By ZACH SMITH, Hill Country News
Greg Brown III’s potential game-tying 3-pointer bounced off the top of the basket and hit a support beam before being ruled no good, and Westwood finally cracked the Vandegrift code on Tuesday night in front of a capacity crowd of some 2,000 at Vandegrift.
After losing to the Vipers on three previous occasions this season, the fourth time was the charm for the Warriors, who toughed out a 42-39 win against the Vipers in the regional quarterfinals to reach the region tournament for the first time in more than two decades.
Brown scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Jake Hatch was the team’s next highest scorer with five points.
“Storybook season comes to an end as the Vipers bow out with a loss to Westwood 39-42,” Tweeted Cliff Ellis, VHS basketball head coach. “Vipers finish with a historic 33-3 record on the season. So proud of this team.”
With a gym packed to the rafters, and a couple hundred more people waiting outside unable to get in, Vandegrift opened the game on March 3 on a 7-0 run. The Vipers went on scoring drought for nearly eight minutes between the first and second quarters and held a four-point lead at the break.
Westwood made three straight 3-pointers to start the third quarter and started the half on an 11-0 run.
Brown scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and hit a deep 3-pointer to pull the Vipers to within a point with 35 seconds left.
“We wanted to take charges on Greg and not let them and keep him in front of us and not let him shoot all the time,” said Brandon Parks, Westwood senior guard.
Christian Robinson led Westwood with 10 points, while Parks finished with nine points – including a pair of key-fourth quarter free throws.
“We knew we could play with them, it was just a matter of seeing it on the scoreboard at the end,” Westwood head coach Brad Hastings said.
Westwood will face off against District 10-6A champion Wylie in the regional semifinals March 6 at the Davis Field House in Dallas. The winner of that game will meet either Ellison or Klein in the regional finals on Saturday.