EAST ORANGE — The host University Cougars closed the second quarter on a 13-2 run Thursday night, putting the West Orange Warriors on their heels with their season on the line.
Trailing by six at halftime, the Warriors did not linger in the locker room for long, though. Instead, they came back out onto the floor to warm-up and get some shots up about halfway through the intermission.
The extra warm-up repetitions must have worked, because West Orange outscored University 45-28 the rest of the way, en route to a 73-62 win in the FHSAA Class 9A, Region 1 Quarterfinals.
"It seemed like everything was working," senior K.J. Simon said of the second half. "We were hitting the open shots and hitting the open man — we got a lot of offensive rebounds."
Simon had scored a team-high 16 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Joining him in surging in the third and fourth quarters was teammate Jamarcus Clark, who scored eight points early in the third quarter and 12 points on the game.
Three other Warriors — Darrell "DJ" Harding (12 points), Judah Collins (11 points) and Zion Collins (11 points) — scored in double-digits.
University's Matthew Brown scored a game-high 21 points for the Cougars (18-9).
The win improved West Orange to 15-13 on the season and, more importantly, advances the Warriors to Tuesday's regional semifinals. West Orange will travel to take on Boone at 7 p.m. Feb. 27, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.