ALBANY, Ga. — Since losing to Eagle’s Landing in last year’s Elite Eight, Westover coach Dallis Smith told his team that if it wanted to put its stamp in school history it would have to go one step farther.
Thursday, the Patriots signed, sealed and delivered one of the school’s biggest wins, triumphing over Glenn Hills, 68-51, to claim a spot in the Class AAAA Final Four.
“I’ve been there (Final Four) before, but for these kids here I’m so proud of them because they have done a great job all year long,” Smith said.
Realizing Westover was playing a little loose in the first half, Glenn Hills went right inside, scoring six of its first nine points in the paint. When the Patriots went to a zone defense in the second quarter, Glenn Hills found its stroke from behind the arc, burying four 3-pointers in the first half to give the Spartans a 34-31 halftime lead.
“We made shots in the first half,” Glenn Hills coach Travis McRae said.
Equally important to the hot shooting was the Spartans’ ability to frustrate Westover’s C.J. Davis in the first half by denying him the ball down low.
But knotted at 34-34 with 4:02 left in the third quarter, Davis busted his way through the Spartan defense, got a defender in the air and went up strong for an and-one basket underneath. The play gave the Patriots their first lead since early in the second quarter – a lead the team would not surrender.
“I knew either way this was going to be our last home game so I brought it all to the table,” said Davis, who finished with team-highs in points (18) and rebounds (10).
The second-half offensive explosion from Westover started with defense as the Patriots did not yield a point to Glenn Hills until 3:24 in the third quarter. They ended the quarter with 15 points to just three from the Spartans.
“It’s all about making adjustments at halftime to what they are doing,” Smith said. “They have a great team with four shooters on the floor that will spread you out. We put a lot of emphasis on their point guard and made someone else beat us.”
Aubrey McRae led Glenn Hills with 20 points.
Zi Cook had 14 points and Marice Obannon contributed seven points.