Westwood holds off Northwestern in first round of 4A playoffs

Westwood’s boys basketball team got off to a strong start against Northwestern in the first half of their game Tuesday night, holding the Trojans to single digits in each of the first two quarters and taking a 26-13 lead at the half.

The second half was largely the Redhawks trying to offset the clutch shooting of Mason Mitchell.

Mitchell, a 6-5 senior for the Trojans, keyed a second-half rally with five 3-pointers and 10 of his 12 rebounds on the night. Westwood never came close to losing its wire-to-wire lead in its 65-52 victory at The Castle, but Mitchell’s effort kept the Trojans in the game.

“In the second half we were able to find some paint touches, but we let him (Mitchell) get loose too much,” head coach Trent Robinson said. “ After a while you’ve got to realize as a man that you can’t let him touch the ball. We’ve got to correct some defensive stuff.”

Westwood (21-2) was up 41-21 with 3:12 left in the third quarter when Mitchell got his first basket of the second half. Mitchell’s first 3 of the second half came just before the third-quarter buzzer.

The Redhawks were up 44-27 going into the fourth quarter, but Mitchell drained a 2-point basket and four more 3s by the games final two minutes.

Mitchell’s shooting would have distracted most teams, but Westwood, the No.1 4A team in the SC Basketball Coaches Association’s poll, took his effort in stride.

While Mitchell fired away from behind the 3-point lane, Redhawks ball handlers Tavaris Bell, D’Marcus Thomas, Larry Brown, Dontae Walters, and others either drove into the lane unguarded for quick short-range buckets, or stayed under the net and put back rebounds.

Brown’s 3-pointer with more than a minute left gave Westwood a 65-47 lead, and Theron Young’s 3 and Mitchell’s basket in the final minute hardly mattered for the Trojans (11-16).

Bell, the SCBCA’s 4A Player of the Year, finished the night with 19 points and Larry Brown added 12 points to lead Westwood.

“The first round is always hard,” Robinson said. “I thought getting the pick of Northwestern was an unlucky pick. I knew what type of team they were and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy first round. Credit to their team, they played hard. I’m happy we were able to get the first playoff win since I’ve been here. We’ll take it we’ll enjoy it, but tomorrow we’ve got to come to work.”

Westwood moves on to play South Florence Saturday at 4 p.m. The Bruins were 61-32 winners over May River.

Northwestern – 8-5-14-25 —  52

Westwood – 11-15-18-21 — 65


Mason Mitchell 29, Sir Joseph 11, Moore 6, Young 2, Owush-Mensah 2, Burris 2.


Tavaris Bell 19, Larry Brown 12, Balkman 9, Thomas 9, Walters 8, Roberts 5, Z. Brown 3.

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