Southwest shakes off Westchester

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 10:31 PM

With both teams coming off a break, the Southwest Guilford boys shook off the rust just a little bit quicker to beat Westchester Country Day 78-64 in Thursday’s first round of the Sheetz Holiday Christmas Basketball Classic at Southwest Guilford.

The Cowboys (9-0) used a spurt late in the first quarter and early in the second to build a double-digit lead and held off the Wildcats (3-7) in the second half, as they rallied late to within seven in the final two minutes.

“I knew the layoff would hurt us, and it showed up in our practice yesterday,” Southwest coach Guy Shavers said. “We were lethargic. We looked like we were still eating ham or opening presents or whatever.

“You ask any coach, we all worry about that over the holidays. You don’t know if kids are up until 3 o’clock playing video games or whatever. But we’re always at our best when we run the break, and we looked nice in the second quarter and got some easy baskets.”

Terrell Leach scored 28 points to lead the Cowboys, who will face city rival High Point Central in the semifinals tonight at 7:30 in the Jim Coggins Gym, while Ben Ferguson added 19 followed by Tyliek Brister with 10 and K.J. Langley with nine.

“My teammates were just knocking down shots, like Ben Ferguson — he’s an awesome 3-point shooter,” said Leach, who had several key 3s to go along with a couple big dunks. “And K.J. Langley — he was knocking down shots. We’re just a good shooting team.”

Southwest led 23-17 at the end of the first quarter and opened the second five straight points to lead 28-17. Its lead hovered near 10 most of the quarter before going into halftime with a 41-26 lead. But Westchester didn’t fold in the second half.

Trailing by 18 early in the third. the Wildcats used a 12-2 run to pull within 46-38 with 4:24 left in the quarter. They got to eight once more in the third and again midway through the fourth, finally trimming it to 69-62 with 1:49 left, but the Cowboys held on.

“We were a bit sluggish, a step slow,” said Westchester coach Dagan Nelson, whose team hadn’t played since Dec. 11. “We were just lethargic to start the game. Then we got into the flow and the rhythm of the game. We had a bad start — it was a track meet up and down.

“For us, we want to make sure we got off to a better start and not play catch-up, and tonight we were playing catch-up the entire night. … But there’s no quit in our guys. We kept battling, but obviously the difference in the game tonight was Terrell Leach.”

While Southwest advance to the championship semifinals, the Wildcats, who were led by Josh Burton with 23 points, will play Thomasville in the consolation bracket tonight at 7:30 in the Annex Gym.