Coach Ivory Hugee knew what the other side was capable of doing. He only had to cite a game from a week ago.
But his Westside girls basketball team closed strongly to halt a rally attempt and beat Henry County, 65-41, Friday night at Westside in the first round of the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAA state tournament.
One week earlier, Henry County trailed Drew 40-17 before losing by 10.
On Friday, Westside was in front by 18 points early in the fourth and the Lady Hawks close to within 12.
“We have to play better,” Hugee said. “It gets tougher each round.”
But just when it seemed Henry County might make it a single-digit game, Westside (25-4) regrouped.
Azia Gibson, who led all scorers with 19 points, helped the Lady Patriots surge right back.
The big boost early on came from Tatyana Dumas, who hit four 3-pointers in the first half to help Westside turn a 5-0 hole into a 39-25 halftime edge. She finished with 18 points.
The strong finish made up for the sluggish second-half offensive stretch, when Westside got into turnover and foul trouble.
Still, with the Lady Patriots’ defense holding the Lady Hawks without a field goal for more than six minutes, Westside kept its lead at 14 points entering the final period.
Christina Thomas added 11 points for the Lady Patriots, who advance to play the winner of Crisp County and Howard in the second round.
Kionna Coleman led Henry County with 12 points. Taylor Cistrunk added 10.