Published Saturday, February 02, 2013
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
County basketball lineups have seen enough from a pair of talented Westlake teams this week to not want to see them make a return trip to anytime soon.
Unfortunately, the Region 3-AAAAAA tournament in Sharpsburg is just over a week away — and the division’s other three lineups may equally need to keep a watchful eye.
On Friday at the Max Bass Athletic Center, respective Newnan teams had no better luck than East Coweta did three days earlier in trying to defend two lineups sitting in either first or second in the region standings.
While the Lady Cougars struggled to keep up while trying to play an aggressive tempo in a 71-48 loss where it was difficult to stay out of foul trouble, Newnan’s boys were also ineffective in gaining any further ground against the No. 10 state-ranked Lions, losing 66-42.
The win kept Westlake’s boys (19-4) perched on top of the 3-AAAAAA standings at 7-1 overall with two home games remaining while now riding a nine-game winning streak into Tuesday. Newnan dropped its second straight region game while falling to 3-5 and 13-9 overall.
Rallying from a double-digit deficit to close within nine at halftime, the Cougars fell apart in the third. Playing much like a tournament favorite, Westlake — which scored seven unanswered points to open the game — closed the third with nine straight to complete a 15-4 run that pushed the Lions lead to 20 and well beyond.
It was as close as Newnan’s boys came from there on a night where its top-two leading scorers — Doniel Dean and Immanuel Griggs — were held scoreless in the crucial third period.
While Dean struggled to get anything going in a seven-point effort that included just two field goals, the 6-8 Griggs found more success while forced to battle between Westlake’s two 6-6 frontmen. A 14-point effort included at least two field goals in the first, second and fourth quarters, but he was unable to get to the free-throw line on the night.
Meanwhile, the Lions starting five played the entire first quarter against the Cougars, giving the Lions a 25-13 lead after one quarter behind a nine-point outburst from senior point guard Anthony Bagtas and seven more from 6-foot-6 sophomore center Kejuan Johnson.
Consecutive buckets from Bagtas, the latter off an offensive rebound pushed a 25-11 lead late in the opening quarter not long after Newnan had closed to with three points on a reverse layup by senior guard Darrell Morrow.
The Westlake duo were among three Lions in double figures along with 6-6 senior Andre Elam, who scored five of his 15 points in the second quarter kept Newnan trailing by double digits through most of the period.
Johnson, who capped off a 24-point effort on a fallaway 3-pointer with more than four minutes left to push a a 57-29 lead for the Lions, departed with four minutes left. Moments later, Bagtas left the floor after completing his 13 points with a 3-pointer earlier in the fourth.
The Lady Cougars (2-20, 2-6) tried rotating the lineup while alternating centers Tiara Callaway and Joselyn Revell. But Newnan played with least four players in foul trouble by halftime including point-guard Lakil Derring, who was the first to hit five with 4:24 to play after scoring 11 of her 13 points in the second half.
A deep Lady Lions roster made up entirely of underclassmen slowly crept out to a 16-7 lead with six unanswered points late in the first quarter.
Sophomore center Anriel Howard established her presence early with eight of her 11 points in the opening period while finishing among four Westlake players in double figures.
The 6-6 Callaway led Newnan with 15 points including eight in the third.
Westlake’s girls hit 13 of 20 free-throw attempts in the first half, building 21-9 and and 35-19 leads.
Sophomore Franceska Brown added 12 points for the Lady Lions (15-7, 5-3), which has locked up no less than the third seed in the region. Teammates Lauren Turner and Marissa Cantrell, a freshman, each added 11 in the victory.
Chaycie Goggins and Metryes Geter each added eight for Newnan.