WORCESTER, Mass. — Cedric Harris led the way with 26 points as West Liberty (32-2) pulled away down the stretch to defeat Shaw to win its second consecutive Atlantic Region title.
West Liberty built several double-digit leads in the first half but the Bears (27-4) held the hosts to just two points during the final six minutes of the half to take a 43-42 edge at halftime.
The lead changed hands several times in the early minutes of the second half before a 10-0 Hilltopper run put the Black and Gold ahead to stay, 57-51 with just under 15 minutes remaining.
West Liberty stretched the lead out to 10 points on several occasions but the Bears battled back to make it a one-possession game, 74-71 on a Malik Alvin 3-point play with 5:35 on the clock.
Shaw would come no closer as the Hilltoppers held the Bears to just two field goals the rest of the way. A 3-pointer from Alex Falk put the game on ice, 88-76 with just under a minute remaining.
C.J. Hester tallied a double-double — 16 points and 10 rebounds — while Falk scored all 14 of his points in the second half and Tim Hausfeld chipped in with 13 points.
Alvin led all scorers with 28 points while Tony Smith –19 points, 12 rebounds — and Junius Chaney — 13 points, 10 rebounds — each had double-doubles in a losing effort.