The Westover Christian Academy’s jayvee boys basketball team advanced to the championship round of the of Saturday’s Virginia Association of Christian Athletics jayvee tournament after 60-38 win Thursday.
The team took the long trip up to Staunton on Thursday afternoon to take on the Warriors of Grace Christian School in the semifinal round of the VACA JV tournament.
The two teams appeared evenly matched on paper heading into the contest.
Early on the Warriors couldn’t miss as the Bulldogs came out too hyped up and allowed the Warriors to build a nine-point lead in the first quarter and ultimately trailed 19-12 heading into the second quarter.
Sloppy ball handling, lazy passes and passive defense, all contributed to the early deficit faced by Westover.
Westover worked through these early bumps and changed defenses and personnel often attempting to find the right mix of players to begin the comeback. Dallas Wheeler hit a 3-pointer to cut into the Warrior lead and help pull us closer. A late steal and layup by Tyler Hughes pulled the Bulldogs to within just four at 27-23.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the two teams trading baskets before the Bulldogs finally hit on the lineup that blew the game open. WCA trailed 35-34 heading into the final minute of the third quarter before a late bucket by Isaac Von Eime gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 36-35.
This was a lead Westover would not relinquish.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ quick lineup completely shut down the Warriors offense. Blake Barber hit two huge 3-pointers and some clutch free throws late to score all 10 of his points in the frame. Tyler Hughes also had eight of his season high 14 points in the quarter as well. Westover closed out the game on a 26-3 run, thereby crushing the spirit of the Warriors on their own home court and advancing to the championship game on Saturday.
WCA was led in scoring by Isaac Von Eime who had 19 points and six steals. Tyler Hughes scored a season-high 14 points, pulling down five rebounds and drawing two charges in the deciding fourth quarter. Blake Barber scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter. Ashton Bettendorf had nine points and 10 rebounds while Dallas Wheeler had four points. Bailey McDowell played his best game of the season, while he only had three points, his play on defense with three steals and his emotion helped spark the comeback. Matthew Millner chipped in with one point.
With the win WCA improves to 12-2 on the season and advance to play the winner of SVHS and Blue Ridge Christian at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Grace Christian.