After losing seven seniors from last year’s semifinal Curtis Baptist boys basketball team, senior Brian Wilson took it upon himself to finish the job this time.
Wilson led Curtis Baptist to a GISA Class A state title with a 56-47 win over Dawson Street on March 2 in Macon, Ga., giving the Crusaders their first state title since 1996-97.
“When we made it to the final four, I knew I couldn’t go out like last year,” said Wilson, who scored a game-high 20 points in the championship game. “You have to give it your all because that’s it. I can’t put on a Curtis jersey again. My whole idea was to leave it all out on the court and take everyone who wanted to follow me, to crusade out of here.”
Wilson’s 20 points in the championship game mirrored his 20 point-per-game average in his final season. The point guard also led the team with 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. As a result, Wilson was named The Augusta Chronicle’s Independent Boys Player of the Year.
Curtis Baptist, which finished at 24-9, cruised through the tournament bracket, with the nine-point advantage in the state championship as the closest scoring margin. The next closest was a 17-point win over Citizens Christian in the second round Feb. 23. Wilson recorded 25 points and 10 rebounds in that game.
Despite losing a large group of seniors, Wilson filled the hole with his leadership and on-court abilities.
“Anybody that can average 20 points a game for you, he’s an excellent player,” Curtis Baptist coach John Spurlock said. “We had lost about 40 points with those seniors the previous year, and we knew we had to replace it. He stepped up big from the early part of the season and carried it on through the state playoffs.”
“We were way closer as a team this year,” Wilson said. “Last year, everybody was doing their own thing but, this year, we were more of a family, so it was easier to talk to people, easier to lead people.”
Wilson knocked down 50 percent of his 2-point shots while attempting 110 more shots than the next-highest player. He also made 35 percent of his 3-point opportunities and 68 percent of his free throws.
While Wilson racked up numbers that ranked among area leaders in high school basketball, he was quick to shift the reason for team success to the team itself.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” he said. “In the end, I could have been No. 1 in Augusta, but some of the No. 1 players didn’t win state, because No. 1 doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a team. Teams win games. Defense and offense wins games. Teamwork wins games.”
Wilson has plans to play basketball at the collegiate level, but he is unable to provide details yet. In the meantime, the Curtis Baptist star will soak in the result of a Wilson-led crusade through the GISA ranks.
“I felt like this year was our year, because if we went that far, nothing could stop us from going all the way,” he said.