By Will Gilbert
After West Side’s senior girls extended their winning streak to six, the Eagles snapped Conway St. Joseph’s six-game winning streak, pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat the Bulldogs 55-42 on Friday at Brady-Hipp Arena in Greers Ferry.
Tied at 10-all entering the second quarter, West Side took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish when guard Gage Hewitt buried a three off an assist from back court mate Randon Carlton.
Power forward Trent Bentley scored six points in a span of less than three minutes, hitting a double clutch shot in traffic, following his own miss for two and sinking a pair of free throws to cushion the Eagles’ lead.
Late in the first half, Carlton lobbed backside for Hewitt, who caught the pass in mid-air and scored while drawing contact. Hewitt completed the three-point play to give West Side a 25-18 lead.
The Eagles took a 29-20 lead to half and post player Joe Paul Freeland hit a jumper from the elbow and scored inside off an inbound assist from Carlton as West Side maintained its advantage in the third quarter until St. Joseph closed the period with a 6-0 surge.
After Carlton swiped a steal and finished with a driving layup, St. Joseph reserve forward Gage Berger found guard Brad Vandivere inside for a layup. Berger followed his own miss for two more and post player David Beck added a follow shot, cutting West Side’s lead to three at 36-33 entering the final period.
West Side made three dazzling shots to gain separation in the fourth quarter as Carlton hit a double clutch floater, Bentley completed a three-point play off a smooth spin move and Freeland knocked down a fade away baseline jumper.
Beck made 3-of-4 free throws to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance, but Bentley scored from left block off a bounce pass from Hewitt and Carlton flipped a steal into a pair of free throws, stretching the Eagles’ lead to 48-38 with 2:13 to play.
Bentley added a bucket deep in the paint and Carlton whipped and cross court pass to Hewitt, who scored while drawing the foul. Hewitt completed the three-point play and he added two more free throws to set the final.
Hewitt paced West Side with 18 points and Bentley followed with 16. Carlton added 12, Freeland had six and reserve guard Hayden Moore chipped in three for the Eagles, who improved to 15-12.
Beck scored 11 points to lead St. Joseph (13-10). Reserve forward Triple Willims followed with eight points and Berger finished with seven.