RUSK — Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.
Westwood converted on 7-of-12 free throw attempts in overtime to defeat Troup 56-53 in a Class 2A, Region III, Area contest that was played before a near-capacity crowd at the 1,200-seat Eagle Coliseum at Rusk High School Friday night.
The 20th-ranked Panthers (22-10) will now move on to a regional date early next week with second-ranked White Oak.
Troup, who finished as co-champions in District 18-2A, along with Frankston, ends the year at 22-11.
The Panthers appeared to be on the verge of putting the game away in regulation as Westwood led 44-35, following a triple off the right wing by Jerry Turner that came with 5:29 to go in the game.
Turner led all players with 26 points, 14 of which came in the first half when he went 7-of-7 from the field.
But an 8-0 run by the Tigers gave Troup a new lease on things with the Tigers managing to tie the game at 45 with 1:28 left in regulation when An'Fernee Ross canned a deuce following a Westwood turnover.
After both clubs exchange miscues on subsequent possessions, Westwood's Chris Thompson was awarded two free throws after being fouled with 37 seconds showing on the clock.
Thompson failed to connect on either, with Troup's Shaquille Rollins coming down with the rebound.
Troup then had their chance to win in the closing seconds, but Hunter Clark missed the front end of a one and one with 3.5 ticks left in regulation.
Thompson collared the carom and after a Panther Hail Mary fell short, the two teams went to the extended session.
Westwood took the lead for good with just under a minute left in the bonus round.
That's when L.J. Hutchinson drained a short-range shot that gave the Panthers a 52-50 edge.
Westwood extended the margin to 55-50, but Troup got a triple off the right side from Ross that cut the score to 55-53.
The Ross trey came with 7 ticks showing on the clock.
Troup was forced to foul the rest of the way and did not get another shot opportunity.
The Westwood defense held the Tigers, who drained nine 3-pointers in their bi-district win over Jefferson on Tuesday, to 3-of-19 (15.8%) from beyond the arc.
Dra Ross finished with a double-double for the winners, netting 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Hutchison tossed in 11.
Lacy led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points followed by Ross with 11.
Blake Lynch came away with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Westwood led 25-23 at intermission.
RUSK — Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.
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H.S. Football: Palestine's Owens leads strong class of area recruits
Palestine junior Jarrell Owens hasn’t ever played a significant down in a game for the Wildcats at linebacker in his football career.
Yet, the position is obviously where his future lies.
Owens is one of a handful of area juniors drawing significant college interest, and the Palestine running back/linebacker already holds an official offer from Texas Tech University.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Harleton shuts down Cayuga in regional quarterfinal
In an as-expected pitcher’s duel, it took only one off inning to cost Cayuga and ace Chantz Holland.
Holland gave up four hits and hit a batter in the top of the third inning, and Harleton turned that into four runs — the only runs of the game — as Harleton topped Cayuga, 4-0, here at the Lindale ISD Baseball and Softball Complex in regional quarterfinal action.
H.S. Baseball: Patchwork lineup still working for Cayuga
The Cayuga baseball team that will take the field tonight against Harleton in the regional quarterfinals doesn’t look a lot like the Cayuga team that rolled through district play earlier this season.
Injuries have hampered the look of the Wildcat lineup, but Cayuga still finds itself into the playoffs’ third round for yet another season.
H.S. Softball: Grapeland going strong into regional semifinals
It’s been relatively easy-going so far in the state softball playoffs for the Grapeland softball team.
The Sandiettes have lost only once so far in the playoffs, and that came thanks a forfeit in the area round against Avery, when Grapeland decided not to play rather than play without missing members at the state golf tournament.
Local Roundup: Cayuga's Hughes named 19-A MVP
After a stellar regular season that saw them capture a district title, then a solid playoff run that ended with a regional quarterfinal loss to Grapeland, the Cayuga softball team showed well on the District 19-A all-district teams.
Cayuga star freshman pitcher Kimberly Hughes capped her stellar year by earning the district’s Most Valuable Player award. Joining Hughes in earning superlative honors was her battery-mate Maci Poland, who was named the league’s Defensive MVP.
H.S. Golf State Tournament: Grapeland looks to cap impressive season with title
It’s the course on which legendary PGA player Ben Crenshaw — winner of two Master’s Green Jackets — learned the game as a young man.
It’s where legendary Austin-based golf coach Harvey Penick molded players like Crenshaw and Tom Kite into stalwarts on the professional tours.
A year ago, Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin was the place where, despite improving by 20 strokes as a team on Day 2, the Grapeland girls’ golf team fell short of state title, instead finishing second — for the second-straight season.
H.S. Baseball: Palestine, Elkhart open playoffs Thursday
After a seven-year absence from postseason play that ended last year, the Palestine baseball team opens up its second-straight playoff campaign Tuesday.
The Wildcats, who captured District 19-3A’s second seed with a defeat of Fairfield Friday, will open the postseason again Diboll in a best-of-three series.
H.S. Softball Playoffs: Bruner's 2 HRs lead Grapeland past Cross Roads
Grapeland senior Shelby Bruner hadn’t hit a home run all season for the Sandiettes.
She picked a good time to find a power-boost.
Bruner hit not one but two home runs, Baylee Lumbreraz struck out 15 and the Grapeland softball team rolled to a 14-1 victory over Cross Roads to open the playoffs Monday at Palestine High School.
H.S. Tennis: Neches' Wade ready for more state glory
The spring semester is a busy one for plenty of high school athletes in the area.
The spring has a higher concentration of sports going on, plus there are state tests, prom and other extra-curricular activities in the works.
That has been the case for Neches junior Kelsee Wade, who this semester alone has played basketball, softball and tennis, and thrown the discus, as well as taken tests and worked with her animals for the Anderson County Youth Livestock Show.
Oh, and she’s also the No. 1-ranked student in the Neches’ Class of 2014.
H.S. Softball: Walk-off hit ends Neches' season
For four solid innings, the Neches softball team looked primed to move on to the area round of the playoffs.
Then, things fell apart in the final three.
With their bi-district playoff game against Lovelady tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Neches allowed a two-out single to Beth Thompson, a hit which scored Baylee Mikes to hand the playoff win to the Lady Lions, 4-3.
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