HHS falls to South Charleston
HUNTINGTON -- Huntington High has seen success this season by turning up the tempo and turning up the aggressive play on its opposition.
On Tuesday night, the Highlanders (9-3) got a dose of their own medicine, falling 66-46 to a South Charleston (12-1) boys basketball team who forced 24 turnovers to win easily.
"I was surprised at how we played tonight," HHS coach Ron Hess said. "We had been playing pretty good ball the last couple of weeks and playing team basketball. We just weren't aggressive tonight like we were the past few games. I'll take the blame for that. I've got to have us more prepared and ready to play. We just weren't aggressive enough."
South Charleston, the top-ranked team in Class AAA, never trailed in the contest, scoring 10 of the first 12 points and withstanding an early run by Huntington High before using its defense to lead to instant transition offense.
The key run in the contest came near the end of the first half as the Highlanders, ranked seventh in Class AAA, started to establish a little rhythm.
Trailing 20-19, Huntington High's Arick Nicks had a pair of free throws rim out to squash the Highlanders' attempt at a lead.
Instead, the Black Eagles went on an 8-0 run to end the half, highlighted by a 3-pointer just before the buzzer by Devon Harris -- his fourth of the half -- to take a 28-19 lead to the locker room.
The run continued following halftime as South Charleston sensed Huntington High's frustration from turnovers and turned up the pressure.
By the time the dust settled, the once one-point lead from midway in the second quarter had ballooned to a 21-point lead just eight minutes later.
"Even when we beat their press, we wouldn't attack it," Hess said. "We have to attack. We'd have our advantage coming down and we'd wait on them to come trap us again instead of attack them. They (South Charleston) played well and played hard, and we just weren't aggressive."
The turnover problems were two-fold for the Highlanders, who made several mistakes with lazy lob passes over the top or cross-court passes that South Charleston's speedy guards picked off with ease.
Not only did those passes get the Black Eagles into transition quickly, but they also kept the Highlanders from getting into their offense and getting the ball to Nicks in the post.
After keying the Highlanders' early comeback, Nicks fell silent from the middle of the second quarter on because a lack of touches. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
"We didn't run hardly any sets tonight," Hess said. "They took us out of our offensive schemes and (kept us) from getting the ball inside. I'm sure that's what they wanted to do. We have to do a better job of handling pressure."
Harris finished the game with five 3-pointers and 20 points to lead South Charleston while Neal Brown added 10 points.
SOUTH CHARLESTON 13 15 19 19 -- 66: Cunningham 8, Harris 20, Dean 2, Moles 7, Williams 4, Brown 10 Kincaid 9, Reese 6.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 12 7 12 15 -- 46: Meadows 7, Nicks 9, Wooding 3, Howard 2, Demoss 8, Tubbs 4, Miller 10, Dunn-Martin 3.