By Deunte Marshall/Sports Correspondent
Westbrook Christian advanced to the Northeast Regional Tournament with a 62-51 victory over Section in a Class 2A sub-regional game on Feb. 15 in Rainbow City.
The win was a “monkey-off the-back” victory of sorts for the Warriors, who had lost to Lions in the subregional round for the past three years.
“Absolutely unbelievable,” said Westbrook head coach Seth Ford of the win. “I look back on our previous chances, and this really felt that much sweeter to get over the hump. This had nothing to do with me; it was all our guys.”
Westbrook (26-4) will face Lanett (24-5) in the Class 2A tournament semifinals at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the JSU campus. The 2A championship game is scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 21) at 4:45 p.m.
Westbrook started off hot, with Jerryn Miglore hitting a wide-open 3-point basket with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Colin Edwards scored Westbrook’s last three points of the period, but the Lions made four treys during the frame to keep within 21-14.
Joseph Tipton did his best to keep Section in the game during the second quarter, as he outscored the Warriors with 10 of his game-high 27 points, but Westbrook held on to the lead 30-29 at the half.
The Warriors’ Austin Lockridge opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but the teams traded baskets over the rest of the third quarter. With five seconds left and Westbrook down two points, Jonathan Tanner Williams made a tough contested hook shot just before the buzzer ended, tying the score at 45-45.
Section used the strong play of Tipton in the fourth quarter to eventually gain a five-point edge, but Lockridge stepped up and hit consecutive of 3-pointers to giving Westbrook the lead for good.
The Warriors went 11-for-17 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“It seems that all of the hard work throughout my time on the varsity has led up to this moment,” said Westbrook senior guard Alex Perkins. “Throughout all of the hard times, we weren’t playing for ourselves. We played for God, and it just felt great to get this win.”
“The defense was really tough for myself and (Alex) to get our normal shots off but it was fun and we really enjoyed it, added senior forward Colin Edwards. “It feels so amazing to get this win in front of our fans, because without their support all year, who knows how our season would’ve ended?”
Migliore scored 13 points, followed by Jonathan Ford with 11 and Perkins with 10.