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Girls basketball: Brown scores 34 to lead Westfield past Hamilton Heights

12:00 AM, Jan. 25, 2013 EST

Westfield's top scorer, Indiana recruit Jenn Anderson, sat out against Hamilton Heights with a concussion.

Kayla Brown, the Shamrocks' No. 2 scorer, simply scored enough for both of them. The 6-2 junior scored a career-high 34 points, including a game-winning putback at the buzzer, to give Westfield a 62-60 win over Class 3A No. 1 Hamilton Heights on Thursday night.

Brown said she hadn't made a game-winning shot as a high school player. She said the performance was special for her, but it was a team win.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew we were going to have to play really hard," she said. "I think a lot of our players really stepped up, and we really pulled it through at the end."

Taylor Davis added 12 points -- on four 3-pointers -- for the Shamrocks (16-2), unranked in Class 4A.

Haley Cook scored 20 points and Dakota Weatherford added 19 for Hamilton Heights (15-2).

A putback basket by Megan Hopkins put Westfield up 60-58 with 2 minutes remaining. Hamilton Heights had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but Weatherford, an Evansville commitment, missed a 3 from the left corner. There was a tie-up on the rebound, and the Huskies retained possession. Weatherford was fouled and made two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to tie the score.

Brown drove aggressively to the hoop and missed before tipping her shot in at the buzzer.

Brown's effort was especially impressive because it was clear Hamilton Heights knew she would be featured. Brown handled the ball well against pressure and constantly found ways to get the Huskies off balance before driving for baskets.

"I think she's been one of the top two or three juniors in Indiana, and I think she showed that tonight," Westfield coach Shane Sumpter said. "She elevated her game tonight and showed what she's all about."

Sumpter said Hamilton Heights played like a No. 1 team.

"They're very deserving of it," he said. "They're well-coached, they play hard, and to come into Hamilton Heights and get a win is big for our program, and really, for our kids."

Things started well for Hamilton Heights. The Huskies led 24-17 before Westfield went on a 7-0 run. Weatherford picked up her second foul with 4:04 left in the first half, and Brown drew the third foul on her with 1:53 to go and the score tied at 26. Cook's 3-pointer while falling backward with 1:21 left in the half gave the Huskies a 31-30 lead at the break. Brown had 18 points at halftime, while Cook had 15.

Back-to-back 3s by Weatherford and Cook gave Hamilton Heights a 37-32 lead three minutes into the third quarter.

Hamilton Heights hit four 3s in the third quarter to counter 10 more points by Brown and take a 52-48 lead into the fourth quarter.

Westfield adjusted defensively in the final 8 minutes.

"Fourth quarter, we just really made sure we covered up their girls and when they penetrated, we got out on shooters," Brown said.

Anderson, a 6-3 senior center who averages 16.4 points per game and shoots 70 percent from the field, was hurt in Westfield's loss to Brownsburg on Saturday, and there is no timetable for her return. The Shamrocks couldn't focus on that Thursday night.

"I think the one thing the coaches had to do was concentrate on the kids that were healthy, and that's what we did in practice this week," Sumpter said. "I think as coaches, that's all you can do."



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