The Douglas County Tigers took on Atlanta’s Westlake Lions in hoops action on Saturday night. The aroma of smoked meat outside the gym and the jingle of Christmas bells from the cheerleader’s hats on the inside made for a festive atmosphere. DC split with Westlake. The Lady Tigers lost 79-49. The boys finished strong to best the Lions 73-62.
The Lady Tigers faced a senior laden starting five from Westlake. The Lady Lions got off to a 23-9 lead by the end of the first quarter, led by senior forward Anriel Howard. She scored 16 of Westlake’s 23 points in the opening quarter.
Douglas County found a little life in the second quarter off of three-point shooting from Santasia Faust, but Westlake had seven players with baskets and took a 15 point lead into the locker room, 46-31.
In the third quarter, Douglas County put more pressure on Howard but ending up fouling her more often than not. The Lady Lions widened their lead after three quarters to 70-37.
Douglas County outscored Westlake during the fourth quarter but not by nearly enough. Westlake began subbing its starters in the final minutes, content to take home the victory.
Howard, who is committed to Texas A&M, led all scorers with 39 points. Faust led DC with 21 points.
“Our biggest athletes were not nearly as athletic as Howard,” said DC coach Chet Forsh. “She is really just phenomenal.”
The boy’s game provided much more of a contest, giving the boisterous DC student section something to cheer about. The Tigers built a 13-4 lead in the opening minutes off of strong inside play from Kalen Clifton and K’Ja Johnson. The Lions went on a run in the last two minutes of the quarter drawing to within two points, 15-13.
DC brought a balanced attack in the second quarter, pressuring the Lions on both ends of the floor. DC forward Brandon Robinson slammed home a dunk with five minutes remaining to bring the crowd to its feet. D”Ondre Glenn caught a floor length breakaway pass with less than a minute remaining to increase the Tiger lead. Right at the halftime buzzer, Brandon Robinson shook the rim with hard slam giving the Tigers a 38-26 lead.
Both teams played more up tempo pressure defense in the third quarter. DC missed a number of free throw opportunities but held their lead, 49-42.
Corey Tillery and Clifton made several key baskets in the final quarter for the Tigers. Tillery and Isaiah Thomas handled the ball well for DC. Tillery made another court long pass to Glenn to close out the scoring.
Clifton led Douglas County with 19 points, followed by Robinson with 12 and with Tillery 11. Westlake had four players in double digits, Jarred Heard with 20, Daniel Lewis with 15, Raquan Wilkins with 12, and Michael Durr with 10.
“Westlake is a tough team but I thought we controlled the game all night,” said DC coach Hollis Bethea. “Still we had too many unforced errors and we did not shoot well at the free throw line. But we played good pressure defense at times and scored off of it so I did give our players credit for that.”