Lady Redhawks soar past Hammond

BLYTHEWOOD – Westwood’s girls’ basketball team may have its early season struggles somewhere in its game. The crowd that came out to Westwood High School Tuesday night to watch the Redhawks knock down 10 3-pointers en route to an 83-65 victory over Hammond likely didn’t see many weaknesses.

Unique Drake (5) creates a driving lane against the Hammond defender. | Leroy Howard

Unique Drake led the way with 31 points, Mya Belton scored 23 and Nyah Leveretter added 10 as the Redhawks found just about every way to get around the Skyhawks defense.

“A lot of balls were working for us,” Westwood head coach Gregory Bauldrick said. “But we were trying to get some shots inside that we just couldn’t get in there, and we had a lot of turnovers.”

Hammond, which had three scorers in double-digits as well, did actually give the Westwood defense some fits inside. The Skyhawks also found their stroke from behind the 3-point line as well, sinking eight 3s.

“We couldn’t decide if we wanted to defend the perimeter or the dribble penetration, and they were scoring pretty much early and often,” Bauldrick said. “For us, not being able to hit those outside shots, we would’ve been in trouble.”

But the Westwood 3s did count, and by the time Belton, Drake and Malayziah Etheridge combined for seven 3s in the first half, the Hammond attack was facing a 10-point deficit by halftime.

“We do shoot a lot of outside shots, we shoot about 200 shots in practice and work on defending the dribble penetration,” Bauldrick said. “We try to open it up. We have a lot of kids who can get to the deck and get to the run. We feel like if we can make some of those outside shots, that can open the defense up a little bit.”

For about two minutes, Hammond gave Westwood a scare.

Hammond tied the game at 18 on an Ashley Neal Basket early in the second quarter, but Drake came back with a 3.

Johnson responded with a basket to get Hammond within 21-20, but then Belton sank another 3.

The Skyhawks delivered again with an Ahlea Myers 3 to make it 24-23 Westwood with 3:51 left before the half.

But Drake’s second 3 of the game sparked a 13-4 scoring run to give Westwood a 37-27 halftime lead. Drake even drained a 3 at the buzzer.

“We were hoping they were coming out of that zone they were playing, but they never did,” Bauldrick said. “They understood some of the skillsets we had when playing man. They didn’t give us a whole lot of problems though.”

Drake’s five inside baskets in the second half, combined with her 6-for-7 performance at the free-throw line, showed the offense finally found some routes to the basket.

“We’re pretty excited about the season,” Bauldrick said. “The bench is pretty deep too.”

The Redhawks play host to Fairfield Central Friday.

Hammond   – 11 – 16 – 13 – 25 — 65

Westwood  – 16 – 21 – 21 – 25 — 83

H: Tyra Myers 16, Ahlea Myers 15, Trinity Johnson 15, Walker 4, Felder 3, Murphy 3, Ma.Turner 3, Mc. Turner 2, Neal 2, Lewis 2.

W: Unique Drake 31, Mya Belton 23, Nyah Leveretter 10, Etheridge 8, Lockett 8, Frederick 3.

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