Girls basketball: Western Tech vs. New Town

Western Tech's Sydney Clopton, left, and Daija Coles trap New Town's Keyaira Wilson with the kind of tough defense both teams played in the Wolverines' 42-36 victory for the school's first-ever regional basketball title. (Photo by Steve Ruark / March 2, 2012)

The 2012 Western Tech girls basketball team engraved its place in school history when the Wolverines became the first to win a regional championship.

Top-seeded Western Tech defeated visiting New Town, 42-36, Friday night in the Class 1A North Region final to earn the distinction.

The Western Tech boys lost to New Town on Saturday in their attempt to match the girls with their first regional title.

Western Tech's girls proved you can win even when the other team has the ball more often.

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The Wolverines (22-4) overcame 44 turnovers, but forced 35 New Town turnovers. They also held them to just 23 percent (13-for-57) shooting from the floor.

Standout junior guard Jannah Tucker led New Town (20-6) with 23 points, but she had to earn them.

"Tucker is so good, so we said, 'you have to get a hand in her face and if she shoots jumpers all night we will be successful,'" Western Tech coach Nolan Roe said.

Junior forward Daija Coles (9 points) had the assignment of guarding her after being clear to play Wednesday after her tooth was knocked out in the county championship game against Milford Mill.

Tucker missed her first nine shots from the field in the first quarter, but hit a late free throw with 26 seconds for her only point.

At that time, the Wolverines led 13-5 and everywhere Tucker went, Coles and seniors Ateh Ade (8 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocked shots and Jayde Duncan (8 points, 16 rebounds) shadowed her.

Western Tech sophomore Sydney Clopton was the Wolverines' offensive catalyst in the first quarter when she canned a pair of three-pointers.

"Sydney was great for us," Roe said.

Although she didn't hit another three pointer, she added four free throws and led the winners with 10 points and seven steals.

New Town trailed 23-15 at halftime and looked on the verge of getting blown out, with three starters saddled with three fouls each.

Western Tech went on a 6-0 run, capped by a banked trey from Coles with 6:56 left in the third period, that gave them a 29-15 lead.

That's when New Town's tenacious defense, that mirrors Western Tech's, took over.

Sparked by Tucker, Jasmine Cole, Keyaira Wilson, Amber Green and Tiana Davis, the Titans went on 12-0 run and closed the third quarter trailing only 29-27.

Tucker had nine points and Davis banked in the other three from long range.

"We had to stick together at that point," said Ade, one of three starting seniors with Duncan and Tyshay Montgomery. "If we didn't, we would have fallen apart."

Everybody stuck together in the final period with Montgomery and freshman Deja Dennis leading the way.