Webb advances to state semifinals
FAYETTEVILLE – Stars Isaiah Hicks and Mitron Terry did a lot of the heavy lifting, but it was unsung hero Stefan Cates who eventually stuck the dagger in Eastern Alamance Friday night.
Oxford Webb’s 65-56 win at Crown Coliseum lifted the Warriors into today’s 6 p.m. state 3-A semifinal against Rocky Mount, also at Crown Coliseum.
Cates led Webb (25-5) with 23 points and 13 rebounds, several times converting assists from Terry and Hicks, who finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Hicks and Terry, who almost always lead the team in scoring, shook their heads afterwards and smiled when asked about their teammate’s performance. Webb coach Leo Brunelli said East Regional Tournament officials told him he could only bring two players with him to his post-game press conference and that was why Cates was not available.
Hicks added 11 rebounds and Terry 10 as Webb out-rebounded the Eagles 46-39. Hicks dominated defensively, blocking eight shots, several on Eastern Alamance star Lamont Robinson layup tries in the third quarter that appeared to demoralize the diminutive star on his way to a 28-point night despite hitting just 11 of 33 shots from the floor.
“He (Robinson) got frustrated,” Hicks said later of those failed forays to the hoop. On a couple of occasions, Hicks actually caught shot attempts in the air and fired court-length passes, one for an assist and another for a missed layup.
Brunelli put his head in his hands when reminded of those Hicks plays, calling them “unbelievable.”
With all eyes on Eastern Alamance’s 5-foot-7 Robinson early, it was sophomore guard Malcolm Summers who got the Eagles off to a flying start. He scored 13 points in the first 4:07 – nine on 3s – and Robinson scored on a pair of late first quarter jumpers and a buzzer-beating scoop shot to leave Webb down nine, 23-14, headed into the second quarter.
But Webb wasn’t done. Led by 6-9 North Carolina signee Hicks (nine points, seven rebounds at halftime) and 6-3 guard Terry (12 points, four rebounds at the half), the Warriors chipped away and took their first lead 31-30 on a 3 by Cates off a Hicks assist and a steal and assist from Terry that led to a Tyrek Beverly layup with 2:07 left in the half.
Hicks rebounded a teammate’s miss, then followed his own miss for a 33-31 lead but Robinson knocked down a 3 with 24 seconds left to give Eastern a 34-33 lead and match Summers’ game-high 13 at the break.
Eastern was crippled in the second quarter when Summers, playing with three fouls, picked up No. 4. Fellow starter Sae’Quahan Rogers picked up his third, while Terry was the only Warrior in foul trouble, with three at the break.
In the third, with Summers sidelined, Robinson had to pick up the scoring slack, and Hicks was ready, rejecting a pair of layup tries. Robinson also went cold from outside, missing repeatedly and being held to just two points as Webb ran out to a 48-40 lead.
Cates scored six points, Devonte Williams added three, and Terry, Hicks and Tyler Thomas each had two in the third. More importantly, Hicks established a defensive presence down low and the Warriors began controlling the boards.
“I was proud of the way we executed,” Brunelli said. “We held a great ballclub to six points in the third quarter. … We weathered different storms, mostly through the defensive side of it.”
Eastern Alamance trimmed its deficit to four points midway through the fourth quarter as Robinson had 11 of the Eagles’ 13 points to open the period, but Cates answered with three free throws and a pair of layups in a minute to put the game away.
Oxford Webb 65, Eastern Alamance 56
OXFORD WEBB – Tyrek Beverly 3-8 0-0 7; Isaiah Hicks 5-13 3-7 13; Mitron Terry 5-13 5-8 15; Devonte Williams 1-4 2-2 5; Stefan Cates 7-9 2-2 23; Tyler Thomas 1-3 0-0 2. Team totals – FG 22-51 (43.1 percent), FT 17-24 (70.8 percent).
E. ALAMANCE – Lamont Robinson 11-33 5-5 28; Malcolm Summers 5-8 0-0 13; Sae’Quahan Rogers 2-4 0-0 5; John Lamont 1-6 2-4 4; Joey Lanier 0-5 1-2 1; Jacob Mann 0-3 1-2 1; Kedar Sweezer 1-4 2-2 4. Team totals – FG 20-68 (29.4 percent), FT 11-15 (73.3 percent).
3 point FG – Webb 4-7 (Cates 2, Williams, Beverly); E. Alamance 5-21 (Summers 3, Robinson, Rogers). Rebounds – Webb 46 (Cates 13), E. Alamance 39 (Lamont 10). Blocked shots – Webb 11 (Hicks 8), E. Alamance 2 (Jalyn Riley 2). Assists – Webb 9 (Williams 3), E. Alamance 8 (Robinson 4). Steals – Webb 2 (Cates, Bryan Smith), E. Alamance 8 (Robinson 3). Turnovers – Webb 18 (Terry 7), E. Alamance 9 (Summers 4).
Records—Oxford Webb 25-5, Eastern Alamance 25-6.
ROCKY MOUNT AT A GLANCE
NCHSAA regional seed – No. 1
Nickname — Gryphons
Record — 26-2
Scoring leaders — Dante Battle (6-5, C, JR) 18.8; Michael Gainey Jr. (6-4, G, SR) 12.1; Michael Hines (6-2, G, SR) 7.9; Mason Hines (5-10, G, SR) 6.2; Broderick Caudle (5-11, G, SO) 6.2.
Rebound leaders — Battle 10.1; Jaquell Bryant (6-7, C, JR) 6.1; Immanuel King (6-6, F, JR) 5.3; Gainey 5.3; Mason Hines 3.1
Assist leaders — Mason Hines 5.9; Gainey 2.2; Michael Hines 2.2; Battle 1.4; Caudle 1.4.
Honors — Battle, Big East 3-A Conference player of the year; Mason Hines, all-Big East; Gainey, all-Big East; Michael Hines, all-Big East honorable mention.
Last game – Defeated No. 3 seed Vanceboro West Craven 62-50 Friday in NCHSAA 3-A East Region semifinal.
NOTES — Gryphon big man Battle’s game is eerily reminiscent of former Duke great Elton Brand. He’s got soft hands and a variety of creative, soft-touch shots he takes in the low post. He’s also an extremely effective rebounder, a wide body who knows how to use it … The Hines brothers, guards Michael and Mason, apply effective ball pressure on defense and ably feed the Gryphons’ array of big men down low.