Class 2A boys final: Westside-Augusta 64, Butler 55

The Westside-Augusta boys won the Class AA championship on March 10 at the Macon Coliseum.

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The Westside-Augusta boys won the Class AA championship on March 10 at the Macon Coliseum.

The game wasn’t over when Jalexs Ewing, all 6-foot-2 of him, took the ball down the lane, skied over a defender and threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk. But at that instant, with 6:15 left in the game, there was little doubt that the afternoon belonged to Westside-Augusta.

Ewing’s bit of thunderation gave Westside a five-point lead and they survived a final thrust before putting away Butler, their Augusta rival, 64-55 to win the Class 2A boys championship at the Macon Coliseum.

Ewing finished with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds and tried to deflect any credit for turning the momentum in his team’s direction. He gave a generic answer when asked, until an Augusta TV reporter asked, “Don’t you think it was that dunk?” Ewing grinned and said, “Maybe a little bit.”

The victory was emotional for Westside, which had not beaten Butler since 2018 until clipping the Bulldogs in the Region 4 championship game. Butler had won both regular-season meeting, one of them by 22 points.

“It may have meant a little bit more,” Ewing said. “We finally got them.”

Senior Ryan Gordan, whose team went 8-18 as a freshman, said, “When I first came in to Westside, I didn’t know if we were going to win basketball games at all. Everything we’ve been through has been about making it to this page. I never thought this would happen, but it really happened so all I can say is thank God.”

Butler (22-7) raced out to a 22-11 lead after the first quarter, but Westside clawed back to get within 38-32 at halftime. Westside took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Amauri Tillman, part of a 10-0 third-quarter run that tilted the table in its direction.

Ewing said, “This team we’ve got, we’ve been playing together since we were little. Everybody is like a brother. We’ve had to fight together and stay together.”

“We had to work hard to get back in this game,” Westside coach Jerry Hunter said. “And we knew we had to fight like dogs.”

Butler was led by Gemaurean Belton with 12 points, Elijah Martinez with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Chance Finklin with 10 points and two blocks.

Westside also got 14 points and four assists from Tillman, 10 points and 11 rebounds from Khalon Hudson and nine points and three assists from Demarco Middleton.