- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
After having lost five games this season to Danville middle school teams, Halifax County Middle School Head Basketball Coach W.J. Long was hoping his team could turn the tables on Westwood Middle School here in Monday night’s regular-season finale.
They did – and in good fashion.
With good rebounding and a tweak in the offense in the second half, the Lions outscored Westwood Middle School 14-2 in the final quarter to produce a 41-28 win.
“I’m very pleased we were able to get the win,” Long said after the win that improved his team’s record to 10-5 overall for the regular-season.
“This is a pleasant surprise. We played hard, we played as a team and we rebounded really well. That team is the best of the three Danville middle school teams. I think this will pay dividends in the tournament.”
East Division champion Halifax County Middle School opens Southside Middle School Conference Tournament play tonight when it hosts Nottoway Middle School, the fourth seed from the West Division in a quarterfinal contest.
Monday’s game was a good tune-up for tonight’s conference tournament quarterfinal game, Long said.
“We’ve got to take things one game at a time starting Wednesday,” Long pointed out.
“The main thing I want to see Wednesday is the level of intensity be where it needs to be. The kids need to play hard. The Danville teams are always top-notch competition. It gets them ready.”
Westwood Middle School jumped to an early 6-1 lead, but did not score in the last three minutes of the first quarter, opening the door for the Lions to close the gap to a single point at 6-5 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions’ Quinten Jennings
knotted the game at 8-8 with a basket with 3:52 left in the first half, but the Rockets countered with back-to-back 3-point baskets to extend its lead back to six points at 14-8.
Halifax County Middle School trailed 17-14 at halftime, but got found a boost in the second half after Lions Assistant Coach Justin Saunders tweaked the team’s offense.
A basket from Nick Jones on an offensive rebound with 4:30 left in the third quarter gave the Lions their first lead of the game at 19-18.
The game was deadlocked twice more before the Lions took the lead for good on a basket by Jacob Garrett that made the score 25-23 with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
Leading 27-26 heading into the fourth quarter, the Lions went on an 8-0 run, while at the same time holding the Rockets without a basket for the first 4:46 of the quarter.
The result was a 35-26 lead that Westwood Middle School could not overcome.
Jarvis Owens led the Lions in scoring with 17 points. Jones and Kavon Fitzgerald each scored six points.
Jennings chipped in four points, Will Miller scored two points and Tylik Powell scored one point.