Westwood dumps Chester in FRL finale
"It was a pretty historic moment," Westwood head coach Phil Bryant said. "Thanks to the Northern Section realignment committee, we'll be in different leagues next year. Something will be missing next year. We've had some memorable games against Chester. The fans always would pack the gyms for each game and the intensity level was incredible. We always looked forward to playing Chester. The games were always the biggest ones of the year for us."
In the future, the two teams will face off in the preseason.
The win pushed the Lumberjacks' record to 16-8 overall and gave them second place in the FRL at 9-3 behind Portola.
Westwood starts the Northern Section Division V playoffs as a No. 14 seed, traveling to No. 3 Pierce (16-7) Wednesday, Feb. 20. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.
A win sends the Lumberjacks to No. 6 Modoc (13-10) or No. 11 Quincy (12-10) on Friday, Feb. 22.
"Lately we haven't had to start the playoffs on the road, but we played ourselves into our position. From what I hear, Pierce is a tenacious, man-to-man team who is very physical and aggressive. They're going to make it difficult for us to run our offense," Bryant said. "We're going to need Josh (Tilford) and Cody (Poggi) to play their best games."
Chester suited up just six players and Westwood wore the Volcanoes down early, jumping out to a 14-point lead late in the first quarter.
Tilford finished with a career-high 29 points; Poggi scored 16, and Jimmie Arterberry and Brian Hill netted 14.
"We didn't try to run up the score. I let the seniors play more than usual, being it their last home game," Bryant said. "We used the game to get ready for the playoffs. Josh had a breakout game. When he is in the groove he can be a very effective offensive player.
"And Brian provides a steady spark for us. He just positions himself around the basket, grabs rebounds and puts them back in."
Capital Christian (23-3) was awarded the top seed in Division V and Liberty Christian (24-1) was given the No. 2 seed. Westwood would have to get past Liberty in order to face Capital.