Mar 17, 2013
It took an extra period after regulation, but the Webb Warriors from Oxford are the 3-A state champions after an overtime thriller at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Warriors edged the Statesville High School Greyhounds 73-70 in overtime to win the title.
Much of the Webb responsibility rested on the shoulders of 6-food-9 forward Isaiah Hicks, who rose to the occasion. He filled the stat sheet with 34 points, 30 rebounds and 7 blocks. His performance earned him the Wendy's MVP award.
The game was an emotional thriller that left plenty of tears on the court after the final buzzer sounded.
"I'm still numb," said Webb Head Coach Leo Brunelli. "I don't want to lose this moment with these guys."
The emotional toll at the end of the game was a bit of a surprise to the thousands of Webb fans in Reynolds, considering Webb outscored Statesville in each of the first three quarters.
At halftime, the Warriors led 29-20. After the third quarter, the team led by 11 points.
A furious Greyhound comeback put Statesville back in the game during the 4th quarter. The team outscored Webb 28-17 in the final period to come back and force overtime.
A JaQuan Warren 3-pointer midway through the 4th brought the Webb lead down to 7 points. Marquis Willis hit another 3 on the next trip down the court to cut the lead to 4 points. A shot from Breon Borders and another 3-pointer from Warren gave the Greyhounds new life, and the lead.
Hicks, a UNC recruit, put up a shot at the buzzer of regulation to win the game, but it was ruled to have come too late. It didn't count, and overtime began.
Webb outscored Statesville 10-7 in the 4-minute overtime period to win the game. The teams traded leads multiple times in the final minutes before free throws from Mitron Terry made it a 3-point game with 2 seconds left. A last second Statesville shot fell short, making the Warriors champions.
Brunelli knew the Statesville run would come, and he knew he was fortunate to have survived it.
"There were points this season it didn't look very good," he said. "There were points tonight it didn't look good. But these guys believe in what we were doing."
Hicks' performance was historic. His 30 rebounds set a new NCHSAA championship game record.
"It means a lot," Hicks said after the game. "This is what we worked for. Now I go out with a championship with all my brothers."
Brunelli acknowledged other performances on the team as well. Terry scored 14 points and added 7 rebounds and 7 assists to be named the Outstanding Player of the game for Webb.
Bryan Smith had 7 points and 6 rebounds. His last rebound was the one that helped put Terry on the line to seal the game.
Stefan Cates added 9 points for the State Champion Warriors.
"Everyone thought Webb was about Isaiah Hicks," Brunelli said. "We found out tonight that Webb is a pretty good team."
Hicks was consistent throughout. He scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the first half alone on his way to a historic performance. He only got better as more pressure was put on him.
And the pressure became heavier after Statesville's impressive 4th-quarter run.
"This game had lots of momentum shifts," Brunelli said. "From a coaching standpoint, it felt like a chess match."
But the Statesville side of the board was not without its own impressive performances. Breon Borders, who will be playing football at Duke in the fall, scored 26 points and added 9 rebounds. Warren scored 17 for the Greyhounds.
"I think their runs got in our heads," said Statesville Coach Sonny Schofield. "They seized the moment."
Webb found a picture perfect way to finish their 26-5 regular season.
Statesville, with 6 seniors on their roster, finish their 25-3 regular season as the state runner-up.
"This is the first Statesville team to make it to this game since 1985," Schofield said. "This team has accomplished so much."
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