Webb falls to Orange on Senior Night

Feb. 12, 2014 @ 01:33 PM

The first half of Monday’s battle between J.F. Webb and Orange had all the makings of a 3-A Big Eight Conference classic.

Webb had an early lead before Orange took a three-point advantage into halftime after a fast, physical opening 16 minutes.

Then Orange sharpshooter Keegan Crabtree and point guard Eryk Brandon-Dean took over. Crabtree nailed four 3s in the third quarter as the Panthers used a 22-3 run to bury the Warriors.

The 87-68 Senior Night loss dropped Webb to 4-9 in the league and 9-14 overall as the reigning 3-A state champion Warriors continue to scrap for a playoff spot.

Webb head coach Leo Brunelli thinks this team can still get in. The Warriors were tied for fifth in the league entering Monday.

“I think we do,” Brunelli said of having a shot at the playoffs. “I’m just really disappointed. It hurts putting all that effort in.”

Crabtree finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds for Orange on 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point range. Brandon-Dean had 17 points, seven assists and no turnovers.

Crabtree, a 6-foot-5 senior, sank each of his 3s in the second and third quarters.

“We didn’t close out very well,” said Brunelli. “Every loose ball, tip, extra hustle play they got and fed it to him and we were standing there watching him shoot.”

“They’re a very good team," Brunelli added. "They play well. They pass the ball. They have one main shooter. Everyone in the state knows who he is.”

The Panthers (19-4, 11-2 Big Eight) were in a three-way tie for first place in the conference entering Monday.

Brandon-Dean led Orange’s fast-paced assault, swiftly moving the ball up the floor as the Panthers capitalized on a number of Webb turnovers.

Tay Jones and J.D. Brooks also scored in double figures for Orange.

Seniors Stefan Cates and Tyrek Beverly were the only Warriors to score in double figures. Cates, who reached 1,000 career points last week, had 28 points and Beverly finished with 18.

Nykwanza Henderson, Desedric Downey, Tony Bowden, Beau Smith, and Tobiah Lewis round out Webb’s senior class.

“I hate it for them,” Brunelli said of the loss. “They only get one Senior Night, one shot.”

Cates is a four-year varsity player and joins UNC freshman Isaiah Hicks and Antwan Thorpe as the only players in Brunelli’s tenure at Webb to score 1,000 points.

“He had a great four-year career,” said Brunelli. “He can look back at this when everything is said and done and know that his four years — 1,000-point club, to join Isaiah and Antwan since I’ve been here — that’s pretty special.”

Webb visits Northern Vance on Friday.