Whale Branch boys basketball keeps finding ways to win, and the Warriors did it again Thursday to advance to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs with a hard-fought 54-49 home victory over Hemingway.
AJ Singleton delivered a standout performance for the Warriors, racking up 19 points to lead all scorers. Queashawn Fields scored a big 10 points, and Keith Chisholm added eight to send the Warriors into the second round.
After an evenly-played first half tied at 24, Jim Raymond’s team found a way despite seeing Jashaun Gillison foul out late in the third quarter. The Warriors dug in on defense, allowing just eight Tiger points in the period to go up 36-32, but the Tigers opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run capped by a Darrell Jones 3-pointer to open a three-point lead.
Whale Branch answered with six quick points of its own, though, and didn’t trail again. Quintillion Fields sparked the rally with a blocked shot and save to Singleton, who went coast to coast to put the Warriors on top for good, then Chisholm found Quintillion Fields on an inbounds play for a bucket inside, and Singleton put back an offensive rebound to keep it a three-point margin.
Hemingway clawed within a point one more time, but Queashawn Fields dived on a loose ball and Raymond was awarded a timeout to retain possession before his brother Quintillion buried a baseline jumper and the Warriors overcame some late difficulty with the Tigers’ full-court press to close it out at the foul line.
Whale Branch (17-7) will travel to sixth-ranked Hannah-Pamplico (21-6) for a second-round matchup Saturday.
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