Warriors take down No. 1 Chapel Hill to clinch regional berth
J.F. Webb wasn’t worried. The Warriors just needed a little wake-up call.
Webb went down 27-14 to top-seeded Chapel Hill in the second quarter of Friday’s third-round 3-A state playoff match before outscoring the Tigers 43-14 to finish the game.
The 57-41 win advances the fourth-seeded Warriors (24-5) to the two-day 3-A Eastern Regional.
Mitron Terry led Webb with 25 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t worried,” Terry said of the deficit. “We just knew we had to wake up.”
Isaiah Hicks finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks for the Warriors, who face No. 3 Eastern Alamance (25-5) Friday in Fayetteville.
“Just keep on going,” Hicks said of the team’s mindset entering regionals. “Play hard. Just win.”
Webb led 36-34 entering the fourth quarter and outscored Chapel Hill 21-7 in the final frame.
A sizeable contingent of Warrior fans spilled onto the floor to celebrate with the team when the clock struck zeros.
“I think it was more Oxford here than Chapel Hill today,” Hicks said of the crowd.
Hicks landed a dunk to get Webb within a point to start the second half after the Warriors finished the first half on a 14-0 run.
Finishes at the rim have been tough for Hicks to come by against Chapel Hill’s stingy defense.
“He hadn’t had a dunk in our losses against Chapel Hill,” said Webb coach Leo Brunelli. “Not that it’s a stat that matters, but I’m a hell of a lot better coach when he’s dunking.”
Hicks found another opening midway through the third, slamming home a Terry pass out of a sideline out-of-bounds play to ignite the Oxford faithful who helped pack a sweltering Chapel Hill gym.
“Once I did that, that’s when we went on our run,” said Hicks.
Webb avenged last week’s 47-42 loss to Chapel Hill (24-5) in the Carolina Conference Tournament. The Warriors also knocked the Tigers out of the second round of the state playoffs last season before falling at Fayetteville Westover in Round 3.
Webb and Chapel Hill split in eight meetings the past two seasons. The Tigers had won two straight, both at home.
“Chapel Hill is a great team,” said Brunelli. “We’re a great team. This has been four great battles.”
Devonte Williams had 10 points for Webb. Tyrek Beverly added a big fourth-quarter 3-pointer and Stefan Cates chipped in with two points
Terry played at an unrelenting pace for Webb, driving right at the Tiger defense. He scored 15 of his 25 at the free throw line, where the Warriors shot 22-of-28.
“He has the chance to take over anytime he wants to and go to the rim,” said Brunelli. “He’s pretty special.”
Brunelli said this is the farthest Webb has advanced since the Taron Downey era. The Warriors are two wins away from the state final.
“It means a lot,” said Terry. “Like Coach said, we’re not going to stop until we go to the state championship.”
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