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Grades and personal issues have affected the boys basketball roster at Great Mills, but they are still playing better ball and it showed against physically quick Westlake team Wednesday evening.

Great Mills took a 30-29 lead into halftime, but the visiting Wolverines took over in the second half en route to a 65-55 victory.

Westlake 65, Great Mills 55

Westlake 16 13 17 19

Great Mills 11 19 16 9

Westlake: Jackson 18, Clark 18, Christian 6, Wiseman 6, Johnson 5, Canady 4, Espeleta 3, Craft 3, Perry 2

Great Mills: Day 12, Sampson 12, Williams 10, McLeod 7, Porter 6, Barnes 4, Wright 2, Greenwell 2

Free throws: Westlake 18-25 (Clark 12-16, Canady 2-2); Great Mills 14-20 (Day 2-2, Sampson 4-6, Williams 7-10)

3-point goals: Westlake 6 (Jackson 3, Christian 2, Johnson); Great Mills 3 (McLeod, Williams, Porter)

Hornets head coach Frank Peck said shot selection was a factor in the final quarter.

“We played well for three quarters,” Peck said. “We knew that when we lost earlier [to Westlake, an 81-48 nonconference loss Dec. 12], it was just one of those games. We knew it wasn’t going to be like that tonight.”

Peck said the team was 2 for 12 from the field (17 percent) in the final quarter.

“We hit three threes in the third quarter, and we just kept shooting three’s,” Peck said. “In the first quarter, we did a great job of attacking the basket and dropping it off to the post guys. Bernal [Day] did a nice job. Parran Barnes, he’s a freshman.”

Peck said his team has shot their way out of games.

“We’re still in that same mode that when we’re down by four or five we think we’re going to shoot our way back in, but the problem is we’ve shot our way out of too many games. That’s just not registering right now. They’re playing hard; they’re doing a better job on the boards, but shot selection is absolutely killing us.”

Westlake head coach Edward Mouton said Wednesday’s win was good preparation for Thomas Stone, a team it will host at 7 p.m. Monday.

“It’s always tougher the second time because teams are better prepared for us,” Mouton said. “They’re [Great Mills] is a scrappy team, and they fight till the end. We came out a little slow, but we got it together in the second half. We eliminated their second chances. The main thing is we had to get back winning because we had lost two in a row, but Charles [Clark] came through with some big free throws down the stretch tonight. He also ran our spread offense and attacked the basket very well.”

The game was tied at 35 with 5 minutes and 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter after Westlake’s Desi Wiseman connected for two points. Great Mills junior guard Melquan Williams (10 points) and Raymond Mcleod (7 points) each connected from the three-point line to give the Hornets some cushion, but Westlake captain Randy Johnson sunk a three of his own followed by teammate Kevin Christian’s three at the buzzer, ending the third quarter tied at 46.

Westlake (14-6, 7-3 SMAC) out-scored Great Mills (10-9, 5-4) by a 19-9 margin in the final quarter with 12 points from guard Charles Clark, who finished with 18 points that included 12 from the free-throw line. Starting guard Phillip Jackson also posted 18 points, including three three-point goals.

“This is the type of game that we’re going to have against Stone, so we’re going to have to pull through at the end,” Clark said. “Our first two quarters, we come out slow. We need to start strong. We always have to fight back. We just need more energy from the start. In La Plata [an 84-78 loss Monday], we weren’t able to come back, but tonight we were.”

Jackson said his team is still not playing to their full potential.

“They were good,” Jackson said of Great Mills. “We could have played way better than we did. Coach was telling us to pick up our defense and continue to rebound. I’m expecting a good game against Thomas Stone. They’re coming to our house this time. We’re definitely going to come out and play hard.”

Great Mills junior forward CJ Sampson scored five of his 12 points in the final quarter of play. Junior starting forward Bernal Day also finished with 12 points.

Sampson said at halftime that his team just wanted to finish up with the win.

“We could have attacked the basketball more,” Sampson said, “and not taken as many outside shots. This was much better [than last time].”

Sampson said he’s looking forward to the match-up against Leonardtown, to be played at 7 tonight.

tshowalter@somdnews.com