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EARLIER: West Middle School teams are state bound

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By Laura Clark

West Middle School’s seventh- and eighth-grade basketball teams won the Mid-Bluegrass Conference Tournament last week and are gearing up for state invitational tournaments.

The seventh-graders begin their state tournament today  That team, coached by John Carroll, was 12-0 in the conference and 26-2 in the regular season.

The Warriors beat Oldham County by 32 points in the semifinal game, then faced North Oldham in the championship game.

“We were down by six at halftime, the first time we’ve been down all year,” Carroll said. “But the boys responded and played more aggressive on defense.”

West defeated North Oldham, 34-27, for their sixth straight conference championship. Brent Kidwell was named the tournament MVP. Antuan Wells and Mark Sorrells also were named to the all-tournament team.

The Warriors will begin state tournament play at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington today, facing Bates Middle School at 6 p.m. West has not played Bates, which is in Danville, but Bates did lose to Mercer County by 18 points. West lost by two points in overtime to Mercer County this season.

If the Warriors win, they’ll face the winner of the Mercer-Bondurant game on Saturday morning.

The tournament has 56 teams from around the state competing. In 2009, the Warriors made it to the Elite 8.

Eighth-graders win in overtime

After WMS tied North Oldham for the conference regular-season championship, those schools met in the final game of the tournament, which was held at North Oldham Middle School.

“It was a roller-coaster game,” West Coach Tim Pardee said. “There was a big crowd, so it was a really neat atmosphere.”

The Warriors had about a 6-point lead most of the game. In the fourth quarter, North Oldham made a 7-0 run to take a 4-point lead with 30 seconds to play.

Warrior Raphael Stone scored, then his team stole the ball on the press and scored to forge a tie. The Warriors stole the ball again but missed the last-second shot to win, sending the game into overtime.

Stone hit two free throws with 18 seconds to play to put West up, 47-46, and the Warriors' zone defense kept North Oldham from getting any good shots. Sorrells grabbed a defensive rebound to seal the victory.

Stone was named the tournament MVP. Teammates Lawson Page and DeAndre Farris were named to the all-tournament team. West finished 25-3 during the regular season.

“We had a really good season, and they’d like to keep playing,” Pardee said.

The Warriors will travel to Danville on Feb. 13 for the Knights of Columbus Tournament. Then Feb. 19-20, West will play in the state invitational at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington.