3-A SEMIS: No. 1 Orange boys advance to Final Four
West Brunswick’s players didn’t bother with any of those fancy handshakes and salutes that guys do when starting lineups are introduced.
The Trojans kept it simple and plain.
No. 1-seeded Orange had more flair, both in the introductions and after the ball was tipped, throwing down dunks and offering some pizzazz in a 69-56 win in the East Regional 3-A boys’ basketball semifinals at Crown Coliseum here late Wednesday.
“We like to get up and down and just get transition,” Orange guard Jawan Chambers said.
Chambers led all scorers with 18 points.
The win earned Orange a spot in Saturday’s 3-A East Region championship game, putting the Panthers 32 minutes closer to playing for a state championship March 15.
The Panthers shot 56.7 percent from the field in the first half and took a 37-22 lead into their locker room at halftime.
The Trojans regrouped.
“We slowed the game down more in the second half than in the first half,” West Brunswick’s Otis Hill said. “We needed to play our style of basketball instead of getting up and down. That’s what they wanted us to do.”
The Trojans really attacked the rim in the second half, Orange coach Greg Motley said.
“They were driving it hard,” Motley said.
Orange gave West Brunswick too many second-chance opportunities on offense. The Trojans beat the Panthers on the boards by a 42-19 margin, and 24 of West Brunswick’s rebounds came off the offensive glass.
Motley told his players that West Brunswick wasn’t going to lie down in the second half. No team still playing at this point in the season is just going to wither in the corner after getting punched in the mouth, he said.
“We knew they were going to come back,” Motley said.
In the third quarter, West Brunswick’s Saadiq Johnson hit a 3-pointer that made it a 49-41 game, Orange still on top.
On West Brunswick’s next possession, Johnson was fouled while shooting a 3 and made 2 of 3 free throws to make it a 49-43 game.
That’s where the score stood when the fourth quarter started.
Early in the fourth quarter, an Alex Clarida layup got West Brunswick within three points of Orange.
West Brunswick’s Gray Cheers threw up an air ball, but Clarida was in the right place to retrieve it for a point-blank layup.
The Trojans had sliced Orange’s lead to 49-47.
Motley needed a timeout to settle his guys.
Orange began to get to the foul line. The Panthers made 1 of 2 free throws in the first half but hit 18 from the charity stripe in the final 16 minutes.
Brooks, who was a very good free safety on Orange’s football team, showed his active hands and good timing by blocking three shots in the second half.
Brooks and Orange guard Eryk Brandon-Dean each scored 16 points.
ORANGE 69, W. BRUNSWICK 56
NCHSAA 3-A East Region Semifinal
at Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville
West Brunswick 10 12 21 13 — 56
Orange 18 19 12 20 — 69
WEST BRUNSWICK — Alex Clarida 6, Zarie Hankins 11, Otis Hill 2, Gray Cheers 9, Antonio Clarida 8, DeMaria Evans 6, Saadiq Johnson 8, Tyquan Hill 2, Sherman Fullwood 3, Jon Jordan 1
ORANGE — Eryk Brandon-Dean 16, A.J. Bradsher 3, Tay Jones 6, Keegan Crabtree 10, Jawan Chambers 18, J.D. Brooks 18.
3-point FG — WB 1-9 (Johnson 1-3); Orange 3-9 (Bradsher 1-2, Crabtree 1-3, Chambers 1-4). Rebounds — WB 42 (Hankins 6), Orange 19 (Brooks 5). Assists — WB 6 (Evans 2); Orange 22 (Brandon-Dean 8). Turnovers — WB 21 (Al. Clarida 4, Hill 4); Orange 16 (Crabtree 7). Blocks — WB 2 (An. Clarida 2); Orange 3 (Brooks 3).
Records — West Brunswick 20-8, Orange 26-5.