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West Brunswick falls short in loss to South Central

By Martin Rickman

SHALlOTTE | The West Brunswick High School boys basketball team came up short Wednesday night, falling 60-56 against South Central in the second round of the 3A playoffs.

The Trojans (13-11), behind a remarkable two-year turnaround under coach Eric Davis that saw the team with its first winning season in recent memory, battled the entire game against a faster and more physical Falcons team.

South Central (22-4) is trying to make a deep run in the playoffs again after losing by a point in the 3A title game a year ago.

Behind a flurry of 3-pointers by C.J. Burney, who scored a game-high 18 points, and an effective pressure defense, South Central tried its best to control the game. West Brunswick had other plans, however, as Taylor Buffkin and Jamal Jacobs led the Trojans every time the Falcons tried to start a run.

"To our kids' credit we never gave up," Davis said. "When we played, we matched their intensity. We played really, really hard. When you go down, that's the way you want to go down. You don't want to lay down. I didn't even tell our kids that this team played in the state championship last year because I didn't want them to think that they were unbeatable."

Buffkin had a chance to tie it at the line, as he was fouled on a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining with the Trojans down 58-55, but his tired legs showed. He missed the first and second free throws before recovering to make the third.

West Brunswick is a team still learning what it means to win under the tutelage of Davis, who went 51-4 in his final two seasons at Hopewell before joining the Trojans' program.

"I've been around this long enough as a player and a coach to know that your better teams, your teams that have the most leadership, are the guys who it hurts the most when that season ends," Davis said.

"We didn't have a dry eye in that locker room because this group truly loves each other. I know I coached the kids hard, but they know I love them."