NORCROSS - Playing without leading scorer Griffin Schamp and faced with a with a determined opponent in W.D. Mohammed, Wesleyan's boys were in need of a hero in their Region 7-A quarterfinal game.
They found one in Andrew Frerking.
The sophomore connected on 8 of 9 shots from beyond the 3-point arc en route to a career-high 30 points to help rescue the Wolves from the upset-minded Caliphs in a 60-55 victory Tuesday at Yancey Gymnasium.
The win lifted the Wolves (19-7) into Friday's semifinal to take on No. 9 Greenforest, plus a bid to the Class A state tournament - an unlikely spot given all the graduation losses from last year's Class AA state title team, plus the absence of Schamp, out with strep throat.
"As much as we lost (from last year), for this team to make the state tournament is a great accomplishment," Wesleyan coach Skip Matherly said. "We did just enough to survive. (Tuesday) night was just about survival."
The Wolves had to fight for that survival thanks to a strong effort from a W.D. Mohammed team that entered the game at 4-18.
But paced by the inside presence of Amir Hameen, who finished with 14 points and 19 rebounds, and the shooting of Amadou Diarra, who matched Frerking's 3-point shooting in the first half by hitting 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, the Caliphs built a 21-10 lead after one quarter.
They still led 30-20 after Aqeeb Sabree's stickback with 2:00 left in the first before Wesleyan ended the half on a 6-0 run to go into intermission trailing just 30-26.
That's when the Wolves began to own the perimeter. With Carter Brantley hounding Diarra, the W.D. Mohammed senior managed just one more 3-pointer on the night to finish with a team-high 16 points.
Meanwhile, Frerking hit two of his 3s, while Brantley and Wes Caver also added Treys to help Wesleyan outscore W.D. Mohammed 17-8 in the third quarter to take a 43-38 lead heading into the final frame.
The Caliphs managed to hang around, even taking a 50-49 lead after two Diarra free throws with 3:38 to play.
But Frerking took advantage of W.D. Mohammed's 2-3 zone and came around a screen to drain yet another 3-pointer to vault Wesleyan into the lead for good at 52-50 with 3:19 left.
Greenforest 72, Providence 57
The Stars had their season ended at 15-11 despite a game-long effort in erasing a big early deficit, led by Westley Hinton, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
"We had to (press) because we were down late," Stars coach Jason Wright said. "They were just too athletics. But we have a lot of kids with good character and grit. I'm proud we were able to come back from the early hole."
In addition to Hinton's big night, Providence also got help from Peter Hage (10 points) and Ryan McClanahan (nine points).