Lady Jackets sting Westover, must do it again

Feb. 17, 2014 @ 11:36 PM

Sophomore guard Shantel Bennett scored 27 points, including 14 of the Lady Yellow Jackets' 24 points in the second half, on what would've been Lee County's girls basketball senior night Monday versus Westover.

Lee County topped the visiting Lady Wolverines, 57-52. It was the regular-season home finale for the Lady Jackets, but not senior night as the Lady Jackets don't have a senior on their roster - making the victory over the Lady Wolverines, who still finished in a three-way tie for third in the Cape Fear Valley Conference at the end of the last night of the regular season, and any more the Lady Jackets can do in the postseason, more valuable with next November already in mind.
The Lady Jackets (7-16, 3-9), as the No. 6 seed for the CFVC Tournament, have the odd, but evidently doable, task of facing No. 3 Westover in the first round at 6 p.m. this evening at Westover.
Lee County led Monday night's game nearly wire to wire. The Lady Jackets shifted defenses on Westover and wound up forcing 28 turnovers.
Some of those turnovers were during a 9-4 Lady Jacket run to open the game. Bennett got going with a three-pointer and two fast-break baskets. Tara Speelman also scored seven points in the first quarter and Lee County led 14-10 after the period.
Westover worked back to a tie game. Maritza Santos scored a three-point play followed by two Westover hoops for a 24-23 Lady Wolverine edge.
Whitney Love's jumper from the wing put Lee County ahead again. Two more baskets by Bennett helped Lee County finish the half well and take a 33-29 lead.
Westover scored the first five points of the second half but the Lady Jackets answered and once they gained the lead later in the third quarter, they led the rest of the contest.
A three-point play by Bennett, as she drove out of a trap near midcourt and went all the way to the hoop, made it 42-36 Lee County. The Lady Jackets led 44-39 with a period to play. Slowing each possession as much as possible, the Lady Jackets turned to Bennett going 1-on-1, usually for a hoop or free throws, through most of the last few minutes.
A run of Bennett going 4 of 6 at the line, followed by a driving lay-up, made it 51-42 Lee County with less than three minutes left.
Speelman added 10 points and Noelle Beattie had seven points. Santos led the Lady Jackets with nine rebounds. Lee County won the turnover category 28-20.
Union Pines is the CFVC's season champ and top seed for the tournament. Tuesday night's first round is No. 7 Douglas Byrd at No. 2 Terry Sanford, No. 6 Lee County at No. 3 Westover and No. 5 Southern Lee at No. 4 Gray's Creek.