Reagan boys shock Southwest, 63-59
Long after his players had departed, Guy Shavers sat on the floor in the wrestling room – life calls for rooms with padded walls sometimes – and contemplated the various aspects of Southwest Guilford’s defeat.
He wished the referees had called more fouls on Reagan’s aggressive perimeter defense. He wished his team would have handled the last three minutes a little differently. He wished this magical season could have lasted a little longer, at least until reaching the regionals in the Greensboro Coliseum.
“Twenty-seven times this year, somebody else has gone home disappointed from this locker room,” Shavers said. “It’s a tough way to go, but I could not be more proud of my team.”
The Cowboys, seeded No. 1 in the NCHSAA 4-A Midwest bracket and 27-0 entering Wednesday night’s home game, fell 63-59 to No. 9 Reagan. The Raiders (21-5) advanced to a third-round date Friday at No. 4 Greensboro Dudley (22-6).
“I have nobody to blame but Reagan,” Shavers managed to say with a laugh. “Their style of play affected our style of play. We couldn’t run. We couldn’t get to the basket.”
Neither team gained control at any point and the outcome remained in doubt until Reagan’s Evan Peatross drained two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining for the four-point lead. Terrell Leach, Southwest’s senior star, found the rim on a half-court shot at the buzzer that would only have made the final margin that much more painful.
Leach’s step-back 3 with two Raiders in his face to beat the third-quarter buzzer brought Southwest’s fans to their feet in the packed gym. Reagan’s offense had struggled all night with miss after miss at the rim – the Raiders shot 3-for-16 in the second quarter alone – before Matt Edwards and Peatross caught fire in the third.
Edwards scored 11 points and Peatross had eight to build a six-point lead, but Leach’s 3 pulled Southwest to within 45-44 entering the fourth. Reagan led by as many as five points in the final period before Leach drained another 3 and K.J. Langley hit one to make it 55-54 midway through the period.
Leach tied it with a fastbreak layup that split the defense and Ben Ferguson’s 3-pointer gave the Cowboys a 59-56 advantage with 2:10 to go. But Southwest would not score again, missing on a drive blocked underneath by Jake Hobson and a well-defended 3-point try from Leach.
Reagan had gone up 60-59 with 48 seconds left on Hobson’s baseline layup and made it 61-59 when Darriel Brown Jr. hit one of two foul shots seconds later.
Leach finished with 20 points to lead all scorers: 16 of them came in the second half, as Leach played sparingly in the first half thanks to a pair of quick fouls.
“He’s too good of a player not to (start scoring),” Raiders coach Howard West said of Leach. “We kept changing people to keep fresh legs on him.”
Ferguson added 12 points for the Cowboys and Langley had eight. D.J. Chamblee, Tyliek Brister and Dequan Bethea each scored six for Southwest. Peatross and Edwards led Reagan with 13 apiece.
“This was a big step for our program,” Shavers said of the impressive season. “Our community supported us. I couldn’t be more proud of my guys.”