The Southwest Trojans rolled past Verona 64-40 on Tuesday, Jan. 13 to cap a three-game conference winning streak. The Trojans easily handled Exeter 71-42 on Friday and held off a determined Thomas Jefferson team on Monday 67-64. Matthew Whittington scored 17 to lead the Trojans past the Wildcats, with Levi Roberts and Josh Hartin contributing 16 points each.
Whittington played perhaps his best game of the season, scoring from both sides of the lane against Verona's 6' 2" post, Charlie Withnell, and converting on several fast break opportunities.
Roberts scored 8 points in each half against Verona after torching Thomas Jefferson for 31 points on Monday. Likewise, Hartin chipped in 16 after scoring two-bits worth against TJ.
Verona's normally hostile environment was fever pitch on Tuesday evening with the ancient gym packed for a doubleheader of varsity girls' and varsity boys' contests. While Verona enjoyed an early 7-5 lead on Josh Ayers' lay-up with an assist from Withnell, Southwest's answer was to pound the ball in the middle.
Whittington and freshman Skylar Knoll each scored a pair of baskets in the opening quarter for a 13-9 Southwest lead. Hartin found Knoll loose in the lane with a sizzling feed, and the rookie post connected at the buzzer with his second field goal.
The Southwest guards owned the second quarter. Austin Rettman canned his second trey of the game, and Hartin and Roberts scored 6 each in the frame.
The Trojans opened the period with an 8-2 run and doubled up the Wildcats at 22-11 with 2:29 remaining in the first half. Tyler Conrad scored on a lay-up and a long trey for Verona, but the fast-breaking Trojans owned the halftime lead, 28-18.
Whittington's 13 points in the third quarter matched the output for the entire Verona team, and Hartin's 10 and a deuce from Roberts pushed the Southwest lead to 53-31.
Roberts started the scoring in the fourth quarter with an acrobatic lay-up in traffic, and Southwest led 55-31. Knoll delivered the knockout punch when he intercepted a pass in the lane and fumbled, stumbled and rumbled his way to a lay-up and a 26-point Trojan lead.
While Ayers collected 6 more fourth quarter points, the game was never in doubt after Knoll's highlight reel, and Southwest Coach Jason Horn cleared his bench with 1:08 left to play.
Horn complimented his players for their work in the win streak.
"We have been very consistent on both ends of the floor the past three games," said Coach Horn. "I think our guys have done a good job of forcing tempo, and they have really looked to get the ball inside. Matt Whittington especially has done a nice job of finishing around the basket."
Southwest moved to 7-6 on the season with the victory and stands at 3-1 in Ozark 7 play.