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Greater Beckley receive their trophy following their win over Webster County during their Class A Region 3 Conference Final Game in Beckley on Wednesday. (Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald)

Wednesday night in the Class A Region 3 co-final, it was a reversal of fortune.

Last year Greater Beckley Christian travelled to Webster County for a regional showdown in hopes of earning a spot in the state high school boys basketball tournament.

That night, Webster County rode its senior experience to a win and an eventual Class A state title.

This time around, it was the Highlanders that had to go on the road to face a senior-dominated Greater Beckley Christian squad. 

Paced by four players in double figures and two more that scored eight points apiece, the Crusaders turned the table on the visitors from Webster County for an 80-64 win.

"This is a great accomplishment. They have worked really hard r it," Greater Beckley head coach Brian Helton said. "The last three weeks we have practiced right after school. Then at eight or nine at night, I will have kids text me and tell me how many shots they came back and (put up) on their own. I think that showed tonight. We hit free throws, we shot the ball well and guys executed the game plan. I am really excited that I have a great group of seniors that lead the way they do."

Greater Beckley started fast to take a 7-0 lead, but, as would be the case all night, the young Highlanders, who had no quit in them, came charging back.

Webster closed the first period on a 7-1 run sparked by Rye Gadd scoring six of his game-high 31 points. Kadin Wright then hit two free-throws to open the second period, giving Webster its first and only lead at 17-16.

The game changed completely over the next seven minutes.

"In the huddle the guys asked me if they could go full-court and start pressuring more," Helton said. "So, we went to more traps. They were right and I was wrong."

A triple from senior Elijah Edwards was followed by a strong drive from fellow-senior, Thad Jordan, who scored on a left-hand layup off the glass. On the next trip down the floor, an errant in-bounds pass by Webster was scooped up by Jordan. Racing down the floor, the 6-foot-5 senior sent the Crusader fans into a frenzy when he rattled the building with a huge slam. 

Conner Bell stopped the Greater Beckley surge momentarily with a bucket, only to see an Edwards steal end in another layup and a 10-0 spurt before the halftime horn sounded. 

In a half where things could have unravelled for the home team with Jordan and Isaiah Hairston forced to sit with two fouls at times, key minutes from Kristian Krunic, Ezra Drumheller and Luka Seselj kept the Highlanders at bay.

"We have about eight guys that are as good as a group can be. I couldn't ask for a better group of guys," Helton said. "Guys came in and gave us great minutes across the board. I thought everyone had a high level of concentration on the game plan, knew what they were supposed to do and went out and did it. Sometimes that is tough to do in an environment like this."

The second half would be a back-and-forth battle with Greater Beckley trying to pull away and Webster refusing to roll over. The Crusaders finally pulled away in the final four minutes for the win.

"They always have a shooters chance and they have enough guys out on the floor that can hit shots," Helton said. "They hit a lot of tough shots tonight. That is the sign of a good team, and they are young." 

Edwards led the Crusaders with 18, while Jordan and Hairston added 16 points apiece and Krunic had 11. Sean Hoskins and Kaden Smallwood scored eight points apiece.

Greater Beckley (20-5) is the No. 3 seed in Class A and will face No. 6 seed Pendleton County, Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament.

Email: rudy@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @Rusman1981

Webster County (15-10)

Kaden Cutlip 2, Kadin Wright 6, Rye Gadd 31, William Lewis 14, Conner Bell 7, Levi Cochran 4. Totals: 20 17-21 64.

Greater Beckley Christian (20-5)

Elijah Edwards 18, Thad Jordan 16, Isaiah Hairston 16, Kristian Krunic 11, Sean Hoskins 8, Kaden Smallwood 8, Luka Seselj 3. Totals: 28 17-25 80.

WC: 15 4 25 20     — 64

GBC: 16 17 24 23     — 80

3-point goals: WC: 7 (Wright, Gadd 4, Lewis 2), GBC: 7 (Edwards 2, Jordan 2, Krunic, Hoskins, Smallwood). Fouled out: Lewis (WC)

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