If being the new kids on the block wasn’t enough, Manchester Westwood painted a big target on its back Thursday by sweeping the regular-season titles in the 7-8 grade elementary league.
The Lady Rockets were able to complete a perfect 12-0 season by beating Centertown 32-21, while the Rockets avenged an earlier loss to Centertown with a 37-27 victory to break a tie for first place. The losses drop the Lady Warriors and Warriors into the No. 2 seeds in this week’s postseason tournament.
Seeing a Manchester team come in and dominate the Warren County elementary league wasn’t what any locals wanted to see, but Centertown wasn’t able to stop it from happening on its home court.
The Lady Warriors fought hard against the Lady Rockets, but Princess Penaloza – one of the league’s leading scorers – provided too much of a punch.
Penaloza scored 10 points, her sixth double-figure scoring night in seven games, to lead Westwood. Keena Seivers followed with seven.
Krista Chisam did her best to keep the Lady Warriors in the mix, scoring nine points to lead her squad. Brinlee Griffith chipped in six points, while Abby Fann, Stormie Pezzimenti and Allie Melton added two points apiece.
The crowd was at a roar by the time the Warriors and Rockets tipped off. Everybody knew the stakes with both teams entering 10-1 in the standings, leading to some passionate pleas on both sides.
Centertown played it close in the first half, with Tyler ‘T-Bone’ Adams and Thomas Burks providing the offensive engine with forays into the lane for layups.
Thunderous cheers came each time baskets were made, but it was the visiting side that got to make its voices heard in the second half. Westwood pulled away, building a double-digit lead behind a season-high 16 points from Caiden Warren.
The vocal support from the crowd turned into too much in the fourth quarter when a Westwood fan was tossed from the game. Cooler heads prevailed though after Manchester coach Will Pannell came across the court – at the behest of officials – to settle down the crowd.
From there, Warren and powerful post Jayden Carter (10 points) carried the Rockets to victory.
Centertown’s 27 points was the lowest output of the season. The Warriors are 10-0 when scoring 40 or more points, but have lost each game when the squad hasn’t reached the 40-point threshold.
Ethan Roach led the Warriors with seven points, followed by Burks with five. Adams finished with four, while Aiden Miller added three and Logan Cantrell, John Porter Prater, Sam Rivers and Connor Williams scored two points each.
The postseason 7-8 grade elementary tournament kicked off at Charlie Dalton Gym Saturday with three girls games. Results were unavailable at press time.
Games will continue Monday with the following boys matchups: Eastside vs. Dibrell, 4:30 p.m.; Morrison vs. Irving College, 5:45 p.m.; and Centertown vs. Boyd, 7 p.m.
The semifinals in both tournaments will be played Thursday night and the consolation and championship games are set for Saturday. Action on both nights will start at 4:30 p.m. at Charlie Dalton Gym.