Trojans turn up defense to hold off Rams

The (Anderson) Independent-MailFebruary 22, 2009 

ANDERSON -- For the first time in Mike Gossett's 15 seasons coaching at Northwestern, the Trojans will play in the third round of the postseason.

The Trojans turned in another stellar defensive performance to knock off Westside 51-47 on Saturday night at T.L. Hanna in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs. The Rams' double-double man, sophomore forward Fred Mattison, finished with 13 points, but was held scoreless in the decisive third quarter.

"They make it tough for anybody to score, but we didn't play well," Westside coach Paul Brown said. "We talked about blocking out and rebounding for two days. ... We just didn't do some of the things we said we had to do."

Northwestern (18-8) advances to host Clover, which beat Easley in the second round, on Tuesday.

"It was as good as we've played (defensively) all year," Gossett said. "We've been getting better and better for the last three or four weeks."

Senior guard Quinton Nance had a game-high 16 points for Westside (15-8), including nine in the first quarter. Guard Labris Adams had a team-high 15 for the Trojans, while forward Cordarrelle Patterson chipped in nine points and seven rebounds.

It was Patterson's defense on Mattison that seem to knock Westside's offense out of sync. Westside's other big man, senior center Joe Reed, was held to five points and three rebounds.

"We fought them good in there, but maybe not quite good enough," Brown said.

Mattison, who averages 14 points, had seven at halftime, but didn't score in the second half until 3:55 left in the game.

Mattison was visibly frustrated when he appeared open on offense, but Northwestern's guards prevented several chances at an entry pass. On one second-half possession, Mattison spiked the ball after the Trojans forced a tie-up against him.

Patterson said teammate Chris Belton's help on defense against Mattison was a key factor.

"I told (Belton), 'He's going to pin me down, come over and help me with him,'" Patterson said. "(Belton) helped me so (Mattison) couldn't do what he did in the first half."

The Trojans outscored Westside 10-5 to open the third quarter as the Rams managed one point in the first 6:45 of the second half. Northwestern didn't light it up offensively, though, but it turned a two-point halftime deficit into a four-point lead entering the fourth by holding Westside to seven in the third quarter.

"We've got to get everything off of our defense," Gossett said. "We're not the best offensive team in the state, and so we've really got to generate offense from our defense."

Northwestern pulled away during a two-minute stretch starting with three minutes to play. Leading 42-39, Patterson scored on a one-handed slam following a timeout, and after Mattison scored on a putback, Northwestern guard Kevin Keene made a runner off the glass to restore the visitors' five-point lead.

From there, the free throw parade began, and Northwestern made four of eight in the final 42.4 seconds to keep the Rams at bay.

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