Needing to do some avenging, Will Pannell assembled the perfect squad last week at Centertown. Using lightning-quick moves, dead-eye shooting and iron man efforts by members of the starting lineup.
And if all else failed, Jayden Carter smashed everybody in the paint.
Manchester Westwood clinched the regular season title in the Warren County 7-8 grade elementary basketball league last Thursday, beating Centertown 37-27. It was revenge for a loss in December, along with the tiebreaker that finally separated the two teams atop the standings.
The Rockets and Warriors entered the tilt with matching 10-1 records, but Westwood made sure it left the court as the clear champs.
Caiden Warren busted out in a big way in the heavyweight battle, scoring a season-high 16 points to lead the charge. Warren’s showed Hawkeye-like accuracy from deep in the first half, sinking back-to-back 3-pointers before halftime to give his team momentum – and a 15-14 advantage at the break.
Carter brought the team home in the second half, scoring nine of his 10 points in after halftime on an assortment of brute-force finishes around the rim. Carter also had a slicing layup that stunned the Warriors, capitalizing on a play called during a timeout and eliciting a fist pump from his coach.
Down the stretch, Jaiden Warren took control. The Warriors had no answer for Jaiden’s speed, including two sprints where the Rocket guard blew through the defense before finishing with finger rolls. Jaiden finished the night with eight points.
Skyler Stinson added three points, highlighted by a big basket in the fourth quarter as the Rockets stretched their lead to double figures.
With the victory, Manchester Westwood earned the No. 1 seed in this week’s elementary tournament at Charlie Dalton Gym in McMinnville. The Rockets are set to debut in the tournament Thursday, Jan. 23.
Westwood girls finish perfect season
The Lady Rockets completed a perfect 12-0 run through the Warren County 7-8 grade league Thursday, beating the Centertown Lady Warriors 32-21. Scoring for Manchester Westwood was Princess Penaloza with 10, Keena Seivers with 7, Leonor Moreno with 5, Kailee Rossman with 4, Bryleigh Gray with 3, Allie Sullivan with 2 and Remi Benjamin with 1.