CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Class AA No. 6 Winfield won its first boys basketball state tournament game since 2007 on Wednesday, opening up this year’s tournament with a 68-65 upset win over No. 3 Westside.
“Our kids did a great job with the scouting report,” said Winfield coach Chris Stephens. “We hadn’t gone zone hardly all year, but we did go to it there in the fourth quarter to keep them from penetrating.
“We had a couple keys to the game – one was rebounding and one was fast break and transition,” he continued. “We won both of those battles, so that helped us win the game.”
Braeden McGrew, who scored just one point in the first half, took control in the second half distributing the basketball, finishing with 16 points and 12 assists. He went 10 of 12 from the free throw line as well.
The 12 individual assists were two shy of the overall state tournament record of 14 for a single game, set back in 1989.
“Teams have not been able to pressure us very much because (McGrew) he can do so much with the ball and dribble through,” Stephens said. “He’s very good in transition – his 12 assists were crucial. He had a huge second half.”
It was Westside (20-6) that opened the game with a 7-0 lead, but Winfield (19-7) quickly answered with a 9-1 run to take the lead.
“We had three quarters left to play, plus the rest of that first quarter,” McGrew said of the early deficit. “I’m just trying to be a positive, good leader the whole game and make sure (my teammates) are never worried. It’s on me.”
Winfield trailed at the half, 32-29, but a 10-0 run in the second half put the Generals back on top 47-41 early in the fourth quarter.
A layup-and-one from Andrew Huff extended that lead out to 54-46 with 5:01 remaining.
Westside, though, rallied to close its deficit to 58-55 with 3:31 to go. McGrew answered by sparking a 6-0 Winfield run with back-to-back behind-the-back assists in transition.
“I was just reacting, really – I wasn’t really planning it,” McGrew said. “That stretch was really clutch and very crucial in winning.”
Winfield won the rebounding battle 39-32 as six players had at least three rebounds in the game – Huff finished with seven rebounds to go along with 12 points.
“It was just hard work (inside),” Huff said. “They have some pretty big kids in Corey Hatfield (6-foot-6) – he was tough and tall, but I just tried to get under him and shove him out of the way.”
Christian Frye also finished in double-figures for Winfield, scoring 13 points and hitting three 3s. The Generals went 8 of 17 from 3 and shot 46 percent from the floor overall.
Shane Jenkins scored 18 points to lead Westside, while Hatfield added 13 points and Jacob Ellis scored 10 points.
Hatfield had an open 3 at the end of regulation to tie the game, but it was just off.
“If felt good coming off,” Hatfield said. “I thought it was going in. It’s really tough – it was our last year together and for most of us, playing ball all-together.”
Winfield moves on to face Chapmanville Regional or Bridgeport in the semifinals on Friday at 9:30 a.m.