The Weddington Warriors boys basketball team did it all this season. On the road to claiming the Southern Carolinas conference title, they set the school record for most wins in a season (27), most points in a single game (103), most rebounds in a single game (56) and most assists in a single game (26) to go down as one of the best teams to ever come through Union County.
The Warriors advanced all the way to the Western Regional in Greensboro to compete in the Elite Eight before a tough three-point loss to Freedom ended their hopes of a title, falling just short of their first Final Four appearance.
With a roster stacked with talent from guys who could score double-figure points on any given night, 6-foot-4 wing Brandon Watts spearheaded the Warriors dominating charge.
Watts, a senior at Weddington, set the pace for the Warriors averaging team highs in points (14.1), assists (three), blocked shots (2.7) and steals (2.5). He recorded nine double-doubles on the season, poured in a career-high 32 points in the Warriors win against Porter Ridge and, after a standout senior season, was named the 2014 Southern Carolinas Conference Player of the Year. Now, he has another honor to add to his impressive resume, as Watts is the 2014 Union County Weekly Basketball Player of the Year.
“It’s nice, knowing that people recognize my achievements,” Watts said. “It’s nice knowing that they see the hard work that we put into this season as a team. We had one of the best Weddington teams ever and one of the best teams in the county ever with five or six different players that could score from anywhere on the court. That doesn’t come around a lot.”
Watts has been an integral part of the Warriors 79-32 record over the last four seasons, but said nothing compares to playing on this year’s squad.
“Getting to Greensboro was the best part of my time here,” he said. “It was an exciting game in front of a huge crowd, playing on the same court where some of the best players in the game had played. It was rough to lose and know that it was my last game that I’ll ever play at Weddington, but it was relieving in a way. I know that we’ll go down as one of the greatest teams to come through the school.”
Watts shot 56 percent from the floor this season, whether shooting from outside or waking up the gym with an explosive dunk. But even with all eyes fixated on him, the humble Watts seems to always point back to the Warrior team.
“My proudest moment, even as an individual player, was being part of this team,” he said. “Looking back, I realize all the things that we did as a team and it was just a great season overall. I love looking back and knowing that I was a part of something special, something bigger.”
After wrapping up a monumental season, Watts will head to UNC-Pembroke in the fall – a program that’s been eager to sign him all season.
“The head coach came to at least 20 of my games and his father even came to seven or eight,” Watts said. “They were recruiting me heavily and letting me know that if I went there, I would be the guy and one of the key players. That’s always nice to hear.”
“It’s so exciting, going to a new school to play for a new program,” he added, “but I can’t help but be sad knowing that I’ll never play another game as a Weddington Warrior. I’ve loved it here.”