The West Springfield boys’ basketball team had a four-point lead and possession with 22.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of its 6A North region tournament semifinal matchup against Westfield but couldn’t knock off the defending champion.
Westfield guard Blake Francis scored five points in the final 12.7 seconds to help force overtime, where the Bulldogs pulled out a 67-61 victory on Friday night at Robinson Secondary School.
Westfield earned a trip to its second straight region final and will take on Battlefield at 8 p.m. tonight at Robinson. The Bulldogs defeated Woodson in last year’s region championship game and went on to finish state runner-up.
With the score tied in overtime, Westfield guard Nick Albert buried a 3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining, and Francis came up with a steal and layup with 1:08 on the clock, putting the Bulldogs ahead, 63-58. Westfield led by at least four points for the remainder of the contest.
Westfield’s Tyler Scanlon led all scorers with 22 points. Hank Johnson scored 15 points, Francis finished with 14, Albert had nine and Joe Katchmark added seven.
West Springfield had a chance to put the game away in regulation but struggled from the free-throw line, making 1 of 5 attempts in the final 21.9 seconds.
After Francis knocked down a pair from the line to give Westfield a 55-54 lead with 5.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, West Springfield guard Andrew Storr threw an inbound pass the length of the court to guard Spencer Askew, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds on the clock. Askew made 1 of 2, sending the game to overtime.
West Springfield led by eight early in the fourth quarter when a free throw by guard Riley Welch gave the Spartans a 51-43 advantage with 5:51 remaining.
West Springfield led by as many as 13 in the first half, when an Askew jumper gave the Spartans a 28-15 advantage.
Westfield closed the first half on a 9-1 run, including six straight points by Francis, to pull within four at 31-27. Francis scored his first points with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Storr led West Springfield with 13 points. Askew finished with 12 points, 6-foot-9 senior Lewis Djonkam had 10 points, Welch scored nine and Brock Vaughn added eight.
Djonkam fouled out with 42.8 seconds remaining in regulation and West Springfield leading 53-48.
Westfield will now face Battlefield in the region championship game. The two teams met during the regular season, with the Bulldogs winning 80-63 on Dec. 21.
West Springfield will face West Potomac in the third-place game at 4 p.m. today at Robinson. The Conference 7 foes have me three times this season, with the Wolverines winning twice. West Potomac defeated West Springfield in the conference tournament championship game 61-57 on Feb. 21.
West Potomac Falls to Battlefield
West Potomac’s deepest postseason run since 1998 won’t include a region title after the Wolverines lost to Battlefield 82-70 in the 6A North region semifinals on Friday at Robinson Secondary School.
West Potomac led 33-30 at halftime, but Battlefield pulled away in the second half, leading by as many as 17, when a pair of free throws by Shonari Street gave the Bobcats 66-49 advantage with 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Battlefield outscored West Potomac 24-14 in the third quarter, including a 10-0 run that helped the Bobcats start to separate from the Wolverines.
Battlefield’s defense led to several West Potomac turnovers, and the Bobcats were able to rebound with the Wolverines.
“[Battlefield] played strong defensively,” West Potomac head coach David Houston III said. “We didn’t handle the ball very well, but it was not just us. I give them credit. They doubled [guard] Khalil [Williams Diggins], really [defended] us hard and we just mishandled the ball a couple times and it turned right into laypus for them. … In the end, the difference was the turnovers that turned directly into points.”
Blake Pagon led Battlefield with 23 points. Brayden Gault finished with 22 points, Jarrett Glover scored 12 and Street added 10.
Freshman guard Daryl Mackey Jr. led West Potomac with 21 points. Jamie Sara and Da’Jon Bellfield each scored 14.
Battlefield will take on Westfield in the 6A North region tournament championship game at 8 p.m. tonight. West Potomac will face West Springfield in the third-place game.
“It’s not our first loss of the season … and we’ve always come back really strong,” Houston said. “I don’t see this as an issue coming tomorrow ready to play.”