BELOIT — Jaxon Hendershott scored a game-high 22 points, making seven 3-point baskets, to lead West Branch past visiting Canfield 51-45 on Saturday night.
The win was the second in a row for the Warriors (11-2) following back-to-back losses to Alliance.
On Friday West Branch rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to defeat Carrollton 55-54.
"We had a big win at Carrollton but we knew that we had to come in ready to play," said West Branch senior Nick Wilson, who scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter. "This was a big game for us in regards to tournament seeding. Canfield has a good program and is respected in the Youngstown district. They beat Marlington earlier this season. We also beat Marlington so a win tonight puts us in a great position for tournament seeding."
Dru DeShields added 19 points for the Warriors.
"They have a great shooter in Jaxon Hendershott. It seemed like every time that we would pull to within one he would answer with a 3 and DeShields is a tremendous athlete that can hurt you in so many ways," said Canfield coach Todd Muckelroy, a West Branch graduate.
Jake Grdic led the Cardinals with 22 points and Zane Muckelroy added 12 points.
The score was tied 31-31 entering the fourth quarter but Wilson sank a pair of free throws and Hendershott hit a 3 to give West Branch a lead it would not relinquish.
"To say that we are battle-tested is an understatement," said West Branch coach Michael Brown. "Ten of our 12 games have not been decided until the fourth quarter. Our guys are competitors and welcome the challenge."
The Warriors' defense and efficiency at the foul line down the stretch sealed the win.
"This is how our year has gone. We battle but sometimes we can't get out shots to fall and West Branch punished us for that," said Muckelroy.
"We played last night and they played last night, so it comes down to who wanted it more and who had more grit," added Wilson.
Canfield is 7-7.
"We came out in the second half and executed very well," said Brown. "We ran some good sets and set some good screens. Our bigs played much better in the second half and our defense was up to the task.
"After an emotional win last night you would think that there would be a possibility of a letdown but the leadership of our upperclassmen didn't let that happen," Brown added. "We came out and played four quarters of solid basketball."
This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: West Branch defeats Canfield in boys non-conference basketball game