CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No. 1 Martinsburg saw most of a 17-point lead evaporate as it made just one field goal during the last 13 minutes. But then the Bulldogs made a defensive play that salvaged the Class AAA state title.
After Beckley-Woodrow Wilson rallied to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, Jordan Robinson stole a pass and fed Jalen Lewis for a momentum-breaking layup that helped Martinsburg hang on for a 57-52 victory.
The Bulldogs (26-2), who became the third top seed to win Saturday, were led by Donte Grantham’s game-high 20 points and 17 rebounds.
“I love my team, and I’ll remember this forever,” said Grantham, a major-college prospect who plans to announce his college choice by early May.
Lewis added 13 points including 5-of-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, almost everyone of hem crucial as second-seeded Woodrow Wilson (23-5) tightened the game late.
“Our kids could have folded the tent, but they made a run at them there at the end,” said Woodrow Wilson coach Ron Kidd. “This is a scrappy ballclub and they scrapped until the end.”
With 42 seconds left and Martinsburg leading 52-49, Lewis missed his second free throw. Beckley’s Brent Osborne rebounded the ball and fired an outlet pass up the right sideline, which Robinson intercepted and dished back to Lewis for the basket. That was the Bulldogs’ first field goal since the 3:13 mark of the third quarter, and only field goal they attempted in the fourth.
“You had No. 1 and No. 2 going at each other, and Beckley got here because they’re a great basketball team,” said Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers. “Absolutely, we knew they’d make a run.”
Martinsburg built a 45-28 lead in the third period before the Flying Eagles countered with a 21-6 run to pull within two points.
“We knew they were going to make a run, we did a great job of contesting their shots and rebounding at the start,” Rogers said. “At some point their shots were going to fall, but we withstood the run and came out on top.”
Woodrow Wilson was paced by its lone senior, Andrew Johnson, who scored 19 points and led the charge on defense by absorbing three charges during the comeback.
“They were whipping our butts in the first half, because we weren’t matching their intensity,” Johnson said. “I didn’t want to go out like that, so I fought hard until the end.”
Freshman Nequan Carrington added 12 points and eight rebounds.
“As a freshman in this game I’m sure he didn’t know the whole magnitude behind everything,” Kidd said. “But he played tough on (Grantham).”
The Class AAA all-tournament team included Grantham, Eugene German and Lewis of Martinsburg; Johnson, Carrington and Donte Nabors of Woodrow Wilson; and Keldon Bell and Dominique Newman of Washington.