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West Hall boys roll past Oconee County
Spartans can take No. 3 spot in region tournament with a win Friday
West Hall’s Tyswon Cantrell drives through two Oconee County defenders for a lay up during the first half of Tuesday night’s game at the West Hall gymnasium.

OAKWOOD - With wins Tuesday against Oconee County in Oakwood, both the West Hall boys and girls basketball programs are both still in the running for the No. 3 seed to the Region 8-AAA tournament in just two weeks.

The third spot is important to play a first-round tournament game at home, plus securing a spot on the other side of the bracket from a subregion champion.

The Spartans (11-12, 6-5 Region 8-AAA South) went on a 15-0 scoring run in the third quarter and took care of Oconee County 56-29.

West Hall's final subregion game of the season is Friday against Monroe Area in Oakwood, with the winner taking the No. 3 seed to the region tournament.

"This feels huge to have a game Friday with so much on the line," said West Hall senior A.J. Stephens, who finished with 18 points.

The first time these two played this season, West Hall won 58-56 in Monroe.

"It's definitely going to be a huge game for us," Spartans coach Warren Sellers said. "Hopefully, we'll step up."

Meanwhile, Maia Booker led the Lady Spartans (10-15, 7-4) with 10 points and five steals en route to a 40-28 win.

With Oconee County's (17-5, 8-2) leading scorer Gabby Bevillard sidelined after a fall and elbow injury in the third quarter, Booker had a pair of baskets to put West Hall in the lead 29-24 going into the final period.

"I feel like this was kind of a separation game for us," said Lady Spartans coach Lynn Jarrett. With the win, the West Hall girls have a two-game lead over Lanier for the No. 3 spot.

The West Hall boys made quick work of Oconee County.

Leading 10-3 after the first quarter, the Spartans went on an 8-1 run early in the second quarter with baskets off turnovers from Stephens, Rico Jones and Tyswon Cantrell.

Just before halftime, the Spartans started to put the game away behind 3-pointers by Stephens and Cantrell (12 points).

Sellers said his team's performance was especially refreshing coming off lackluster losses against Lanier and Walnut Grove.

In the third quarter, West Hall outscored Oconee County 26-7.

"I thought our defensive effort was key in the third quarter," Sellers said. "We converted turnovers into easy baskets, and for the most part, held them to just one shot when they had the ball."

Brooks Crawford led Oconee County (2-19, 0-10) with 14 points. The Warriors visit Walnut Grove at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

WEST HALL GIRLS 40, OCONEE COUNTY 28: Bevillard hit the ground after making a basket and drawing a foul for Oconee County with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Melissa Weiler entered and hit the free throw to put the Lady Warriors in front 24-21, their final lead of the game.

Trailing by three, West Hall took the lead on a pair of free throws, then Booker scored a pair of back-to-back baskets. In the fourth quarter, Kaelyn Gattis scored on an assist by Jessica Dambach, then Booker took a steal in for a score.

To earn the No. 3 spot, West Hall still needs to win Friday against the Lady Purple Hurricanes, and a loss by Walnut Grove.

West Hall and Walnut Grove split two subregion games this season, but the Lady Warriors still have two subregion games remaining (Oconee County and Lanier).

West Hall hosts Monroe Area starting with the girls game at 7 p.m. Friday in Oakwood.


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