PALESTINE —  Coming into Friday night’s game, Westwood head coach Scott Nettles knew the Athens defense was going to be tough.

His team found out the same thing as the Hornets used a tough zone defense to hold off Westwood 50-44 to finish the first half of District 20-AAA play.

The two teams came into Friday night tied with Crockett at 3-1 at the top of the district standings. With the win, Athens (15-11, 4-1) stays tied for the lead and Westwood (11-12, 3-2) goes to third place.

Westwood’s D.J. Morrow had a game-high 14 points as he made three three-pointers. Ryan Mackie added 12 points and three steals.

Athens’ Nick Monmouth scored 11 points and Kendall Sanders had 10 points.

The game was tied going into the fourth quarter and Mackie gave Westwood the lead, 35-34, on a steal and a layup.

But after that, Westwood would not score for the next three minutes as the Hornets went on a 6-0 run to take a 40-35 lead.

Westwood stopped the run on a basket by Seth Gilkey and cut the lead to one point when George White hit a 10-foot jumper.

Athens extended the lead back to 44-39 after Monmouth hit two free throws and Desmond Bowie had a putback.

Westwood tried to rally late as Morrow hit three free throws after being fouled behind the arc to cut the lead to 48-44. Then Domanick Turner had a steal but Westwood could not make another basket and Monmouth sealed the win from the free-throw line.

Athens led for most of the first half before a flurry of three pointers late in the half put Westwood ahead by three points heading into the lockerroom.

With under two minutes to play, Morrow hit a three pointer and then with 24 seconds left, Mackie hit a three to tie the game at 19-19.

After Mackie’s three pointer, Morrow stole the ball and hit a three pointer for the three-point lead.

In the third quarter, Westwood did not score for the first two and a half minutes as Athens tied the game. After that it was back-and-forth for the rest of the quarter as neither team had more than a three-point lead at any point.

The JV Hornets (21-1) were a 65-29 winner behind Ryan Lacy’s 14 points. Tedrick Rockmore and Zach Basher scored 12 each.

The Hornets play at home twice this week, hosting Fairfield on Tuesday and Palestine on Friday.

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