By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
West End High boys head basketball coach Clint Brannon was a happy man on Monday (Jan. 18) after his Patriots had beaten the Hokes Bluff, 49-46, in the opening round of the Etowah County Schools Basketball Tournament at Gaston.
“This is a huge win for us. Hokes Bluff had beaten us earlier in the season, but we have a great bunch of kids and they work hard.
“Hunter Grant at times carries us on his back, and he came up with the play of the game with two remaining.”
Brannon was referring to Grant’s monster block of a shot that could have tied the score and sent the contest into overtime.
The Eagles jumped out to a 15-12 lead after one quarter behind the scoring of Kaden Moore. Moore scored a game-high 22 points, although the quicker West End defense forced numerous turnovers as the Patriots fought back to take a 27-19 lead at the half.
West End got balanced scoring from Andre Little, Hunter Tarvin and Hunter Grant as the Patriots held a 36-31 lead after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter began with West End building a 43-35 lead, but Hokes Bluff mounted a furious comeback and cut the lead to 49-46 with 15 seconds remaining. A key turnover gave the Eagles the chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer, but Grant came through to block the shot and secure the win.
Fisher Simmons added 11 points for the Eagles to go with Moore’s 22.
West End was led by Little with 13 points, followed by Grant with 12 and Hunter Tarvin with 11.
The Patriots advanced to the Wednesday’s semifinal round against Glencoe.