By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
The 1-2 punch of Jonathan Ford and tournament MVP Colin Edwards proved too much for the Gaston Bulldogs on Monday (Feb. 11) in the Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament championship game, as the sixth-ranked Warriors posted a 53-35 victory in Rainbow City.
Edwards, who was named Tournament MVP, scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter, while Ford added 16.
Both local squads advanced to Friday’s subregional round. The Warriors (25-4) host Section, while Gaston (6-15) travels to North Sand Mountain with a trip to next week’s Northeast Regional tournament at Jacksonville State next week on the line.
It was the fourth straight appearance in the area tournament title game for Westbrook, but the Warriors fell short in each of the previous three contests.
“We had the jitters to start the game,” said Westbrook head coach Seth Ford. “It will make a big difference hosting the next game rather than being on the road.”
Westbrook jumped to a 12-6 lead after the first period of play.
Gaston cut the lead to 12-10 early in the second quarter, but the halftime score stood at 23-12 in favor of the Warriors, and the hosts never looked back.
Behind Edwards’ 11 points, Westbrook built a 39-19 lead at the end of the third quarter. Gaston outscored Westbrook 16-14 in the final stanza, but it was too little, too late.
“I thought [Gaston’s] defense took us out of our game plan early,” said Ford. “Gaston is very much improved. Each time we’ve played them, they’ve just gotten better and better.”
Albert Douglas scored 11 points for the Bulldogs, while Trevion Rooks added nine.
In the tournament semifinals on Feb. 8, Westbrook defeated West End, 72-34, while Gaston beat Sand Rock, 52-40.