No. 2 White Oak Headed Back to Regionals After 69-57 Win Over Palestine Westwood
TYLER — It was business as usual for the No. 2 White Oak Roughnecks, who knocked off No. 20 Palestine Westwood, 69-57, Tuesday in a Class 2A Region III quarterfinal at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
With the win, the defending state champions moved on to their third consecutive regional tournament, where it will face Salado at 6 p.m. Friday from Stephen F. Austin’s Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches.
White Oak (34-1) used an 18-4 first-quarter run to build a big lead, and scored 19 points in the fourth to put Westwood (22-11) away.
“I thought offensively we executed pretty well since we haven’t seen zone (defense) in quite a while,” said White Oak coach Ron Boyett. “(Westwood) really extended and I thought we did a good job of getting the ball into the interior, and when we had to make some perimeter shots, we did. Defensively, I thought we had some lapses at times, where we didn’t help right when we were supposed to, which got us in a little foul trouble.”
White Oak’s post tandem of Levi Yancy and Hayden Nichols led the charge. Yancy had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Nichols registered 16 points, 11 boards and three assists.
Skylar Sutton added 14 points, five assists and four first-quarter steals, while Slade Sutton finished with 11 points, which included three 3-pointers. Kris Anderson had six points and eight assists, while Josh Benson came off the bench to add six points and six rebounds.
White Oak staged a 10-0 run to start the contest, despite missing its first four 3-point attempts. It started with Skylar Sutton dishing to Yancy for two, and ended with an Anderson assist to Yancy on the block.
It was passing and defense that helped the Roughnecks build their early advantage. Anderson had three assists and Skylar Sutton nabbed four steals as White Oak led, 22-7, after one quarter.
“Particularly with the scheme they had, we knew if we could get the ball into the middle of the zone, some good things could happen,” Boyett said. “We really worked on that yesterday and came out and executed really well. That’s the strength of our team. We can take something in practice and our kids listen and pay attention. They go out and do it in the game and it helped us tonight.”
Both teams played an even second quarter, and when Yancy fed Benson for the assist and layup with 49 seconds left, White Oak went into halftime with a, 35-19 margin.
Anderson began the second half with three assists, punctuated by his feed that set up Yancy’s two-handed jam, building White Oak’s lead to 44-23.
Yancy drew his third foul at the 4:58 mark of the third and Westwood responded. The Panthers proceeded to go on an 9-0 run that cut White Oak’s lead to 47-34 with about two minutes remaining in the third.
“We have to do a better job of blocking out and contributing when (Yancy) is in the game, and especially when he’s not,” Boyett said. “(Yancy) got in foul trouble, not because of his man, but because the other guys weren’t helping and doing what they’re supposed to do.”
It was more of the same for the Roughnecks starting in the fourth. After Westwood’s L.J. Hutchinson found Chris Thompson for the layup, White Oak went on a 9-2 spurt, highlighted by two Anderson dribble-drive layups and a Yancy three-point play. When Benson laid out for a steal and fed Skylar Sutton for the layup in transition, White Oak’s lead swelled to 67-45 with 2:37 remaining.
Westwood’s Hutchinson had a team-high 13 points, including a full-court heave that swished as the final buzzer sounded. Chris Thompson tallied 10 points and Jacobee Newton had eight points (all in the second quarter) and six rebounds. Teammates Dranoel Ross and Jerry Turner combined for 17 points in the loss.
“We play athletic teams all year, so they didn’t do anything we haven’t seen,” said Anderson. “It feels good to go back to SFA and play in that atmosphere.”