-18 field goal attempts and 3-6 three-point field goals to lead the Sandiettes with 25 points and added 10 rebounds.
Hughes hit 11-19 field goals and was 2-5 from behind the free throw line to score 24 points, all in the second half, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Hughes started the second half hitting 6-7 field goal attempts.
“I was disappointed in our team defense,” Westwood coach Wade Holder said. “(Willis) broke down our defense and she shouldn’t have been able to dominate like she did.
“We didn’t help out in the lane and block out very good. When we would double up on (Willis) it would leave (Hughes) open.”
The Lady Panthers held Grapeland to just 24 points in the first half and recorded five blocks and 11 steals against the Sandiettes.
Westwood’s defense cooled down after halftime. The Lady Panthers had just five steals in the second half.
Senior guard Magen Douglas had a game-high five steals to go with 14 points, going 4-11 from behind the three-point arch.
“Magen was hitting her three’s tonight,” Holder said. “We are starting to get everyone involved in scoring before we start district play.”
The Lady Panthers extended their lead to 27 points at the end of the third quarter, but a hot-shooting Hughes kept Westwood from breaking the game open, aiding the Sandiettes to a 50-percent field goal percentage in the second half.
Hughes, who was 0-3 from the field in the first half, shot 63 percent from the field, connecting on 10-16 field goal attempts in the second half.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and they did a good job,” Meador said. “I have a group of kids who have seen a lot of coaches and are learning a new system from a new coach, but I can’t say enough about their work ethic.”
At halftime, Anthony and Gainer each had 14 points to lead Westwood. The Lady Panthers shot 42 percent from the field, hitting 30-73 field goal attempts.
Westwood shot 65 percent from the free throw line, while Gainer finished with a free-throw percentage of 63 percent, making 5-8 free throws.
Senior guard Kaysie Ives hit 2-3 field goals and 1-4 three-point field goals to add seven points in the Lady Panther win.
Westwood, who has had problems with turnovers in previous games, had just nine turnovers for the game.
“We moved the ball pretty good tonight,” Holder said. “We did a good job of getting the ball to the open person and handling the ball.”
The Lady Panthers will travel to Lufkin Thursday to participate in the Hudson Tournament, while Grapeland will travel to Madisonville for the Madisonville Tournament.
Michael Adams may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
By MICHAEL S. ADAMS