Westbrook beats Section 62-51, reaches Northeast Regional
Fri. February 15, 2013 at 11:37 p.m. | By J.J. Hicks Staff Writer
Westbrook’s Colin Edwards goes up for a shot against Section during Friday night’s game. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)
RAINBOW CITY — It took four years, but Westbrook Christian finally tamed the Lions.
After falling at Section in the sub-regional round for three straight years, the Warriors rallied for a 62-51 victory over the Lions in a Class 2A sub-regional high school basketball game Friday night at the “Furnace” to secure the team’s first Northeast Regional berth since 2008.
Getting the monkey off his team’s back was huge for Westbrook coach Seth Ford.
“We are really glad it worked out this way because we wouldn’t want to go to Jacksonville any other way than beating the best and beating the team that beat us three straight years,” he said. “I remember in the locker room last year, we have pretty much the same group of guys, and they were determined not to be back in that locker room, for one, and to finish it in a different way. It’s all about them (our players).
“It does feel good, for sure. It’s awesome. I just want to give credit to the Lord. I think God has been with us all season and we committed this season to Him.”
The Warriors (26-4) had to battle back from a
fourth-quarter deficit after leading the entire first half. With its enthusiastic student section cheering them on, Westbrook regrouped, closing the game strong to get the win.
“This is a group of guys with heart like I’ve never seen before,” Ford said. “Seniors that didn’t want this to be their last game, they were gonna do whatever it took.”
The game was tied at 45 heading into the fourth quarter. The Lions (19-10) led by as many as three, 49-46 early in the quarter, as they continued to build momentum into the final eight minutes.
Westbrook began taking control after Austin Lockridge, who finished with nine points, drained back-to-back 3-pointers as the Warriors regained the lead 52-49.
“Austin’s big three’s put us over the top,” Ford said.
After that, Westbrook dominated, allowing just one field goal the rest of the way. With the lead, the Warriors held the ball to attempt to drain the clock and Section was forced to foul early and often. Westbrook made its shots from the charity stripe to punch its ticket to the regional at Jacksonville State.
“We have superstars in Colin (Edwards) and Alex (Perkins) but we have a great supporting cast, Ford said. “We’re a basketball team, not just one or two guys. I think that was the difference tonight.”
The game began with Westbrook setting the nets afire with pinpoint accuracy. It raced out to an 8-3 lead, with Jerryn Migliore sinking a pair of 3-pointers. The Lions closed the gap to 15-12 after Dylan Carson’s trey. The Warriors scored six of the last eight points in the quarter, with Edwards nailing a three with 14 seconds to go, that put Westbrook ahead 21-14 after one period.
The lead grew to as many as nine, 25-16, after a bucket by Perkins in the second quarter. Back-to-back 3-point plays by Dylan Tipton, who led all players with 27 points, quickly cut the Lions’ deficit to 25-22.
“(Tipton) gave us a whole lot of problems,” Ford said. “We didn’t really game plan for him. We knew about their guards, but 10 (Tipton) kinda got lost in the mix. I thought he was just an offensive rebounder, but the kid can play in the post. By the time we figured it out, it was too late.”
A basket by Tipton with 19 seconds left in the second quarter reduced the Warriors’ lead to 30-29 at halftime.
The third quarter saw Tipton again take control. He put back an offensive rebound with 5:24 left in the third that gave Section its first lead of the game at 36-35. He also scored the next two baskets to lift the Lions to their largest lead.
Westbrook scored the next eight points, capped by Perkins’ 3-pointer with 1:57 left in the third for a 43-40 cushion. Section’s Tristan Webb countered with a three and a pair of free throws to put the Lions back on top at 45-43. J.T. Williams knotted the game with a layup with 3 seconds left before the final quarter.
Edwards had 17 points to pace the Warriors, who will face Lanett at 1:30 p.m. Monday at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of JSU. Migliore scored 13 points. Jonathan Ford and Perkins added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Webb had 10 points and was the only other player in double figures for Section.