By Gene StanleySports Correspondent
With 15.6 seconds left in the game on Wednesday (Feb. 19), Westbrook Christian’s Colin Edwards missed the front end of a one-and-one, leaving his fifth-ranked Warriors ahead by a meager one point in the Class 2A semifinals of the Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State.
“Oh, I remember that shot,” Edwards said with a laugh after the game. “I remember it well.”
Laughing was easy after it was all said and done, as Westbrook (24-2) took a 49-48 victory over LaFayette and clinched a spot in Saturday’s championship game against No. 2 Lanett, the squad that defeated the Warriors in last year’s regional semifinals. Lanett beat Fyffe, 82-44, in Wednesday’s other semifinal game.
The Bulldogs (16-9) came away with the rebound off Edwards’ miss, and with six seconds showing on the clock, Cordeski Floyd shot what would have been the game-winning basket.
But who was there to block the shot and seal the win? None other than Westbrook’s All-State senior forward.
“[Floyd] beat me, but I got there (from behind),” Edwards said. “I knew I could jump higher than him, so I just timed my jump and made sure my hand waited for the ball.
“I got all ball.”
Thankfully, there was no whistle saying otherwise.
LaFayette got the rebound and Trevond Barnes put up a desperation shot at the buzzer. The shot hit iron and bounced harmlessly into the waiting arms of Jerryn Migliore, however, sending the Warrior Nation into a frenzy.
Edwards earlier had left put the Westbrook faithful into a celebratory mood by stealing the ball from Tequarri Whitlow and slam dunking the ball, giving his team a 47-46 lead with 2:26 remaining.
After Migliore hit two free throws with 27 seconds left, the Bulldogs had a chance for a tie. Jatarvious Whitlow made a layup and drew a foul for a potential three-point play.
But he missed the free throw, leading to the game-ending frenzy.
“That is why I wanted to be a coach,” Westbrook coach Seth Ford said. “It was back and forth all game and the kids never quit. This was high school basketball at its finest.”
Westbrook trailed 12-11 after one quarter before taking a 27-23 lead at the half. The Warriors led 38-34 at the start of the fourth period.
Kyle Leonard led the Warriors with 15 points, going 5-for-7 on 3-pointers. He also had three assists.
“I haven’t shot well all year,” Leonard said. “God was with me tonight.”
Edwards followed with 14 points and a game-high six rebounds. He also blocked three shots.
Barnes led LaFayette with 14 points and Whitlow scored 11.