With his team trailing by 12 points at halftime, Winder-Barrow High School boys basketball coach David Sokol knew the Bulldoggs would need a big second half.
They got a huge one.
WBHS outscored visiting Salem 47-24 in the second half to up its Region 8-AAAAA record to 4-6. The Bulldoggs are now two games above .500 at 10-8 overall.
Zay Hester scored 20 points Tuesday night, including 11 in the second half and nine in the first. Travis Demeritte finished with 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half, and Brayden Randall added 11 points, all in the second half.
Trailing 29-17 at halftime, the Bulldoggs outscored the Seminoles, one of the top teams in the region, 22-9 in the third quarter. That run seemed to rattle Salem, who was not able to recover in the fourth quarter.
“What we are trying to accomplish is to get everyone playing together as a unit,” Sokol said after the game. “We knew we had a tough task with Salem. They are big and athletic and we had to do a lot of things correctly to come out on top.”
The coach said he was pleased with the contribution of Randall, a sophomore.
“He will always give great effort,” Sokol said. “It took him a while to gain confidence after making the transition from football.”
The defensive pressure, especially in the second half Tuesday night, by WBHS played a key in the comeback and final outcome. At various points in the third and fourth quarters, the Bulldoggs turned Salem away on eight consecutive attempts, seven consecutive attempts and another six consecutive attempts.
WBHS will look to continue the momentum from Tuesday’s comeback when it hosts Flowery Branch Friday. The Bulldoggs defeated the Falcons 52-51 Dec. 4 on a last-second basket by Hester.
“It’s always close with them,” Sokol said. “We don’t expect Friday to be any different.”
Friday’s Region 8-AAAAA game begins at 8:30 p.m. WBHS will step out of region play Saturday for a home contest with Jefferson at