State Champs: OLH comes from behind in final seconds to claim title - hccommunityjournal.com: Sports

State Champs: OLH comes from behind in final seconds to claim title

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 11:48 pm

WEST - Resilient, focused, and driven is how Our Lady of the Hills head coach Chris Ramirez has described this year's edition of the Hawks basketball team.

And it took each one of those traits for the Hawks to rally and capture its second Class 3A TAPPS State Championship 50-47 over Midland Classical's Knights on Friday at the West High School Gym. OLH closed the year 26-9.

Resilient, because OLH trailed the Knights most of the game. Focused, because OLH had to maintain its composure throughout when some of its usual game plan went fuzzy. Driven, because when some of the usual blueprint had to be redrawn, the team was able to do so.

"It takes a lot to be at state, much less win a state title, and the way we won this one makes it special," said senior guard Travis Reeh.

The "special" lies in the fact that Reeh struggled in the first half when he had as many points (2) as fouls. He eventually wound up leading OLH with 23 by going off for 20 in the second half, including a three pointer that tied things 45-45 with 1:10 left to play. His trey was part of 13-2 Hawks rally when they trailed by eight with just under four minutes to go.

William Westfall scored 11 for the game, and eight of those were produced during the fourth quarter rush. He hit a regulation field goal that cut into the Knights' lead 43-37, followed up with a three that trimmed things to 43-40, and he ripped another three with :26 in the game to put the Hawks up 48-47, essentially delivering OLH a bookend to the state title it won in 2017. Westfall's go-ahead basket was courtesy of Reeh who dished off a pass.

It's usually Westfall who hands out the assists, and is the team's facilitator.

"But we needed some shots. We can't put it all on Travis or any one player. We lost earlier in the year to Lutheran because we depended so heavily on him, and I knew we had to do something about that," said Westfall.

So Westfall, who did not touch the floor when the Hawks won it all two years ago, took to heart what he said Ramirez had told him throughout the season.

"Coach told me my time would come. It did in this game," Westfall said.

"I'm super happy for Will. He scored zero points last year in the state game, and stepped into being our point guard this year," Ramirez said.

But after leading 14-12 after the first quarter, OLH did not see many shots fall at all in the second period as the Knights captured the lead at halftime 24-18. The Knights limited OLH to only one field goal in the second quarter -- a three pointer by senior forward Hunter Taylor. Taylor finished with seven points.

Reeh finally found his touch for a field goal in the third that put OLH in a manageable situation down 26-21, before the Knights took advantage of three straight Hawks turnovers, ad boosted things back to 32-21.

Reeh closed with eight more points before heading to the fourth with OLH's deficit at 36-29.

Cole Lutz chipped in a free throw for his only point, and Joaquin Vasquez followed up one of Westfall's last quarter buckets with one of his own as the Hawks got within 43-42, and set the stage for the Reeh-Westfall heroics.

Vasquez grabbed a rebound with seven seconds after a miss by Reeh on the front end of a one and one, kicked it back to Reeh who was fouled with two ticks of the clock. Reeh did make both of those charity tosses to make for the final margin. Vasquez wound up with six points.

James Ibarra had OLH's other two points in the scoring column.

Ramirez expanded on his description of this year's title team amidst the hoopla of the post game celebration.

"We're blessed to be back, and be in a position to win another state championship," said Ramirez. "These guys stuck to the process, and everyone bought into their roles throughout the season. They embraced the opportunity, and they are a senior class that has been to three state finals, and have shown a championship pedigree."

Westfall said this day will live with him forever.

"No one is ever going to take this (title) away We'll have it for all time," said Westfall.

Reeh, Vasquez, Taylor, and Lutz were also named to the TAPPS State Tournament Team for their efforts.

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