Brantley boys survive in overtime
Wesley Person Jr. missed a shot at the end of regulation that would have put Brantley in the state championship game, but with another chance to secure the game in overtime, he hit two free throws to give Brantley a 49-47 win.
Ragland outscored Brantley 15-8 in the fourth quarter to force a tie game, and Person took a shot that bounced off the rim as time expired.
“At the end of the game, when it’s time to hit a shot, coach always wants to put the ball in my hands,” Person said.
Person stepped up in overtime, hitting a layup and free throw for an old-fashioned three pointer, and then four straight free throws to end the game.
“They picked up the defense in overtime, and I was lucky to get to the basket and get some points,” he said.
The last two foul shots came with two seconds on the clock and the game tied at 47.
“Good teams are going to make runs, and that’s what Ragland did,” said Taylor Driggers. “We controlled that run and were able to win.”
“I want to tip my hat to Ragland,” said head coach Andrew Kilcrease. “They played a great basketball game and did a good job. They got after us.”
Neither team burned up the nets in the first half, and Brantley only led 7-0 after one quarter and 20-9 at halftime.
Person led the team with 25 points, and Driggers had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“No doubt this is the best game Taylor has played for us,” Kilcrease said.
Driggers said he felt like the team needed a spark in the second half.
“When they made that run, it was demoralizing. What I felt like I needed to do was come in, play big minutes, rebound and get after it on defense. That’s how I feel like I can contribute to this team,” Driggers said.
Before taking on the Purple Devils in Birmingham, the Bulldogs had to face area rival J.F. Shields in the regional final in Dothan.
Brantley made short work of the Panthers, winning 63-30.
Person had 25 points to lead Brantley, and O.J. Guice added 14.
The Bulldogs led 20-6 after the first quarter and never looked back.
The Brantley girls had already secured a spot in the Final Four, and Guice said that the boys wanted to make sure they “didn’t get left in Brantley.”
Brantley also had to face a tough Linden team in the first game of the regionals.
The Patriots and the Bulldogs were evenly matched, but Brantley earned a 55-51 win.
Person had 31 points in that game and Guice had 10.
Brantley will play St. Jude on Friday at 3 p.m. in Birmingham for the state championship.