Westbrook gains third straight trip to regionals

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By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

The Westbrook Christian’s boys basketball team scored the final five points of the game to take a 67-62 victory over Weaver in Class 3A sub-regional action Tuesday (Feb. 10) in Rainbow City.

The Warriors (21-7) advanced to the Northeast Regional Tournament at Jacksonville State, where Westbrook will face Brindlee Mountain in a semifinal game on Monday at 7:30 p.m. 

“We knew it would be a game of runs,” Warrior coach Seth Ford said. “We were two evenly matched teams, so we were looking for a great game – and we got it.”

Kyle Edwards broke the 62-62 deadlock with a basket and netted the final two points with free throws. Chandler Richards hit one-of-two free throws for the other point.

“Kyle Edwards is the heart and soul of the team,” Ford said. “He isn’t usually the leading scorer but he makes the team go. And Richards is the most competitive player I’ve ever coached.”

Richards led the team with 22 points, while Edwards scored 19.

The first quarter was very even, ending with Westbrook (21-7) nursing a 19-17 lead after eight minutes. 

Weaver tied it on the first basket of the second quarter, but the Warriors netted the next five points and built a nine-point lead when Richards completed a three-point play with two seconds left before halftime.

However, the Bearcats slowed the momentum when DeAngelo Forbes sank a half-court buzzer-beater to cut the deficit to 34-28.

The third quarter was back and forth until Weaver got on a mid-quarter run and tied it at 42-42. The quarter ended with the Warriors ahead by a slim 50-47 margin. 

The fourth quarter saw both teams take small leads, and it was anyone’s game until the final run.

“We blew some big leads early in the season after halftime,” Richards said. “We learned from them, and now know we can win with late runs.”

Ford said that the Warriors blew a 16-point lead to Ashville right after Christmas and that loss seemed to gel the team, which has won nine in a row since.

“The guys are more focused – their maturity has changed,” the coach said. “It has translated into us winning games in the fourth quarter.”

This will be Westbrook’s fourth overall trip to the regionals, and the third in a row. As Ford pointed out, it is the program’s first regional as a 3A team. 

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