There was no question who was the better team Friday night in Manchester with the Area Tournament championship on the line.
The WCMS Pioneers steamrolled Shelbyville Harris in the second half to win 31-25 in a game played at Coffee County Middle School.
Pioneer Carter Simpson played like he had superhuman strength, shredding the Harris defense for a game-high 20 points.
With Simpson taking control when it mattered, Pioneer Hector Marquez also played big in the fourth quarter and DeShawn Adams provided toughness in the paint.
The win advances the WCMS boys to sectionals where they will face Blackman in the first round Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Stewarts Creek.
“Nobody thought we’d have this type of year,” said a smiling WCMS coach Kevin Burnett. “We beat Rockvale on their home floor and Rockvale is one of the better teams in the sectional tournament. I told the boys we have a shot at winning this thing and advancing to state.”
If Simpson keeps plowing through defenses like a freight train, it’s a very good shot. He was the backbone of the Pioneer offense with 7 points in the first half and did even more after intermission.
Burnett made the decision to spread the floor and move all his players out of the paint. That left Simpson with a clear path to the basket after dribbling past his man. He either made a contested shot against a collapsing defense, or got to the foul line where he was 7-of-10 in the fourth.
It wasn’t the best start for the Pioneers, who failed to make a perimeter shot the entire first half and didn’t have a 3-pointer for the game. Several close-range shots under the rim also didn’t fall in the early going.
“The perimeter game was not there for us tonight,” said Burnett. “Harris is so big inside, you have to take those outside shots when you have them, but they weren’t falling. The second half we were able to speed it up and we play better that way. I’d play that way all game but we don’t have much depth and I’m afraid we might get in foul trouble.”
Burnett played his five starters all game and didn’t make his first substitution until just :20 left when Adams fouled out.
WCMS – Carter Simpson 20, DeShawn Adams 6, Hector Marquez 4, Keyton Reno 1 HARRIS – Tayshawn Shelton 12, Jevon Lee 6, Tommie Cannon 4, Billy Brown 2, Chandler Jones 1