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Exclamation point! West dominates Tabor in tourney finals

The W’s keep coming for the West Forsyth girls varsity basketball team.

And lately it’s been due to the D.

Defense, the smothering kind that prevents opponents from finding their offensive rhythm, has been a staple for West throughout the 2013-14 high school season.

But the Lady Titans turned it up a notch in their two most recent wins — a 49-37 triumph over Mount Tabor in the conference tournament finals, and a 44-28 victory over Porter Ridge in the first round of the 4-A state playoffs on Monday night.

Relying on a combination of half-court pressure and old-school hustle, West had little trouble gaining early control in both contests. In each game, they limited their opponents to single-digit scoring in each of the first two quarters.

“We could have played better in some areas but we have been excellent on defense,” mentioned Titan head coach LaQuanda Quick. “The old cliche that everyone has heard is ‘defense wins championships.’ But it’s the truth. As long as my girls deliver the kind of defensive effort we have had in the past fewweeks, we’ll be fine.”

Titans advance in playoffs

The first round win over Porter Ridge advances West into a second round matchup at home against Matthews Butler. That game will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night in Simpson gym.

Quick described Butler as “more athletic than Porter Ridge” and expects to face defensive pressure that is similar to the type used by conference rival Reynolds.

“Reynolds likes to play aggressive defense and Butler will most likely do the same thing,” she said, after studying film on the Bulldogs last weekend. “It helps that we have seen it before and kind of know what to expect. I don’t think any team in the state can effectively press us for four quarters.”

Though undersized, Porter Ridge (15-7) attempted to attack West during Monday’s game.

When on offense, the Pirate

looked to penetrate the Titan defense with patient passing and baseline drives. But the strategy was ultimately derailed due to West’s size advantage and ability to alter shots.

Rogers, Endean deliver

The Titans struggled at times on offense but built a comfortable lead in the first half thanks to a series of well-timed 3’s by guards Christina Rogers and Carly Endean. Spotting up on the break, Rogers knocked down a trio of three-pointers while a long shot by Endean gave West a 24-8 lead at the break.

With sharp-shooting guard Brittany Hatchett out for the season due to a recent concussion, Quick added that the scoring of Rogers (nine points) and Endean (eight) came at the prefect time. “They’re shooting was a big factor in this win.”

Porter Ridge showed life late in the third quarter and early in the fourth when they scored 10 unanswered points and trimmed the deficit to eight points. But West, which got a combined total of 25 points from Jessica Jones (15 points) and Jazmine Jones (10), pulled away down the stretch.

CPC tourney title for Quick

The win against Porter Ridge came on the heels of a dominant showing by the Titans in the Central Piedmont Conference tournament. West beat Mount Tabor in the final round to give Quick her first CPC tournament title as a coach.

Jazmine Jones pumped in 17 points to lead a Titan offense that outscored the Spartans 27-14 in the first two quarters of play. West owned a 40-22 lead by the end of the third period and coasted in the fourth.

West also won this year’s CPC regular season title with a 12-0 record. They finished with a total of 14 victories over conference teams and captured each win by 10 or more points.