Weems’ only basket came on a layup with .5 seconds remaining, to give the second-seeded Raiders a 67-66 victory over the third-seeded Eagles in a Region 5AAAAAA boys’ basketball tournament semifinal game at Etowah on Monday.
The victory sends Walton into today’s region championship game against top-seeded and rival Wheeler, which won both regular season meetings.
“That will be like World War III,” Walton coach Joe Goydish said. “The guys on both teams know and respect each other so well, and (Wheeler) coach (Doug) Lipscomb is one of my good friends. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”
Weems missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with Walton ahead 65-64 with 23.9 remaining and Milton’s Chris Lewis, who scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter — grabbed the rebound.
Walton fouled Morris Lewis, who made both free throw attempts and put Milton ahead 66-65 with 10.4 on the clock.
The Raiders took the inbounds pass and Jay Bowyer, who had a game-high 26 points, fed Weems for the game winner. The officials put .5 on the clock and Chad Clay intercepted Milton’s inbounds pass to seal the win.
“The play was designed for me to get the ball and go to the hole,” Weems said. “This is an amazing win. We always work as a team no matter what and we play like a family, that’s why we’re a strong team.”
Goydish was excited his guard came through.
“Elijah didn’t have the best game, but he willed that ball in,” he said. “Bowyer was incredible, and all the guys battled. It was a well-defended game and both teams made big shots.”
Zack Hodskins, who had 11 first quarter points and made four 3-pointers, finished with 17 for Milton.
Maurice Gibson had seven points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Walton. Nick Wells finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Bowyer had 15 second half points, connecting on five 3-pointers.
Walton was 14 of 17 from the free throw line compared to 12 of 19 for Milton.