THOMSON, Ga. -- The lane along the end of a basketball court is generally known as the `baseline' but after Friday night's Thomson-Westside Region 3 -- AAA sub-region B semifinal game it might be renamed Jackson Highway.
Westside junior Terry Jackson abused the Thomson defense as the No. 3 seeded Patriots (15-9) upended the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs 63-45. Jackson scored nine of Westside's 12 points in the opening quarter. His 6-foot-2 frame eluded the bigger Bulldog defenders as he made his way across the baseline.
"I felt I was in a groove tonight," said Jackson, who led all scorers with 29 points. "Elri (Parker) was setting good picks and I was able to get to the basket with nobody there.
"We knew we were going to have to challenge their big men and get them in foul trouble. We had to attack the basket."
Jackson had 16 of his team's 23 halftime points, but Thomson (17-6) trailed by just five heading into the intermission. Tobias McCord sank two free-throws with 6:17 remaining in the game that pulled the Bulldogs to within one point of the Patriots, 35-34.
Ndu Egekeze scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help Westside break the game open. The Patriots won the contest on the foul line where they were good on 16 of 22 free-throw attempts in the final period to secure a spot in tonight's sub-region championship game against Glenn Hills at Thomson. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Westside lost both regular-season meetings with Glenn Hills, but that shouldn't dim the Patriots' hopes because they also lost twice to Thomson.
Westside coach Marvin Fields said it took a total team effort to get by the Bulldogs and said a similar effort is required if the Patriots are to win tonight.
"The guys thought they could compete against them and they showed that tonight," Fields said. "Glenn Hills is an excellent team. We'll have to do as well or probably even better than we did tonight to beat Glenn Hills."
Thomson's reliance on the long ball ultimately hurt them as they could only sink two of 24 shots from behind the three-point arc. While the Bulldogs settled for outside jumpers, Westside's Egekeze and Parker fought in the paint for offensive rebounds. The duo combined for four second-chance baskets.
Travis Grissom had 12 points to lead the Bulldogs.
The Glenn Hills girls team used a 21-3 first-half run to turn an 11-2 deficit into a 23-14 lead en route to their 54-39 victory over Westside. The Lady Spartans will meet Thomson tonight at 6 p.m. in the Dog House.
Veronica DeLoach and Ashaki Brown each had 11 points to pace Glenn Hills. Katie Lawrence had 13 for the Lady Patriots.
Lady Spartans coach Mary Helen McElreath wasn't concerned when her team got off to a sluggish start.
"We were getting the shots we wanted, they just weren't falling," she said. "In the second quarter they fell in for us. Our defense kept us in it."
WESTSIDE (63) -- Leon Mack 5, Terry Jackson 29, Chris Johnson 7, Elri Parker 9, Ndu Egekeze 13. Totals 20 22-31 63.
THOMSON (45) -- Carlos Brown 2, Travis Grissom 12, Kyle Murray 4, Cosmos Kendrick 6, Tobias McCord 6, Rod Wiley 3, Cazzy Lemon 10, Arlando Moss 2. Totals 18 7-10 45.
Westside -- 9 14 12 28 -- 63
Thomson -- 12 6 12 15 -- 45
3-point goals: Westside 1 (Jackson 1), Thomson 2 (Grissom 2). Next: Westside vs. Glenn Hills, today, 7:30 p.m. at Thomson for Region 3-AAA B championship.
Glenn Hills girls -- 54
Westside -- 39
GLENN HILLS (54) -- Leslie Jenkins 4, Marquita Lacey 9, April Hankerson 7, Shola Walker 5, Renata Bean 2, Ashaki Brown 11, Veronica Deloach 11, Tomeka Hill 5. Totals 20 12-21 54.
WESTSIDE (39) -- Sherri Dardin 10, Katie Lawrence 13, Bethany O'Brian 5, Lisa Thacker 5, Brook Allen 4, Lisa Arnold 2. Totals 12 14-26 39.
Glenn Hills -- 5 21 16 12 -- 54
Westside -- 11 5 13 10 -- 39
3-point goals: Glenn Hills 2 (Brown 1, Hankerson 1), Westside 1 (O'Brian 1). Next: Glenn Hills vs. Thomson, today, 6 p.m. for Region 3-AAA B championship.