Southwest overcomes slow start

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

Sometimes it takes a team a game to get into the rhythm of playoff basketball. After a sluggish start, the Southwest Guilford boys finished strong to beat visiting Grimsley 88-70 on Monday night to open the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.

“Not to make excuses, but Mondays are tough on everybody, coming off the weekend,” Cowboys coach Guy Shavers said. “We just want to get the wheels rolling and figure out who our next opponent is and what they do and make sure we do what we do.”

Terrell Leach had 37 points and 14 rebounds to lead Southwest (27-0), the top seed in the West, while K.J. Langley had 17 and Ben Ferguson added seven. Rashawn Mayfield scored 29 to lead the Whirlies (7-18), the No. 16 seed.

“It’s beautiful,” Ferguson said of the win. “Coming in 26-0, everybody’s saying we’re not real, we haven’t played anybody. But we came in and won by 20. So, it’s a great win.”

Southwest, which trailed by as many as nine in the first half, used a 12-0 run in the middle of the second quarter to lead 36-30 with 3:20 left before going into halftime with a 43-38 lead.

The Whirlies, however, opened the third quarter with a 9-2 spurt to regain a two-point lead with 4:26 left, but the Cowboys outscored them 11-7 to close the quarter and led 60-56.

They finally began to pull away when Ferguson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the lead 68-58 with 6:05 left. Their lead dipped below 10 only twice briefly, as they inched away in the final minutes.

“We switched defenses,” Ferguson said. “We went from an orange, which is a 2-3, to a black, which is a 1-2-2. ... That switch really threw them off because they couldn’t really shoot out of it.

“All the points they got were off offensive rebounds. And Terrell Leach, as you know, is our leader and he pulled us through today.”

Southwest plays again Wednesday at home against Reagan.