RUSK --  After surrendering a nine-point fourth-quarter lead, No. 20 Palestine Westwood turned up the heat in overtime and held on to beat Troup 56-53 in a Class 2A Region III area basketball playoff at Eagle Coliseum on Friday.

Westwood advances to play No. 2 White Oak, the defending 2A state champion, in a Region III quarterfinal at a site and time to be determined.

Westwood's Jerry Turner finished with a game-high 23 points and a couple of steals. Teammate Dranoel Ross tallied 14 points and 11 boards. Hutchinson added 10 points and five assists, while Chris Thompson had two points, 10 rebounds, and four steals.

"We were extremely evenly matched," said Westwood coach Scott Nettles. "This was going to be a close ballgame, where it came down to who was able to make the most plays when you absolutely had to. I thought we did that. Our free-throw shooting has not been very good lately, and we stepped up and hit some big ones that we had to have.

"I can't say enough about our kids and how they competed, especially our seniors. We got to the playoffs for the first time last year as juniors, and lost a heartbreaker in the bi-district round. We needed to get this first playoff win. It's big for them, and its even bigger for our program."

Westwood (22-8) didn't trail until overtime, when Troup's Richard Lacy sank a three-pointer to open the extra frame and give the Tigers a 48-45 advantage. But Westwood's L.J. Hutchinson scored the go-ahead basket at the 2:00 mark in OT, 49-48, and the Panthers never looked back. Turner sank a jumper in traffic and knocked down two big free throws to help close out the Tigers' season.

Down nine early in the fourth, Troup's Blake Lynch scored on a putback to start a 13-5 run that cut Westwood's lead to three points, 44-41. An'Fernee Ross' putback tied the game 45-45 with 1:17 remaining. Troup had an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with three seconds left.

Lacy led Troup (21-11), a District 18-2A co-champion with Frankston, with 15 points, five rebounds, and three steals. Ross added 11 points and three steals. Lynch, a sophomore, had a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. Senior post Shaquille Rollins had six points and eight rebounds.

Leading 25-23 at halftime, Westwood outscored Troup 12-7 in the third quarter thanks to an 8-2 run capped off by Turner's three-ball from the wing. Westwood finished the period with four consecutive points off Ross offensive rebounds and putbacks for a 37-30 edge heading to the fourth.