Friday night's game proved to be one of the toughest of the year for the Titans, now 27-2 on the season. West Forsyth led 20-16 after one quarter of play but trailed 35-33 at the half. In the first half, guard Chris Paul had scored just seven points on 3-5 shooting, but had pulled down three boards, recorded two steals, and dished out five assists. It was a 'pass-first and get others involved' first-half for the senior.
With the Titans down at the half, Paul knew he would be the man to make things go in the second half. And in the second half, Paul took over.
The Wake Forest signee put the Titans on his back in the third and fourth quarters and was clutch down the stretch for Coach David Laton's West Forsyth team. Leading just 62-61 with two minutes remaining in the ballgame, Paul got a steal off a Person inbounds pass and took it the length of the floor for a jam to extend West Forsyth's lead to 64-61.
After a Roxboro Person three-pointer, Paul set a screen, was fouled, and hit both shots for the Titans, giving West Forsyth a two-point lead. After Person hit one free throw on the other end, Paul was fouled again and hit one of two this time, giving the Titans a 67-65 lead with :47 seconds remaining in what turned out to be one of the most exciting high school basketball games in North Carolina this year.
Roxboro Person came back with a clutch shot of their own, however, hitting a two pointer with around a half-minute remaining in the ballgame. With the score knotted at 67, West Forsyth took a timeout to discuss what they wanted to do with the ball in the last 19.8 seconds.
Everyone in Shuford Gym knew just what the Titans wanted to do: get the ball to Chris Paul and let him create an opportunity for the win.
And Paul did just that. With just seconds remaining, the point guard sliced through the lane and connected from eight feet out, giving West Forsyth a 69-67 win.
All in all, Paul scored 19 second half points and collected three more assists. But most importantly, his clutch basket at the end of Friday night's thriller with Roxboro Person helped the Titans advance to the 4-A regional championship.
"Last year, we lost the game to go to the state championship after I passed up the last shot," Paul told DeaconSports after the game, "and I've been telling my teammates all year that if we get in that predicament again, it's going to be on my shoulders. I wanted the last shot."
And he took it - and hit it. Thanks to Paul's heroics, the Titans move on to face Charlotte Vance (27-2) Saturday afternoon at 3:00 inside Shuford Gym on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne.
And what's on tap for Paul's Titans in Saturday afternoon's contest with Vance?
"We're looking to push the ball, play hard, and make it to Chapel Hill," Paul said.
3-5 free throw