The contest was a back-and-forth battle, with the Wildcats (17-10) trailing by four at halftime before taking over the lead for good in the fourth quarter. VR coach Jason Robinson credited his team's defense for securing the win and a trip to the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"Kelvin Bonds stepped up. They've got a real good post player and he held his own against him," Robinson said. "We had a plan of attack, how we were going to attack him defensively. They have three really good scorers, so we did a variation of our man [defense]. Guys just stood the course in the second half and in crunch time they stopped hitting shots."
Xavier Hughes led all scorers with 17 points, while Bonds added 12, Rodney Hill chipped in with 11 and Josh Lay scored 10. Marcus Miller also had 10 points, with all of them coming in the fourth quarter on free throws, as the senior guard went 10-of-10 from the line.
The Wildcats will face Hiram on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Allatoona in the region semifinals.
In other prep basketball action from Wednesday:
Rockmart boys 47, Central 44: A banner year for the the Lions (14-11) came to a close in a three-point loss against Rockmart in the Region 4-AAA Tournament quarterfinals at Douglass High School in Atlanta.
The game was another close one that Central just couldn't quite find a way to win at the end. Seniors Justis Ward and Kahlil Wynn led the team with 14 and 13 points, respectively, in their final prep games.
"It didn't end the way we wanted it to end. We had some chances in this game. We just turned the ball over and missed lay-ups late that kind of hurt us. Overall, I thought it was a great year, the kids played hard all year. We've got to continue to get better in the offseason and get ready for next year," Central coach Darius Smiley said.
Along with Ward and Wynn, fellow seniors Blake Reese, Shaq Allen and Stephon O'Neal helped bring respectability back to the Central program, along with their first-year coach.
"It was their senior year and they put in the hard work to make their senior year successful. We're going to really miss Justis, Kahlil, Blake, Shaq and Stephon. They'll all be missed. But I think it was something they feel like they rebuilt the tradition Central basketball has had in the past. I think that's something they can be proud of and something for the younger guys can build off of," Smiley said.
Shaw boys 61, Carrollton 59: A tough 2012-13 campaign for the Trojans (13-12) ended with a two-point loss to host Shaw in the quarterfinals of the Region 5-AAAA Tournament in Columbus.
Douglass girls 57, Haralson County 19: The Rebelettes (11-16) season came to a close in the quarterfinal round of the Region 4-AAA Tournament at Douglass.
The 11 wins is the most since Haralson County also had 11 in 2009-10.