By Blaine Kellar for Main Street Preps
Note: White House will play Saturday night at MLK at 7 p.m. in the Region 5-3A quarterfinals.
Charles Taylor thought there might have been some layover.
After dropping a double-overtime thriller to fall into the District 9-3A consolation game, his No. 2 Creek Wood squad found itself leading by just one point early in the second quarter against White House. The Red Hawks had previously beaten their opposition twice by at least 20 points in the regular season.
“There was a little bit of letdown from losing a double-overtime game,” Taylor said. “We got kind of a slow start.”
His team went on to outscore the Blue Devils 45-25 by the end of the third quarter, lifting Creek Wood (16-7) to a 65-49 win and the No. 3 spot in the Region 5-3A tournament.
“I told the guys; you’re going to finish tonight just like the runner-up does. You’re going to finish 1-1,” Taylor said. “There’s nothing to hang your head about. We’re here at home. You’re not guaranteed another game here, so why not walk off as winners every time we step on the floor?”
Clint Morgan and Jace Herrell did most of the damage from beyond the arc for the Red Hawks. The duo hit seven 3-pointers in the second and third quarters to create separation.
All-district selections Ryan Worrell and Zane Brown combined to score 33 points, but it wasn’t enough for White House (9-21) to pull off the upset.
“Both times we played them this season, they really punched us in the mouth in the first quarter,” Blue Devils coach Caleb Cook said. “We just knew we had to start better tonight, and it started on the defensive end of the floor.
“We came back here at the half and regrouped, but we just could never make the one big run in the second half to get it to single digits.”
White House moves on to the region tournament for the first time since 2019, where it will travel to face Martin Luther King Magnet.
The Blue Devils have battled against District 10-3A foes Hillwood and Hume Fogg earlier in the season, and hope the experience helps them as a No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals.
“That’s why we wanted to play them,” Cook said. “I think if we’re hitting shots and we believe that we can win and we believe in the gameplan that we as a staff come up with, we give ourselves a chance.”
Creek Wood, meanwhile, will face off against District 10 runner-up Maplewood the same night.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” Taylor said. “We’ve been the three seed on the road. It’s going to be difficult, so we’ve got three days to get ready for them.”
Creek Wood (65): Jace Herrell 22, Clint Morgan 11, Braden Dawson 8, Carter Thomason 8, Bryson Harding 6, Jamison Ford 5, Alex Bradshaw 3, Tanner Lampley 2.
White House (49): Ryan Worrell 24, Jimmy Allen 9, Zane Brown 9, Bryce Hill 5, Amarion Lucas 2.
Photos by Blaine Kellar for Main Street Preps