Hicks, Warriors survive OT for first state title
Isaiah Hicks saved his best for last according to Oxford Webb coach Leo Brunelli.
Hicks, a McDonald’s All-American who is headed to North Carolina next season, scored 34 points and pulled down 30 rebounds to help the Warriors hold off Statesville 73-70 in overtime on Saturday night at N.C. State’s historic Reynolds Colisuem for the state 3-A championship.
But the supporting cast came through in a big way to help Webb secure its first state basketball championship.
Mitron Terry finished with 14 points, including a pair of key baskets in overtime that kept the Warriors in the game. And he also hit the free throws that sealed the victory with 2.8 seconds left.
Senior Bryan Smith, who finished with six rebounds and seven points, pulled down the decisive defensive rebound.
“I’m so proud of our team,” Brunelli said. “I’m still numb. I don’t want to lose this moment with these guys. We pictured this. This was our goal as a team this year. There were points where it didn’t look good. There were points tonight when it didn’t look good.”
Hicks gave the Warriors an early lead that they held for most of the game. But it was two trips to the free throw line in the final minutes that got Webb into overtime.
“What a way to go out,” Brunelli said. “To wear that uniform for J.F. Webb and put on a display like that, goodness gracious — 30 rebounds, are you kidding me? Thirty-four total points. Seven blocks. What a way to go out.”
Hicks’ rebound total easily surpassed the previous championship game record of 23 by Reginald Johnson of Winston-Salem Prep in 2008. His point total was seventh best, matching the output of Henrik Rodl of Chapel Hill in 1987.
“This is what we’ve worked for, and I go out with a championship with all my brothers means a lot,” Hicks said. “To share this with them and our whole community, because they came out to support us, is a great feeling.”
Webb led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but Statesville rallied with a 15-1 run after trailing 58-46 with 4:41 left in the game. When JaQuan Warren hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline to give Statesville a 61-59 lead with 2:06 remaining, Hicks was there to save the day despite playing with four fouls for almost the entire fourth quarter.
Hicks tied the game at 61 by converting a one-and-one with 1:44 left, then had to do it again with 28.9 seconds left after the Warriors fell behind on Breon Borders’ basket. His second trip to the line was a double-bonus situation, but he calmly sank both.
Statesville had tried to play for the last shot, but Hicks blocked a shot and the Warriors raced up the court.
Hicks put the ball up and in, but his shot from underneath the basket was waved off, having come just a split-second late.
In overtime, Statesville built a 67-63 lead on quick baskets by Borders and Warren.
Webb responded as Hicks hit a 17-foot jumper, and Terry scored on a drive to even the score. After Borders put Webb down by a bucket, Hicks and Terry rallied the Warriors again. Hicks had a jam follow with 1:21 left, and Terry gave Webb the lead for good with a driving shot in the lane with 40 seconds left to make it 71-69.
Webb had to regroup one last time with 19 seconds remaining when Warren finally drew the fifth foul on Hicks. Warren made only one of two free throws to leave Webb with a one-point lead.
The Greyhounds forced a Webb turnover, as Justin Daniels came up with a steal with 12 seconds left. Statesville’s potential winning shot by Warren came up short with six seconds left, and Smith was there to corral it for Webb.
Statesville coach Sonny Schofield praised his team’s effort.
“We had our chances,” Schofield said.
Terry made both free throws around a Stateville timeout for the final margin of victory.
“It took everyone on our team for that to happen,” Brunelli said. “Everyone thought Webb was about Isaiah Hicks. I think you found out tonight, and the last couple of weekends, that we’re a pretty good team and they like each other and they care for each other. That’s what you need to push you through in a tough game.”
Borders, a Duke signee in football, led Statesville with 26 points and nine rebounds.
Webb 73, Statesville 70, OT
Percentages: FG 32.9, FT 57.1, 3FG 25.0. 3-point FG: 6-24 (Borders 2-6, Gaither 1-7, Willis 1-3, Warren 2-3, Turner 0-3, St. John 0-2). Blocked shots: 2 (Borders, Wilis). Assists: 10 (Willis 3, Borders 2, Gaither 2, Daniels 2, Warren 1). Steals: 12 (Borders 3, Gaither 3, Daniels 2, Warren 2, Willis, Turner). Turnovers: 17 (Gaither 5, Borders 4, Warren 3, Willis 2, St. John, Williams, Daniels). Technical fouls: Gaither.
Percentages: FG 39.7, FT 68.0, 3FG 14.3. 3-point FG: 2-14 (Cates 1-4, Williams 1-6, Beverly 0-3, Terry 0-1). Blocked shots: 8 (Hicks 7, Cates). Assists: 14 (Terry 7, Beverly 3, Cates 2, Thomas, Hicks). Steals: 9 (Terry 4, Cates 2, Hicks, Williams, Smith). Turnovers: 27 (Terry 8, Hicks 6, Williams 5, Beverly 2, Cates 2, Smith 2, Thomas, Lewis). Fouled out: Beverly, Hicks.
Records—Statesville 25-4, Webb 27-5.