HHS boys headed to state tourney
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- There likely haven't been many contests in which Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland's team has allowed 80 points and he was speaking volumes about his team's defense at game's end.
But consider Tuesday night's Class AAA, Region IV co-final as the exception to the rule.
With the Redskins trailing by 11 in the second half, Hurricane's defense turned up the pressure on Spring Valley at half court in the second half, forcing 13 of its 17 turnovers after halftime to earn an 81-80 win to advance to the Class AAA Boys State Tournament in Charleston next week.
"We were being a little lackadaisical on defense," Hurricane guard Trey Dawson said. "We said we had to come out with a lot of intensity. Defense was our main focus coming out in the second half."
In a game where both teams were scoring at will, one of the most important and unsung plays came as time expired. After J.T. Rogoszewski got a crucial steal and followed with a free throw to make it 81-77 with 9.4 seconds left, Spring Valley's Austin Keyser hit a 3-pointer with 4.8 remaining.
With the Timberwolves out of timeouts, the Redskins stood around and didn't attempt to take the ball out-of-bounds. Instead, they started the celebration on their second-consecutive trip to the state tournament.
"We said before we went out, don't touch the ball because they don't have any timeouts," Sutherland said. "If he makes it, we're done. We're fairly basketball-smart most of the time. It does help having Trey out on the court because he is very, very basketball-smart."
Prior to that, the fourth quarter was a blur for both teams. Hurricane used a 15-5 run in a early stages of the period to build its biggest lead at 73-65, only to see Spring Valley rattle off nine unanswered, including a 3-point play by Greg Herbert with 2:21 left to give the Timberwolves the lead again.
The catalyst down the stretch for Hurricane was Dawson, whose leadership in important moments helped carry the Redskins to the win.
Dawson finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven steals while hitting the game's biggest shot -- a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:36 left to give Hurricane the lead for good. It was his second 3-pointer of the quarter to give Hurricane the lead after he hadn't hit one since midway through the first quarter.
"He's that solid and he's the one that took over," Sutherland said. "He started talking to the guys on the court and getting them where they needed to be. That's what we needed and he's become that."
The Redskins needed every point they could get to trump an impressive effort by Spring Valley's Greg Herbert, who finished with 38 points and seven rebounds.
"Herbert, goodness can he shoot," Sutherland said. "Please tell me he's a senior."
Early on, Spring Valley's solid offensive ball movement and the smooth stroke of Herbert helped the Timberwolves to a 51-40 lead after his fifth 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
However, Hurricane switched up its defense, jumping Spring Valley's guards at mid-court and forcing them out of the offensive flow.
"It was a 2-3, run-and-jump them," Sutherland said. "I'll credit Trey with saying, 'Hey coach, let's try this. Let's go up one time.' We did it and it turned the tide of the game."
The hot-handed Herbert didn't have a touch over the next three minutes as the Timberwolves committed six turnovers during an 18-5 run that gave the Redskins the lead before the teams went to the fourth knotted at 58.
"We just have to take care of the ball there," Spring Valley coach Cory Maynard said. "We worked on it in practice, we knew it was coming before the game. They just turned us over because we didn't take care of the ball. It was like a deer in headlights there for a three or four-minute stretch."
Henry Sorsaia led Hurricane with 25 points, including 15 in the third quarter with many coming during the big run to get back into the game. Rogoszewski ended the game with 18 in the win while Ace Estep added 12.
In addition to Herbert's 38 points, Spring Valley got 17 points from Jacob Kilgore. Both Kilgore and Herbert return next season for Spring Valley.
SPRING VALLEY 16 24 18 22 -- 80: Herbert 38, Steele 8, Keyser 7, Kilgore 17, Meade 4, Coleman 2, Conley 4
HURRICANE 21 13 24 23 -- 81: Sorsaia 25, Dawson 20, Estep 12, Defries 6, Rogoszewski 18
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