MACON, Ga. — The Westlake Lady Lions are state champions for the fourth consecutive year after defeating the Carrollton Trojans 64-46.
Lions head coach Hilda Hankerson was overwhelmed with emotion but said the same thing she always says after a win and championship.
“I don’t play, I only coach. They have to believe in the vision and execute it.”
The Lions believed in the vision and it has paid off in four state championships, four region titles and a chance to head to Fort Myers, Florida to compete for the national championship.
Although the final score indicates an 18 point blowout win for the Lions, the Trojans did not make it easy for the Lions through the first three quarters.
The Trojans jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, breaking down the Lions defense and making open shots. The Lions were able to settle in and keep it close throughout the first quarter. The Lions led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
More of the same from both teams in the second quarter as they traded baskets in the game. In the first half involved three lead changes and four ties between both teams. A late foul by the Lions put Trojans guard De’Mauri Flournoy to the free-throw line for three shots. Flourney made two of her three free throws tying the game at 25 heading into halftime.
“We felt like we needed to move the ball more than we did in the first half,” said Lions senior point guard Raven Johnson.
The Lions passing of the basketball created more space and it opened up more opportunities for guard Ta’Niya Latson who finished in the paint for a layup.
Latson continued to dominate on the defensive end for the Lions getting a steal and finishing with another layup. Latson finished with three steals in the game.
Lions forward Brianna Turnage dominated on the boards in the second half and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds (five of those being offensive rebounds).
The third quarter is where the Lions were able to stretch their lead to 10 but ended up leading by eight at the end of the quarter, 46-38.
The Trojans couldn’t get anything going on offense as great as Flournoy and guard Kehinde Obasuyi played in this game. Flournoy finished the game with 15 points while Obasuyi finished with 13 points after leaving the game in the third quarter for injury.
In the end, the Lions proved to be the better team capturing their fourth state title.
“It means so much because it takes a lot to win four state titles and the fact we were able to do it means so much not only for us but for the Westlake community,” said Johnson.
Latson led the Lions in scoring with 24 points, three assists and three steals. Johnson finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists.