AMHERST -- Inexperienced Amherst stayed with Westlake for a half Saturday.
But the Demons focused on defense after the break, held Amherst to seven third-quarter points and pulled away for a 55-41 Southwestern Conference win. Westlake (13-2, 7-1 SWC) remains a game behind undefeated Berea-Midpark in the conference race.
“They’re a very good team,” Amherst coach Kevin Collins said of the Demons. “They showed why they’re one of the powers in the area. We fought and we were with them for a while. But we started playing a little too fast, and I think we just played into their hands.”
The Comets (6-8, 3-5) fell behind 4-0, but sophomore guard Sara Elliott scored two
3-point baskets less than 40 seconds apart, then added a layup for an 8-4 Amherst lead. When the lead reached 12-6, Westlake made its move.
The Demons put together an 11-1 run that started late in the first quarter and extended into the first minute of the second. But taking a cue from Elliott, Comets guard Sydney Click hit back-to-back threes and a close-range basket after a steal, which created a tie at 21.
Westlake never trailed again. Amherst stayed close -- 30-24 -- at halftime, but the Demons opened the lead to 40-31 after three quarters. After turning up the defensive pressure, they led by 15 points late in the game.
“Our coach always says pressure is cumulative and it definitely was today,” said Monica Fury, Westlake’s 5-foot-9 sophomore forward. “They were shooting some really good shots in the first half, but in the second half we totally shut them down.”
The Demons’ defense held Amherst to seven field goals and two foul shots in the second half. And they allowed the Comets just six free throws for the game, while making 12 of 18.
“They made runs and that was the difference,” Amherst’s Collins said. “We are still growing as a team. We started the year with three girls who had played varsity basketball. We’re still coming together and we’ve seen progress game in and game out. It continued today. We played great defense and started to figure things out.”
Demons coach Chip Weiss agreed.
“They played great defense on us,” he said. “They played strong man-to-man defense and didn’t give us room to penetrate.”
Westlake ran time off the clock and created easy shot opportunities late in the game. Weiss said the offense is supposed to look like that every time down the floor.
“It’s our main dribble-drive offense,” he said. “We just want to keep being patient. That’s what happens when we’re patient. When we’re patient like that and take care of the ball, that’s what it’s supposed to look like. Sometimes we rush too much and force too many shots.”
The Demons’ Fury and sophomore Taylor Hood each scored 12 points and Allison Collins, a junior, added 11. Elliott and Click scored nine and eight points, respectively, for the Comets.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westlake 55, Amherst 41
WESTLAKE (55): Rebecca Essig 4-0-8, Taylor Hood 4-3-12, Corinne Furci 1-1-3, Mallory Garofolo 2-0-5, Allison Collins 3-4-11, Monica Fury 4-3-12, Kelly Laraway 1-0-3, Erin O’Neill 0-1-1. Totals 19-12-55.
AMHERST (41): Sher Champe 0-0-0, Brianna Crapo 1-0-2, Abby Turnwald 0-0-0, Olivia Henderson 0-0-0, Sydney Roule 3-0-8, Mallory Sliman 1-1-3, Gabrielle Basinski 2-0-4, Sara Elliott 3-1-9, Sydney Click 3-0-8, Brooke Wallace 2-1-5, Natalia Joseph 1-0-2. Totals 16-3-41.
Westlake 16 14 10 15 — 55
Amherst 12 12 7 10 — 41
Three-point goals: Westlake 5-11 (Fury, Laraway, Garofolo, Collins, Hood); Amherst 6-13 (Elliott 2, Click 2, Roule 2).
Field goals: Westlake 19-40 (47.5 percent); Amherst 16-41 (39 percent). Free throws: Westlake 12-18; Amherst 3-6.
Rebounds: Westlake 20; Amherst 24. Turnovers: Westlake 20; Amherst 30.
Junior varsity: Westlake, 44-29.