As the final seconds ticked away in overtime Tuesday, Brantley’s Wesley Person Jr. wanted the game in his hands.
“At the end of the game, when it’s time to take a shot, I take it upon myself to score and lead my team on to the win,” he said.
TAnd that’s exactly what he did.
Person drew a foul with 2.4 seconds left in overtime and went to the line with a berth in the state championship game at stake — and he wasn’t even nervous.
“Not at all,” he said. “I just stepped up and knocked down the free throws.”
Person scored seven of his 25 points in overtime to lead the Bulldogs over Ragland 49-47 in the Class 1A state semifinal.
Brantley (21-5), which earned its first state championship berth since 1995, faces St. Jude at 3 p.m. Friday.
Brantley coach Andrew Kilcrease, who managed the girls team to a Class 1A semifinal win over Cedar Bluff earlier in the day, has the opportunity to be the first AHSAA coach to claim state titles with two teams in the same tournament.
“It’d be a dream come true if it could happen,” Kilcrease said.
The Bulldogs, who led by 16 points early in the second half, seemed to have the game well in hand, but the Purple Devils (28-7) went on a 27-11 run to force overtime.
“That’s basketball,” Brantley center Taylor Driggers said. “Good teams are going to make runs, and that’s what Ragland did.”
Driggers scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in what Kilcrease called the “best game he’s played.”
The senior, who has signed to play football at Troy, used his muscle to rule in the paint at both ends of the floor.
“I feel like I bring … a little bit of leadership, a little bit of fire, and that’s what we needed tonight,” Driggers said. “I needed to … come in, play big minutes and get after it. That’s how I feel like I can contribute to this team.”