The clock said 13.5 seconds remained, but as Kyle Doyle looked into the stands, he and his teammates felt safe: This was ending with a title.
The Josey boys basketball team, playing host to the Region 3-AAA Tournament but playing as the road team because of seeding for the second night in a row, beat Westside 57-51 on Saturday night to become region champions and take a No. 1 seed to the Class AAA state tournament.
The Eagles (19-9) used strong defense in the fourth quarter and great individual efforts – especially from Kyle Doyle– to win on their home floor.
Down by seven points to begin the fourth quarter, Josey won the period 18-5 as the Westside shooters went cold.
Doyle put up 10 points in the final quarter to finish with 24.
Along with Robert Askew getting a block, Doyle came up huge on defense, getting a block and rebound on Westside’s last shot.
Doyle carried Josey’s scoring output in the opening quarter, driving and hitting shots for five field goals in the first eight minutes.
His scoring helped the Eagles take a lead after the quarter and extend their lead to seven in the second.
But the Patriots (19-7) charged right back, with Ronald Campbell hitting a floater and completing another drive moments later for both of his first-half field goals.
Westside then took the lead into the locker room as Clay Blalock took a feed from Frank Booker for the 33-31 score.
Though the Patriots added to their advantage in the next quarter, Josey controlled the fourth to ensure it would get two home games in the state tournament.
“I just felt like I had to make it happen for my team,” said Doyle, wearing part of the net around his neck. “This is the hard work paying off.”