FORT MYERS, FL. – Westlake’s backcourt tandem of Raven Johnson and Ta’Niya Latson combined for 51 points in their 64-54 win against Fremont High School out of Utah.
The Johnson and Latson duo, which many teams in the state of Georgia have been unsuccessful in stopping, was on point Friday afternoon in Fort Myers.
Defense and getting points off the fast break are things Westlake head coach Hilda Hankerson prides herself on. This also spreads to Johnson and Latson who gets after it once the ball is tipped.
As soon as the game began, the Silverwolves saw and felt the high-intensity defense of the Lions, specifically Latson and Johnson. Three early Silverwolves possessions resulted in three turnovers and Lions points. Latson was the main recipient of those points as the Lions led 22-18 after the first quarter.
Johnson had the green light early as she was on fire from deep, hitting two three-pointers. Not only was her defense great, but she also poured in 14 points in the first half while hitting a last-second three-pointer. The Lions led 37-28 at halftime.
The Silverwolves had 10 turnovers in the first half thanks to the Lions defense.
In the third quarter, the Lions sought to pull away as they went up by 14 points. The Lions still led by eight at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams’ gameplay intensified in the fourth quarter as the Silverwolves were clawing into the Lions’ lead to get their first lead since 3-0 in the first quarter.
Silverwolves center Maggie Mendelson played a huge part in the run to get the Lions lead to one in the fourth quarter. With four minutes remaining, the score was 49-48 in favor of Westlake but the Lions needed a bucket.
Johnson dribbled full court, crossed over a Silverwolves defender, and pulled up at the free-throw line for two to make the score 51-48. The Lions forced another turnover as Latson finished with a layup to go up 53-48.
The Lions eventually went on a 7-0 run to go up by 10. This proved to be all the Lions needed in their 64-54 victory.
Johnson finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, and seven steals.
Latson followed behind her with 26 points, four assists, and four steals.
Menderson finished the game with 23 points and six rebounds. Guard Emma Calvert followed behind her with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lions will face Paul VI (VA) today on ESPN2 at 10:30 a.m.