RACELAND West Carter made sure the third time was the charm with “A” sizzling second-half performance.
Braden Leadingham also supplied a triple-double effort on Monday night to help the Comets catapult into the 16th Region All “A” championship game with a 75-65 victory over Bath County at Raceland-Worthington High School.
The junior stocked the stat sheet with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead a quartet of double-digit scorers and spark the West Carter comeback in the final two quarters.
The Comets switched defenses during the contest but coach Jeremy Webb felt his team’s energy level increased out of the locker room after intermission.
“We changed up our defense because they were so comfortable shooting the basketball,” Webb said. “We tried to mix up our zones in the first half and none of them were working. ... We came out in the second half and we had to pick up the intensty and energy. We started to pressure them a little bit. We didn’t turn them over as much as we sped them up.”
The Wildcats connected on 13 3-pointers but had difficulty finding the same success in the third quarter that it did earlier in the game. West Carter outscored Bath County 27-13 in the frame.
“Coach Webb does a really good job and he has a great team,” Wildcats coach Bart Williams said. “He’s got big, strong kids. They are aggressive and they have some size. They made some adjustments and came out in the second half and busted us in the mouth a little bit. I like our personnel against their personnel if we can be as tough as them. For a half we were, but we also made shots in the first half.”
As the Comets turned up the heat defensively, the team started to scorch the nets in the second half. West Carter (8-6) shot a blistering 70.8% in the second 16 minutes as it erased a five-point halftime deficit.
“It engaged our guys,” Webb said. “We got a couple of missed shots and once we have Braden rebounding the basketball and we got running through the offense, we started playing much better.
“When you have Braden with a triple-double and you have 23 assists for the team, it shows how well we moved the basketball.”
Tyson Webb matched Leadingham with a team-high 17 points. Dominick Dean added 14 and Trace Tackett connected on three treys and finished with 13.
Trevor Callahan contributed nine points.
“I don’t remember too many forced shots,” Webb said. “Everyone was doing what they needed to do offensively.”
Three straight triples from Evan Lyons gave Bath County (9-9) a 26-22 lead early in the second half and the Wildcats carried a 35-30 halftime advantage. Jacob Patton had a game-high 20 points. Zach Otis splashed in four from beyond the arc and recorded 16. Brooks Williams tallied 11.
“We have a good perimeter-shooting team,” Williams said. “We probably hurried it a bit in the second half. They were up in us and pushing us a bit. They were being more aggressive with us. ... It was a physical game and I think that favored them.”
The Comets vaulted past the Wildcats roadblock on their way to the championship game after Bath County defeated them in the same round the last two seasons.
It provided extra motivation.
“We definitely talked about it,” Webb said. “For two years in a row, they have beat us out. Coach Williams does a great job preparing his team just like he did tonight. We wanted to make sure that we were ready to play. They made some shots in the first half to counter that. But we kept working and did what we do best in the second half.”
West Carter will meet tonight’s Raceland-Elliott County winner in Thursday’s final.
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BATH CO. FG FT REB TP
Williams 3-14 2-2 1 11
Hunt 1-2 0-0 0 3
Leach 2-5 0-0 6 6
Otis 6-12 0-3 3 16
Patton 7-11 6-11 9 20
Lyons 3-4 0-0 2 9
Grigsby 0-0 0-0 2 0
TOTALS 22-48 8-16 26 65
FG Pct: 45.8. FT Pct:: 50.0. 3-point FGs: 13-24 (Williams 3-9, Hunt 1-1, Leach 2-6, Otis 4-4, Lyons 3-4) PF: 17. Fouled out: Leach. Turnovers: 13.
W. CARTER FG FT REB TP
Webb 6-13 3-3 5 17
Callahan 4-5 1-2 3 9
B. Leadingham 8-12 1-4 11 17
Tackett 5-9 0-0 4 13
Dean 7-9 0-0 1 14
Bond 0-0 0-0 1 0
Jordan 1-2 3-4 1 5
Wilburn 0-1 0-0 0 0
TOTALS 31-51 8-13 31 75
FG PCT: 60.8. FT Pct.: 61.5. 3-Point FGs: 5-12 (Webb 2-4, Jordan 0-1, Leadingham 0-1, Wilburn 0-1, Tackett 3-5) PF: 15. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 9.
BATH CO. 17 18 13 17 — 65
W. CARTER 20 10 27 18 — 75
Officials: Kenny Kegley, Maurio McKissick, Laine Hughes.