West Charlotte coach Baronton Terry made a wardrobe change at the half of Tuesday’s game against Northwest Guilford.
Instead of his normal suit and tie, Terry came out for the second half wearing a T-shirt.
“I got a little heated in the halftime discussion,” Terry said.
After Terry got heated up, so did the third-seeded Lions, who pulled away in the second half to beat the 11th-seeded Vikings 78-62 in the third round of the N.C. public school 4A playoffs.
Isaiah Blackmon scored a game-high 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds, and teammate Simieon Carter added 19 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots for West Charlotte (23-3), which advances to the NCHSAA Western Regionals for the first time since 2012.
To get there, however, the Lions had to overcome a tough challenge from Northwest Guilford (23-4), trying to earn its first-ever regional berth.
Behind Sam Covington (15 points), Jalen Gore (14 points) and Tre Turner (10 points), the Vikings rode their speed and a tough full-court press to stick with West Charlotte in the first half.
Northwest Guilford only trailed 22-21 at the end of a high-scoring first quarter, and it managed to take a 39-37 halftime lead on Turner’s floor-length drive and layup with one second remaining.
That’s what led to Terry’s “heated discussion” at the half.
“I thought we were allowing too many easy baskets, giving up too many second and third chances,” Terry said. “We weren’t going after the ball hard enough at times.”
That changed in the second half – the Lions opened the third quarter with a 14-0 run, turning what had been a two-point Vikings lead into a 51-39 West Charlotte lead midway through the period.
The Lions would go on to lead by as many as 22 points in the closing minute of the fourth quarter, with Nakia Rivers’ breakaway dunk putting them ahead 78-56 with 36 seconds remaining.
Kobie Williams added 11 points and Rivers 10 for West Charlotte.
“We struggled to score,” Northwest Guilford coach Lee Reavis said. “We missed some open looks, missed some layups. They got some 50-50 balls and we didn’t.
“I’m proud of the guys – we competed, but things didn’t go our way in the third quarter.”