PREP BASKETBALL: Warriors down Falkville 59-55, advance to Christmas Tournament finals

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West Point's Sam Wheeler finished with 19 points in the Warriors' 59-55 win over Falkville. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. — After defeating Hatton in the opening round of the West Point Christmas Tournament Monday night, the Warriors faced Falkville Tuesday night with a spot in the championship game on the line. In what was a very physical contest between both teams, the Warriors were able to pick up a huge, 59-55 win over the Blue Devils and advance to the tournament championship game.

Falkville jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead to start the contest, but Kanen Trussell scored back-to-back baskets down low to make it a 5-4 game early in the first quarter. A Blue Devil trey stretched their lead to 8-4; however, Trussell scored once again down low, and Andrew Lynn drilled a trey to give the Warriors a 9-8 lead with less than four minutes to go in the first period. Falkville ended up scoring the final five points of the quarter as the Warriors went into the second period down by a score of 13-9.

Driving layups by Sam Wheeler and Ashton Rodgers tied the game up at 13. Each team traded baskets to keep the game tied up at 15, but the Blue Devils hit back-to-back shots from deep to give them a 21-15 lead with a little over five minutes to go in the first half. A pair of Rodgers free throws and a Lynn trey trimmed the deficit to just one at 21-20, but Falkville went on an 8-0 run to push their lead to 29-20. A Wheeler free throw made it a 29-21 game at the half.

A Lynn three cut the deficit to just seven at 31-24 early in the third period. A three by Jay Lamar kept the deficit at seven at 34-27 with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter. Later on, a Wheeler driving layup and another Lynn trey made it a 36-32 game with a little over three minutes to go in the third period. A Falkville free throw gave them a 41-36 lead, but a huge three by Lynn just before the buzzer trimmed the West Point deficit to just two at 41-39 going into the final period.

A Blue Devil layup made it a 43-39 game to start out the fourth quarter, but another basket down low by Wheeler and a huge three by Rodgers gave West Point a 44-43 lead early in the final period. Another Rodgers trey and a Wheeler layup pushed the Warrior lead to 49-45 with 5:14 left, then back-to-back threes by Falkville gave them a 51-49 lead with 3:30 left in the game. The Blue Devils held a 55-51 lead with a little over two minutes to go in the contest, but Wheeler drilled a pair of huge threes to give West Point a 57-55 lead with a little over a minute left. Lynn sealed the deal with 13 seconds left as he hit a pair from the line to help give the Warriors a 59-55 win. West Point will play Priceville on Wednesday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. for the championship.

Wheeler led the way for West Point (6-10) with 19 points. Lynn added 17 points. Rodgers ended up with 10 points. Trussell added eight points, Lamar finished with three points, and Kolten Perry chipped in with two points.

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