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After getting off to a slow start in Friday night’s 3A South Region finals, Westlake couldn't make a second-half comeback and lost to Friendly, 61-28, in Fort Washington.

“They’re taking it hard, but the main thing is we have a lot of freshmen, sophomores and juniors so we’ll be right back here,” Westlake coach Ardell Jackson said. “Our girls, it’s hard on them right now because they wanted it so bad. But we’re going to be right in the mix next year. We’re confident in what we have, as far as this young talent.”

The top-seeded Patriots (20-4 overall) were led in scoring by Chayla Lewis (21 points), Damicia Armstrong (11) and Danielle Pray (10). The Wolverines’ leading scorer was Damira Banks (8 points).

Friendly played nearly flawless ball in the first half, using its full-court press to shake Westlake’s confidence while shooting well in the offensive zone.

Third-seeded Westlake (18-7) turned the ball over 20 times in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter, and trailed 39-10 at halftime.

Armstrong scored all of her 11 points in the first half and went 3-for-3 from three-point range.

“We asked the girls to get after it defensively. We wanted that fast start,” Friendly coach Carroll Holmes said. “And we shot extremely well in the first quarter. We haven’t shot it like that all year. ... So we were very happy with the start. The start was fantastic.”

Westlake started the game using slow possessions, eating up as much of the shot clock as it could before taking a shot.

After falling behind 17-4 in the first six minutes, the Wolverines started playing quicker and in turn gave the ball away frequently.

“When you’re playing in a gym like this, you’re trying to get easy baskets,” Jackson said. “When you get down by 20, you try to push the ball, get in transition and get some easy baskets. Friendly is a tough team. They were hitting on all cylinders. I’ve never seen them shoot that well all season. They were shooting the ball well all night. So at this point, hats off to them. They did what they needed to do.”

Lewis and Janay Carter, both seniors, made life difficult for Westlake in the paint.

Lewis, listed at 5-foot-10, scored from seemingly anywhere on the court. She made one three-pointer, sunk several mid-range jump shots and showed off an array of post moves. On the defensive end, Carter (6-foot-1) made several blocks and forced the Wolverines think twice about driving to the basket and frequently altered release points on shots.

“They played big and they played physical,” Holmes said. “That’s a combination of hard work the last three years. One thing the girls say is hard work is fair, hard work pays off. They’ve worked extremely hard and they’re most deserving of this.”

Westlake went on a 9-1 run in the third quarter but couldn’t close the gap. Friendly scored its first field goal of the second half when Lewis made a three-pointer with five seconds remaining in the quarter.

“We have some real nice talented freshmen that get overlooked a lot,” Jackson said. “We have some seniors that played hard, but Westlake is a good program and we’ll be around for some time. We’re excited about what we have.”

cstevens@gazette.net

Friendly 61, Westlake 28

Westlake 4 6 9 9

Friendly 22 17 4 18

Westlake: Banks 8, Perminter 6, Gleaton 4, Hill 3, Smoot 3, Willey 2, Curtis 2

Friendly: Lewis 21, Armstrong 11, Pray 10, Brown 8, Carter 7, Davenport 2, Fennell 1, Stroman 1