BELL BUCKLE — Being battle-tested throughout the regular season can prove to be beneficial for a team once the postseason rolls around, and that was true for the Webb Feet on Wednesday night in …
BELL BUCKLE — Being battle-tested throughout the regular season can prove to be beneficial for a team once the postseason rolls around, and that was true for the Webb Feet on Wednesday night in the opening round of the TSSAA Division-II A State Tournament.
After entering halftime down 30-28 against Boyd-Buchanan, the Feet (21-11) battled back to take a seven point lead early in the third quarter and outlasted the Buccaneers (25-8) in the end for a 56-51 victory and a spot in the state quarterfinals.
“We’ve experienced these types of games all year long, and have been in those situations where we have to battle back for the win,” Webb head coach Micah Williams said. “Our guys didn’t panic because of that experience. They’ve shown a lot of maturity all year long and stepped up to make big plays.”
Webb tied the game at 30-30 in the first minute of the third quarter when Hector Larsson found an opening in the paint for a layup, and Eli Brown followed it up with a three-pointer and a layup of his own for a 7-0 run to force a Boyd timeout at the five minute and 19 second mark.
Less than a minute later, Taveon Comage knocked down a mid range jump shot to take a 37-30 lead.
But Boyd answered back with a big run of their own to take a 38-37 lead with under two minutes remaining in the quarter before Webb closed it out with a 43-41 advantage.
It was a back-and-forth contest for the majority of the final frame with both squads trading baskets and the lead a couple times until the final three minutes of the contest when Jax Howard was fouled on a made basket and knocked down the ensuing free throw for an old-fashioned three point play and a 48-47 lead.
On the following possession, the Feet forced a turnover and pushed the ball up the floor in transition to Stephen Olowoniyi for an emphatic dunk and another three-point play as he was fouled on his way up.
With a four-point lead in hand, Webb fended off the Buccaneers over the remaining two minutes to secure the victory in front of their home crowd.
Olowoniyi scored a team-high 19 points for the Feet with 12 coming in the first half and reached the career milestone of 1000 points with his efforts.
The senior big man has been with the Feet for the last three years with Williams being at the helm for the last two.
“We were without our leading scorer in Arnett Hayes, so we wanted to go through Stephen a lot more offensively tonight,” Williams said. “He’s going to draw a lot of attention, so we told everyone else to be ready to make a play when we needed it.”
“It’s extremely hard to score that many points in high school, and no one is more deserving. He works extremely hard, and loves getting better. Just as an overall player, he’s done a tremendous job of being a gym rat and continuing to get better.”
Much of the Feet’s success in the second half came on the defensive end as they were able to hold Boyd-Buchanan’s Caden Johnson to only three points after he dropped in 18 in the first half. TComage and Eli Brown handled the assignment of picking up Johnson and the Buccaneers’ guards for the full-length of the court to force the ball out of their hands throughout the final two quarters.
“We focused on our attention to detail defensively to try and make it tough on them in the second half,” Williams said. “I felt like we gave them too many open looks in the first half. He (Johnson) made some tough shots, but our guys did a really good job of taking him away the rest of the game.”
Next on the docket for the Feet is a trip to Memphis to take on the Lausanne Collegiate Lynx in the quarterfinals of the state tournament with a win securing them a spot in the semifinals at Tennessee Tech.
“Lausanne likes to get up and down the floor and play in transition, so we’re going to try to replicate that in practice,” Williams said. “We’ve seen a little bit of everything this season, so we just have to come out and execute the game plan.”
Webb 15 13 15 13 – 56
Boyd 11 19 11 10 – 51
Webb: Stephen Olowoniyi 19, Eli Brown 10, Taveon Comage 10, Joel Wyatt 6, Jax Howard 5, Hector Larsson 4, Justin Burrow 2.
Boyd: Caden Johnson 21, Jacob Shockloy 12, Ryan Lopez 11, Jaylon Moore 5, Eli Gardenhire 2.
3-point goals: Boyd (6): Johnson 3, Lopez 3.; Webb (3): Brown 2, Comage.
Halftime score: Boyd 30, Webb 28