As the last shot rimmed out and the ball bounced away the final few seconds, Josey could enjoy a win knowing an even bigger celebration is up for grabs tonight.
The Josey boys basketball team won on its own floor, beating Washington County 46-42 on Friday evening in the Region 3-AAA Tournament semifinals. The Eagles go for a No. 1 seed in the Class AAA state tournament tonight.
“I cannot describe it,” Josey coach Jabari Levi said. “The only thing I can say is, ‘Someone pinch me to make sure I’m still not dreaming.’ ”
Josey (18-9) led most of the second half, but never by more than two possessions.
For the second game in a row, freshman Darius Williams showed guts late, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the last quarter. Williams, who put up 16 fourth-quarter points against Glenn Hills in the quarterfinals, drilled a 3-pointer,
hit a tough shot inside and also stripped the ball loose as the Eagles had an answer for most Washington County baskets.
“He was everywhere, man,” Levi said about Williams.
William Bentley was another big-shot maker, banking in a shot to push it to 46-41.
Then, after the Golden Hawks (23-2) worked the ball around trying to get a good look, a trip to the line yielded only one point as the Eagles’ Kyle Doyle grabbed the rebound and was fouled with less than 20 seconds to play.
Doyle was the star early, scoring 11 of his 15 points before halftime. He used his size and ball-handling to get near the hoop.
On defense, the Eagles limited Juwan Burden’s opportunities. The senior was held in check for three quarters before scoring eight quick points in the fourth.
However, after De’loveion Hagans hit a 3 immediately after Williams made his to close it to 44-41, the Golden Hawks didn’t connect from the field again to allow the host Eagles to play for the title tonight.
“Winning the whole region is the goal,” Bentley said. “We talk and think about it every day, when we eat and sleep.”