Mainland defeated the Sharks 64-57 on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Atlantic High School.
After the Mainland girls basketball team’s four-point loss to rival Atlantic on Friday, Jan. 19, at home, the Lady Buccaneers were heartbroken. When the team watched the game film the following day, they saw their mistakes: missed box outs, missed assignments and, most importantly, a lack of energy.
Entering Mainland’s rematch with Atlantic on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Atlantic High School, the Buccaneers knew they had to play with a different attitude.
“We wanted to bring the intensity from the start,” Buccaneers forward Isys Grady said. “The first game, they played harder than we did. This time around, we needed to change that.”
The Buccaneers feasted on a diet of offensive rebounds and layups in their 64-57 win over the Sharks. The Buccaneers hit one 3-point shot for the game — a swish from junior guard Leesha Henry midway through the third quarter. The rest was almost exclusively in the paint. Grady scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Henry also ripped down 14 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
“We just go hard all the time,” Grady said. “We had to keep grinding. We didn’t slow down. We didn’t take off any plays. We didn’t take our foot off the gas. We just kept going.”
Mainland led by as much as 12 points in the second quarter, but an 18-5 run to close the half gave the Sharks the lead.
In the locker room, Mainland coach Arthur Westbrook warned his team of the Sharks premier point guard, Shakawanza Brown, in the second half.
“I told my girls, she was coming for them,” he said.
The Buccaneers regained their lead near the start of the third quarter. And they never relinquished it.
“I told my girls that this game was going to be a fight,” Westbrook said. “But you’ve got to finish the fight, and they did.”
Westbrook, his voice nearly gone from yelling throughout the game, could hardly speak after the win. He doesn’t know when he’ll get his voice back.
“I have practices and more games coming up, so I probably won’t get it back anytime soon,” he said.