KILLEN — For the 11th time in school history, the Brooks Lions will make the hour-and-a-half drive to compete in Class 4A, Northwest Regional at WallaceState-Hanceville next week.
Led by first-year head coach Brian Wright, the Class 4A No. 8 Lions secured their spot among the final 16 teams with a 60-35 home win over Wilson in sub-regional play.
“It was a goal of ours to get to Wallace State from the beginning.” Wright said. “I’m proud of what they have achieved and that they will get to experience it, but we don’t want to be satisfied. We want to keep playing and try to keep playing our best basketball.”
Sparked by its high-pressure defense, Brooks forced 16 turnovers and three players scored in double figures, led by junior Holden Corum with 13.
“It’s a big deal to get to Hanceville and a big deal for our seniors. They really keep us motivated.” Corum said. “We’ve had some rough points with some people getting hurt this season, but we’ve just kept playing and never quit.”
The Lions (26-7) scored the game’s first six points and led throughout. A trio of 3-pointers from Corum, Brady Bedingfield, and Skyler Beck closed the opening quarter with Brooks ahead 19-9.
The defense forced three early turnovers and the Lions cashed those into layups to open the second quarter. A steal and layup by Sam Lemaster pushed the lead to 17 with four minutes remaining in the half. Wilson, which was held scoreless for 6 minutes, got on the board for the first time in the quarter when sophomore Brennan Parrish a free throw. Parrish and Kenneth Henry each connected on a pair of 3-pointers for the Warriors to make it 28-18 at the half.
That was as close as Wilson could get, however, as Beck connected with his second 3-pointer and Russell Phillips converted a 3-point play to cap a 17-2 third-quarter run for the Lions that ballooned the lead to 22 points.
Corum scored eight of his game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter and Phillips added five as Brooks claimed its fourth win over Wilson this season.
Bedingfield finished with 11 points for Brooks and Beck added 10 points.
Kenneth Henry led Wilson (11-18) with 10 points, while Colby Wesson and Pate Wear each had seven.
The Lions open regional play Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Hanceville against Butler.