Edwards, Warriors upend Eagles 60-42

Westbrook Christian’s Jonathan Ford passes out of a Hokes Bluff triple team during Friday night’s game. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times)

HOKES BLUFF — A strong scoring night from Colin Edwards powered Class 2A, No. 7 Westbrook to a 60-42 win over 4A, seventh-ranked Hokes Bluff in boys high school basketball Friday.

It was the first loss of the season for Hokes Bluff (6-1).

Edwards’ ability to get to the basket and score broke open a tight game in the second half. He finished with 25 points and four rebounds.

“My teammates really have confidence in me and I have confidence in them, too,” Edwards said. “They kept feeding me the ball, and I was able to knock them down.”

Edward’s big night didn’t surprise Westbrook coach Seth Ford.

“When he gets hot, you just get him the ball and get out of his way,” Ford said.

Westbrook (6-2) had a sixth man of sorts, helping spur the Warriors to victory. A raucous fan base, some of whom held aloft giant laminated heads of Chuck Norris and Morgan Freeman, yelled various chants, heckling the Eagles and encouraging the Warriors.

Westbrook led 26-24 at halftime. The teams traded scores through the first half of the third.

With the Warriors leading 36-33 late in the period, Edwards imposed his will. He scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, during a 14-2 run into the fourth quarter that gave the Warriors a 50-35 cushion. Westbrook wasn’t threatened the rest of the way, leading by as many as 20, 60-40, before the Eagles scored the last bucket of the game.

“It feels amazing (to beat Hokes Bluff),” Edwards said. “Since we can’t play in the county tournament, it’s good to play the county teams and it’s always good to knock them off, too.”

The up-tempo pace of the start of the game was right up the Warriors’ alley. They raced out to a 12-4 lead before the Eagles were able to slow down the play and cut it to a 14-13 Westbrook lead after the opening quarter.

A short jump hook from Isaac Haas to start the second gave Hokes Bluff its first lead, 15-14. Later in the period, a bucket by Tanner Shields capped a 12-3 spurt and gave the Eagles a 20-17 edge. Westbrook rallied, though, and a jump shot by Alex Perkins at the buzzer gave the Warriors the two-point edge entering the second half.

Perkins scored 10 points and handed out six assists for Westbrook.

“We feel very good (about the win),” Ford said. “We have juniors and seniors who no matter what I ask them to do, they do it. They just went to war tonight. All of Hokes Bluff’s guys are huge and physical and aggressive, not just the 7-footer (Haas). We were just fortunate to come out with the win.”

Haas scored 18 points to lead Hokes Bluff, but he also spent most of the second quarter and part of the third quarter in foul trouble. Shields had seven points.

“Jonathan Ford and J.T. Williams took a beating tonight for this team,” Edwards said of his teammates. “They guarded the 7-foot-2 guy.”

Jonathan Ford finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had five assists.