Chapman’s layup lifts West End over Sardis 51-49


West End's Raymond Chapman shoots as Sardis' Jared Shirley defends during the first-round game of the Etowah County tournament Tuesday at Gadsden State Community College. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)


West End coach Clint Brannon was exhausted and elated after the Patriots’ 51-49 win over Sardis in the first round of the Etowah County boys basketball tournament.

“You’ve got to like a game like that. They’re just a lot of fun, especially in the county tournament on a stage like we’re on right now,” he said.

The Patriots got a layup from Raymond Chapman with 10 seconds left, and a 3-point attempt by the Lions’ Dylan Bolding rattled off of the rim as time expired to give West End (10-8) the close win at Gadsden State’s Beck Field House.

The lead went back and forth throughout. West End appeared to have taken control of the game on a 3-pointer by Levi Weems that gave the Patriots a 43-35 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Lions rallied, though, making Brannon and his team sweat before the final buzzer.

“We played hard and I have fantastic kids who just play hard,” Brannon said. “We made shots when we needed a big shot.

“We would play well for a stretch and not play well for a stretch, but when it came time for a big shot, somebody would step up and make that shot.”

The momentum seemed to be all on West End’s side heading into the fourth quarter. However, Sardis (6-14) put up six quick points to make it a 43-41 game. The Lions continued to battle and took their first second-half lead, 46-45, with 4:30 remaining on a 3 by Will Scott. The shot capped an 11-2 run.

The Patriots regained the lead on a pair of free throws by Chase Blanton. Jared Shirley hit a free throw for Sardis to tie the game again at 47.

Edward Bell hit a layup and Scott drained a pair of free throws to knot the game at 49 late. With time winding down, Chapman initially dropped a pass from Caleb Mayo, but managed to pick it up and go up strong for the layup that put his team ahead by the final 2-point margin.

Following a timeout, Sardis’last chance came on Bolding’s 3-point attempt, which appeared to be going down until it rattled off the inside of the rim and bounced out to give West End the victory.

The Patriots jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first quarter, with Kaelan Cleveland scoring 5 of those points. However, the Lions went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter, with Cody Turk hitting a short runner just before the buzzer sounded, to take a 14-9 edge into the second period.

The defense helped West End regain the lead in the second quarter. A methodical 11-2 run put the Patriots on top 20-16 before the pace quickened in the final two minutes of the quarter. A pair of free throws by Sardis’ Kevin Walter cut the Patriot lead to 28-24 at halftime.

For most of the third, the two teams battled back and forth with neither gaining a significant advantage. Late in the quarter, West End went on a 13-5 run capped by Weems’ 3 that lifted the Patriots lead to the biggest of the contest at 43-35.

Weems had 12 points to lead West End. Chapman and Mayo each scored eight points.

Scott led all players with 24 points.

The Patriots will play Class 4A, No. 10 Hokes Bluff on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“The Haas kid inside (Hokes Bluff’s Isaac Haas), he’s tough to deal with,” Brannon said. “There’s not a lot of answers for 7-foot-2. We’re going to have to find something to neutralize him. We talk about, if we do it right, what we do should determine the outcome of the game. If we don’t do it, we’re not gonna come out on the good end.”