Thomas Stone senior Denzel Satterwhite knew his return to Westlake, the school he attended the past three years, would be an emotional one. It turned out to be nearly perfect one.
Satterwhite hit all eight shots he took in his old gym, helping lead the Cougars to an 88-69 victory over the Wolverines.
There was a similar margin of victory in the girls' game, with No. 9 Westlake walking way with a 53-31 victory. The Wolverines (11-1, 6-0 SMAC) got an outstanding all-around performance from junior Nicole Hester, who scored 10 points and added 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals with only one turnover.
"She is a star, she truly is," first-year Westlake Coach Sean Anderson said of Hester. "I think, quite frankly, with all due respect to the girls at Patuxent, that she is the best player in the 3A South Region. She just does it all. She's a very special kid."
The girls' game was never close. Westlake built a 15-point lead in the opening quarter over the young Cougars squad (4-8, 2-4) and continued to build that lead throughout the second half. The Wolverines, who were led by senior Kaleigha Gray's game-high 17 points, led by as many as 28 points, 47-19, with 4 minutes 11 seconds to play.
The boys' game, however, proved much closer in the first half than expected. Westlake, the youngest team in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, fed off the energy of its home crowd to turn what was an 18-11 Thomas Stone lead with 3:08 to play in the first quarter into a 35-30 deficit for the Cougars with 3:21 to go in the half.
"I think that's the best half of basketball I've seen us play," Westlake Coach Jimmy Ball said. "But we haven't strung together two quarters like that all year, so I knew asking for a complete game was going to be tough. Thomas Stone is tougher than we are at the guard position and in the post, and their physical strength was the difference in the second half.
"But I think our kids played very well tonight. We have a lot of young guys and it's been a struggle for us, but we're getting better."
Thomas Stone (9-2, 5-1) withstood Westlake's first-half run with patience, and got seven much-needed points from senior forward Daniel Bell in the final minute and a half of the second quarter. The Cougars regained their lead, 44-38, headed into the break.
The Wolverines (4-8, 2-4) threatened again early in the third quarter, with senior guard Terrell Brown (season-high 27 points) netting back-to-back jump shots to close the gap to 49-46 with 5:47 to play.
But then the Cougars took off. Thomas Stone outscored Westlake 21-6 the rest of the quarter to take a comfortable 70-52 lead into the final period.
"No matter what either team has, this is still the Westlake-Thomas Stone rivalry, and the kids get hyped up for that," Thomas Stone Coach Dale Lamberth said. "We felt pretty good at the half knowing that we had weathered their run and that we were playing consistent. We just had to be a little more patient and believe in what we were doing, and I think we did both of those things in the second half."
Bell paced Thomas Stone with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field, including three three-pointers. Satterwhite's 16 points also were a season-high, and junior forward Xavier Davis added 13.
"This was definitely emotional for me," Satterwhite said of his return to Westlake, "but it feels great."