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OAKWOOD — West Hall boys basketball coach Warren Sellers has been around the area long enough to know it doesn’t do any good to celebrate one big win in the endurance race known as Region 7B-AAA.
The Spartans coach can appreciate Friday’s 59-41 win against West Forsyth, but knows there are still four more subregion games left to determine positioning for the region tournament.
"It doesn’t get any easier from here," said Sellers, referring to West Hall’s upcoming game against Johnson at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Still, West Hall’s (17-4, 3-3 Region 7B-AAA) coach and players alike have to feel pretty good that it held up under the pressure of letting a double-digit, first-half lead evaporate against the Wolverines. The win also eased the pain of losing the first meeting this season against West Forsyth on Jan. 13 in Cumming.
Tied 41-41 with two minutes left, the Spartans went on an 18-0 blitz to cement their victory. West Hall sophomore Shunquez Stephens started the game-saving run with a layup underneath the basket. Kavon Williams followed with a three-point play to give the Spartans some breathing room.
Marquise Stephens added another West Hall basket, and Williams hit a long-range 3-pointer at the buzzer just for good measure.
"That was about the closest 18 point game in history," Sellers added.
Williams finished as the game’s leading scorer with 18 points and was 7-for-9 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Shunquez Stephens (11) and Rodney Gibson (10) also scored in double digits for West Hall.
Long runs were clearly the name of the game for the Spartans on Friday night.
West Hall started pressuring West Forsyth (9-9, 2-4) with a zone defense in the second quarter, leading to a 17-2 run in the final two minutes of the half. The Spartans defenders continually got a hand on the ball in the paint leading to some easy baskets on the other end.
Alex Bailey and Willie Morales each hit 3-pointers for West Hall during its first half run. Gibson added a pair of baskets off missed shots from his teammates. Morales finished the game with eight points for the Spartans.
West Forsyth climbed back into the game in the fourth quarter thanks to Shaeem McLaren’s pair of 3-pointers. He scored eight points in the fourth and finished as the Wolverines’ leading scorer with 13. West Forsyth senior Lance Baker tied the game on a layup at the two-minute mark in the fourth. Kris Drees scored 11 for West Forsyth and Baker finished with eight.
West Forsyth girls 45, West Hall 28
The Lady Spartans’ problem wasn’t finding a scoring threat on Friday night against West Forsyth, as Jayla Moon, a senior, scored all nine of West Hall’s first-half points.
The problem for the Lady Spartans (8-12, 2-4 Region 7B-AAA) was finding another player that could also hit some baskets. West Hall’s Latesha Millsap hit a free throw with 5:35 left in the third quarter to signal the first points by a Lady Spartan not wearing No. 51.
Moon finished as West Hall’s leading scorer with 16 points. Millsap scored five for the Lady Spartans.
West Forsyth (9-9, 3-3) took control of the game with baskets from Megan Whittaker and Lianne Muchmore to build a 16-9 lead in the final minute of the first period. Kelsey Turchi finished as the Lady Wolverines’ leading scorer with 12. Whittaker and Muchmore each added 11 for West Forsyth.
West Forsyth visits Alpharetta at 6 tonight. West Hall visits Johnson at 6 p.m. Tuesday.