Westlake doesn’t host too many girls basketball playoff games. So when Tuesday’s Section 1 Class B quarterfinal against Woodlands came around, it pulled out all the stops.
Live DJ? Check. Cheerleaders? Check. Bleachers filled with roaring fans? Check.
Still, all of it wasn’t enough to stop Woodlands, which was given a questionable No. 7 seed. Paced by senior Imani Tilford and seventh-grader Teisha Hyman, the Falcons topped the second-seeded Wildcats 64-52 to advance to the semifinals at the Westchester County Center.
“We played in four showcases this year and they played in front of about 70 to 80 college coaches at top programs. Yeah, we came out on the short end of it, but it prepared them for atmospheres like this,” Woodlands coach Ty Postell said. “I think they handled it well, and Westlake is a great place to play.”
Tilford (27 points) and Hyman combined to score 52. After switching to a man-to-man defense in the second quarter, Woodlands held Westlake scoreless for more than nine minutes to take a lead it would not relinquish.
“Once we switched to man, we started to play more aggressive,” said Tilford, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Georgia Tech. “The 2-3 (zone) was working, but it wasn’t really working because (Westlake’s 3-pointers) were dropping.”
The Wildcats sank nine 3-pointers, including five from sweet-shooting junior Faith Lovett, which accounted for all of her 15 points. Sophomore Lauren Holzer added 11 points and junior Katie Schmid scored 10.
Woodlands will take on Briarcliff Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in a Class B semifinal, a rematch of last year’s dramatic first-round game in which the Bears won in the final seconds. A guard-oriented team, Briarcliff will have to match Woodlands’ tenacity to stop the Falcons from reaching the championship game.
“We’re coming back stronger, so we will be able to beat them,” Tilford said. “Revenge.”