Southwest Guilford overpowers Leesville in 4A state title game
Posted March 11
Updated March 12
Raleigh, N.C. — Leesville Road’s hopes for its first basketball state championship were dashed Saturday afternoon by Southwest Guilford, when it fell to the Cowboys, 73-49, at Reynolds Coliseum in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state title game.
The Cowboys appeared in its first state championship game since winning the 2A state title in 1996.
“It’s just a special moment for me, and no matter what happens, nobody can take that away,” said Southwest Guilford head coach Guy Shavers.
The Langley brothers – Keyshaun, Kobe and Kam – combined to score 39 of Southwest Guilford’s points.
Sophomore Keyshaun Langley paced the Cowboys with 15 points. Senior Kam Langley tallied the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore Kobe Langley added 10 points.
Kam Langley was named the Championship Game Most Valuable Player, and Keyshaun Langley was honored with West Champion Most Outstanding Player.
Leesville sophomore Jalen Benjamin led all scorers Saturday afternoon with 18 points. Senior Jonathan Mebane also finished in double-figure scoring with 11 points.
Benjamin was named the East Champion Most Outstanding Player for his efforts.
Southwest Guilford dominated Leesville on the boards, out-rebounding the Pride 40-25. The Cowboys held a 14-8 advantage on the offensive boards for the game and led 9-1 after the first half.
Leesville head coach Russ Frazier said it wasn’t Southwest Guilford’s dribble-drive penetration or athleticism that limited offensive rebounds, but a lack of communication amongst the Pride.
“I thought we had communication breakdowns the entire basketball game," Frazier said. "I’ve been preaching communication to these boys for four years. They started realizing we were prepared, and small details were big results … with that, it caused us to really not find people and not block out, and we didn’t close out well to other people because of that.”
The Cowboys made Leesville pay on the inside, outscoring the Pride 44-20 in the paint and 19-7 in second-chance points.
Leesville kept it close after the first eight minutes, only trailing by one point at the end of the first quarter. But Southwest Guilford took over through the next two quarters, outscoring the Pride 44-22 heading in to the final frame.
“It takes a lot to get here; it takes a lot of bonding, a lot of effort, [and] a lot of time,” Frazier said. “We just did not have it today. I don’t want to call it stage freight; I just think they played better than us. They had a spurt in the first half and we could not recover.”
The Pride cut Southwest Guilford’s 25-point lead to 16 points mid-way through the fourth quarter. Benjamin had a chance lessen the lead to 13 points, but the standout sophomore missed a three from the corner.
Southwest Guilford kept its foot on the gas the rest of the way to secure its first 4A state title and first overall championship in 21 years.
Leesville finishes the 2016-17 season 22-9 overall and 9-5 in CAP 8 Conference play.