Justin Henley (copy)

West Morgan boys basketball coach Justin Henley is the boys Class 1A-4A Coach of the Year after making it to the Northwest Regional for the first time since 2016. [JERONIMO NISA/DECATUR DAILY]

West Morgan entered head coach Justin Henley’s second season with a chip on its shoulder.

Danville eliminated the Rebels on their home floor in the first round of the Class 4A, Area 13 tournament a season ago after West Morgan was a consistent top-10 team that season.

For a while, the results this season didn’t match that motivation. West Morgan limped into the postseason with a 2-4 record in area play and were the No. 4 seed in the area tournament.

To advance, West Morgan would have to beat St. John Paul II on its home floor. The Rebels did, earning a spot in the subregional round. They then beat Danville in the area championship and followed that up with a 65-54 win over Curry in the subregional round.

That sent Henley’s team through to the Northwest Regional at Wallace State for the first time since 2016. Henley has been selected as the boys Class 1A-4A Coach of the Year after helping his team put it together at the right time.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys and how they responded to some struggles in the middle of the year,” Henley said. “We lost some games we shouldn’t have. The biggest thing is that during the final stretch, we decided that we were a good team if we shared the ball.”

Brooks, an eventual Final Four team, ended West Morgan’s season at the Northwest Regional semifinals. Henley’s team finished 18-12 a year after winning 17 of its 27 games.

Recently, Henley was told he would not return for a third season as West Morgan’s head coach after going 35-22 in two seasons.

“We had a stretch where we really shared the ball and shot it well,” Henley said. “Jakobe Griffith found his own after sitting out a year. He gave us a third scoring option during our run that we were missing early in the year.”

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—matthew.speakman@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2460. Twitter @DD_MSpeakman.

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