Westside rallies past Laney to earn the Region 3-AA title

Westside 63, Laney 59



It echoed as Frank Booker walked to the foul line. It was repeated by coach Marvin Fields when he was euphoric in victory as his team surrounded him.

And it was again yelled when the Westside boys basketball team celebrated in a huddle after the win.

“Westside! Westside! Westside!”

Despite trailing by 11 points entering the fourth quarter, the Patriots came back to beat Laney, 63-59, Saturday night in the Region 3-AA Tournament championship game. It was Westside’s third victory against the Wildcats this season.

“I think the guys worked so hard,” Fields said. “This club is deserving of it.”

The Patriots got a No. 1 seed for the Class AA state tournament by making stands on defense and a living at the foul line, where they sank 28 of 34 attempts. Booker shot 16 free throws en route to 27 points.

Booker hit a free throw after getting fouled to give Westside a late 60-59 lead.

The crowd at Laney wanted an offensive foul.

On the ensuing possession, Laney’s Zephaniah Jasper, who scored 20 in the game and was dominant early, tried to drive to the basket but was met by a few Westside defenders and turned the ball over.

Later, after the Patriots added a free throw, Booker made two more at the line to complete the scoring.

However, there was more than just that one instant where the Wildcats’ youth showed up late, with turnovers ending possessions as Laney scored only four points in the fourth quarter.

That was a huge change from the previous two periods, when the Wildcats scored a combined 39 points to move ahead of the Patriots.

Senior Mike Lewis hit a pair 3-pointers to close the first half, giving Laney a 37-32 lead at the break. JaShawn Brooks made two 3s in the third quater, and the Wildcats entered the fourth quarter up 55-44.

Westside’s Jamari Griffin scored five consecutive points to open the final period and spark the rally.

Laney will now try to regroup. The Wildcats, who will be the
No. 2 seed, open up the state tournament at home.

For now, the Wildcats must think about the close defeat.

“It’s supposed to hurt,” Laney coach Jerry Hunter said. “Don’t fight it.”



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