Hicks, Webb pull away from Rockets
The “Battle of Brothers I” went to Oxford Webb in a 90-73 knockout of Roxboro Person on Friday with a standing room-only crowd of some 1,400 at ringside.
The “Battle of Brothers II” is set for Friday night in Roxboro where another sellout crowd is anticipated.
Senior stars Isaiah Hicks of Webb and Tyrone Outlaw Jr. of Person, meeting head-to-head for the first time as established stars, did the heavy hitting as expected.
Hicks, a 6-9 North Carolina signee and one of the top high school talents in the nation, did his part with 26 points, 10 rebounds, eight blocked shots, four steals and a pair of assists.
“You can’t simulate an Isaiah Hicks in practice,” Person coach Charles Dacus said.
Outlaw, a 6-5 guard/forward and UNC Greensboro signee, wound up with 29 points, but 21 of those came in the second half after Webb had established its domination. Outlaw also had a team-high nine rebounds, but his efforts couldn’t offset a dismal night by the Rockets.
Hicks and Outlaw faced each other as varsity newcomers three years ago as freshmen. But Hicks transferred to a private school as a sophomore and missed most of the 2011-12 after returning to Webb, as questions about his residency forced him to miss both games against Person.
In the summers, the pair play together on the same AAU team.
“We’re real close; like brothers,” Hicks said as he prepared to text Outlaw after the game.
Webb’s full-court pressure defense forced seven Person turnovers in the first 2:30 of the game.
“Really? Wow,” Webb coach Leo Brunelli said.
The Rockets turned the ball over 20 times while Webb had 16, but the Warriors’ 17 steals in the first three quarters set the tone.
Back-to-back steals by Hicks were followed by a Hicks layup and dunk on Person’s first two possessions. The Warriors extended their lead to 15-4 on a pair of 3-pointers by Stefan Cates and Hicks.
Tyrek Beverly, Mitron Terry and Devonte Williams added 3-pointers before the period was over to give Webb a 27-18 lead.
“You press like that and the game gets sped up,” Dacus said of the early Webb defensive onslaught. “We weren’t ready for it. It kept us from getting good shots, too. ... The speed of the game was too much for us.
“By the time we’d gotten a taste of it, we started to take advantage of it a bit, but they’re willing to give up a few layups. That’s the price of the pressure, and they kept it up.”
The rain of 3-pointers, the play of Hicks (17 points, six rebounds, six blocks by halftime) and Person’s turnovers were just too much as Webb led by 21 at the half and extended the lead to 31 points twice in the third quarter before dialing down the offensive intensity.
Webb wound up hitting nine 3-pointers — four by Stefan Cates (22 points) — to four by Person. The Rockets didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until Outlaw found the range midway through the third quarter.
That was it from the arc until David Lamb, Trey Trapp and Derrick Bass connected on three of Person’s last four buckets of the game with the starters on the bench.
“We’re really starting to get in the passing lanes and get an understanding of what we want to do,” Brunelli said of the Warriors’ defense.
When asked about the domination of Hicks, he could only shake his head and smile.
“As coaches, we do so much that it’s hard to enjoy our job,” Brunelli said. “But Isaiah’s a better person than he is a player, if that’s possible. I’m going to enjoy ... this year.”
The huge crowd — estimates were that up to several hundred fans may have been turned away at the door — was a delight to Brunelli.
“This is what high school basketball is all about,” he said. “Two teams from close-knit communities that really care about them, the fans show up, they’re really into it, but in a good way, no garbage going on.”
Webb 90, Person 73
PERSON — JaShawn King 2, David Lamb 5, Marquis Torain 7, Trey Trapp 4, Derrick Bass 3, Jeffery Hamlett 6, Logan Coats 1, Joseph Downey 2, LeRon Cash 2, Jerry Smith 12, Tyrone Outlaw Jr. 29.
WEBB — Bryan Smith 11, Devonte Williams 7, Isaiah Hicks 26, Mitron Terry 14, Stefan Cates 22, Tyrek Beverly 10.
3-point FGs—Person 4 (4 with 1), Webb 9 (Cates 4). Rebounds—Person 36 (Outlaw 9), Webb 34 (Hicks 10). Assists—Person 10 (Marquis Torain 4), Webb 12 (Beverly 3, Williams 3). Steals—Person 3, Webb 7 (Hicks 4). Blocks—Person 2 (Bass 1, Cash 1), Webb 10 (Hicks 8). Turnovers—Person 20 (Coats 6), Webb 16 (Hicks 4).
Records—Person 5-1, Webb 5-0.