West Brunswick boys upset Whiteville
Fri. December 21, 2012 at 12:54 a.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
West Brunswick's Oj Hill (10) drives the ball down court under pressure from Whiteville's Carlos Smith (10) in the second half at Whiteville High School Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. (Photo by Photo by Mike Spencer)
WHITEVILLE – O.J. Hill came off the bench to hit two late-game layups West Brunswick’s boys basketball team buckled down defensively to earn a 53-52 upset win at Whiteville on Thursday.
West Brunswick entered Thursday’s game a heavy underdog, fresh off an emotional triple-overtime loss to Ashley and facing a 9-1 Whiteville team. The Wolfpack dominated early and used a zone press to turn turnovers into easy baskets.
“It looked like we couldn’t throw the ball to each other, pass, catch, dribble, anything,” West Brunswick coach Eric Davis said. “Their press really bothered us.”
Whiteville (9-2, 1-1 Waccmaw) led by as many as eight in the first half and carried a 29-25 lead into halftime. But West Brunswick (3-4, 1-0) responded by cutting down on turnovers and playing stout defense – getting stops to prevent Whiteville from setting up its press. Only four of Whiteville’s 12 steals came in the second half.
“They played good defense,” Whiteville coach Jerry Singletary said. “I’ll give them credit, they played well. We didn’t execute our plays. It was there, I could see it, and if we do that we score easy buckets.”
Once they established a rhythm West Brunswick’s offense finally came alive. The Trojans closed the final 2:24 of the second quarter on a 9-2 run and took the lead heading into the fourth period off back-to-back threes from Gray Cheers.
“He hit a few buckets, that’s what got them,” Singletary said. “He hits one, he hits two or three. And we knew that. Once he hits one, it seems like he doesn’t miss.”
Whiteville kept the game close and twice tied the score in the fourth quarter. But each time, Hill answered. With 1:35 remaining after a Johnny Lee White layup tied the game at 50, Hill took the inbounds pass and dribbled the length of the floor, through the Whiteville press, to put the Trojans up again.
When, Robert Smith’s jumper leveled the score 50 seconds later, Hill again had an answer, and his layup with 0:45 remaining put West Brunswick up for good.
“The lane was open,” Davis said. “We just had to have the confidence drive that lane and go by somebody, and he stepped up and had that confidence and made some huge shots”
Cheers made one of two free throws and Whiteville did get a turnover in the final seconds, but the Wolfpack’s shot clanged off the rim.
The win gives West Brunswick a much-needed breath of confidence. The Trojans already have four losses and Davis said another close loss could have affected his team.
“I told them if they wanted to get me something for Christmas, let’s get a win today,” Davis said. “for us to lose the way we did Tuesday night, I don’t know if we could have taken another loss. … You need a win like this.”
Powell Latimer: 343-2261
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