The Whale Branch boys continued their trend of slow starts followed by second-half surges Tuesday, escaping with a 40-35 win at Estill after erasing a 12-point halftime deficit.
AJ Singleton scored six of his game-high 10 points in the fourth quarter of the defensive struggle to help the Warriors outscore the Gators 29-12 in the second half and 13-2 in the final period.
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Devonta Barnard added eight points for the Warriors, who had to look for other offensive options with the Gators focused on shutting down star point guard Jaylen Reeves. Reeves finished with just five points, but he was 3-of-4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Whale Branch (2-1) opens region play at home against Cross on Tuesday.