By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
SHANNON – Shannon’s Lakee Westbrook did not have a flashy game on Tuesday.
But the senior did the little items when it mattered, helping the Red Raiders to a 55-46 victory over the Leake Central Gators in first-round play of the Class 4A North tournament.
“He played well, but he turned down some shots as well,” Shannon head coach Cedric Brim said. “He came back in the second half and hit some big shots, and made free throws that gave us a cushion in the fourth quarter.”
The Red Raiders (22-8) advance to the 7 p.m. game Thursday at 4A host Corinth, and will play Rosa Fort.
After earning a bit of a cushion in the first half, Leake Central tried to make things hard on the Raiders.
The Gators controlled the third quarter, eventually knotting the contest at 37-37 on free throws by Ravion Henry. Westbrook countered with a basket, but a steal and layup at the buzzer by Manell Henry sent the contest into the fourth quarter tied at 39-39.
Westbrook snagged a 3-pointer for the first field goal of the final quarter, then a patient Shannon offense undertook the challenge down the stretch.
Shannon made 9 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, with two key ones by Lamarcus Doss with 1 minute, 37 seconds to play after Leake had pulled within 49-44 on a Ravion Henry 3-point play.
“I don’t think we knocked down shots like we usually do,” Westbrook said. “And I think our effort can be a whole lot better.
“We need to have more hustle the rest of this week. These next games mean a lot to me, and I want to leave it all on the court.”
After battling to a 12-12 first quarter, Shannon sprinted on a 12-0 run to grab a 24-14 lead in the second period. Shannon led at the half 32-25.