By JUSTIN RAINS
What a difference location can make.
After falling to Woden, 46-38, on the road in the first round of district play, the Westwood girls’ basketball team answered with authority on its home-court Friday.
The Lady Panthers rolled over the Lady Eagles, 70-39, outscoring their visitors in every quarter but one of the blowout.
With the win, Westwood pulls into a virtual tie with Woden for third-place in 19-2A. Westwood — which had its bye earlier this week — is now 4-3 in league play, while Woden is 5-3.
The game was all Westwood from the start, as the Lady Panthers jumped on Woden early to the tune of a 16-6 advantage after the first quarter.
The Lady Panthers all but ended things going into halftime, outscoring Woden 19-6 in the second quarter to take a commanding 35-12 lead into the break.
From there, it was all but over.
Woden did manage 19 points in the third quarter, mostly made on free throws, but Westwood scored 18 of its own to keep pace, then again pulled away in the fourth.
Star Mi’Kayla Benson paced Westwood all night, finishing with 18 points on an efficient 7-of-8 (88 percent) shooting from the field. The junior also pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
A pair of sophomores also came up big for the Lady Panthers, as both Dasia Jones and Alexis Hatten finished with 14 points.
Hatten missed only two shots from the field all night in her breakout performance, while Jones spread her scoring out among made two- and three-pointers and free throws.
Nekeisha Hall added seven points for Westwood, while both Natali Muniz and Marialle Boles had five. Boles also pulled down five rebounds. Jemelia Thomas added four for Westwood (13-13, 4-3).
The Lady Panthers will look to keep their two-game winning streak going Tuesday, when they travel to Groveton for games beginning at 5 p.m. Westwood will then travel to Elkhart Friday.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org