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HHS bounces back to defeat Timberwolves

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Huntington High boys basketball coach Ron Hess wondered how his team would respond playing Wednesday night after losing a tough game against Ironton on Tuesday.

The answer was a positive one.

Arick Nicks used his size advantage inside for 32 points and 12 rebounds as the Highlanders (11-4) knocked off Spring Valley (4-11) 69-59.

"I was thrilled with how our kids came out and played tonight, because (the Ironton game) was a very physical game against a veteran team," said head coach Ron Hess.

Huntington High also got 15 points -- all on 3-pointers -- from freshman Tavian Dunn-Martin, who came off the bench in the second quarter.

"As long as he's taking good shots and it's in the flow of the offense, we're looking for him to score," Hess said of Dunn-Martin. "He was a real spark for us tonight, because in the beginning, (Spring Valley) was kind of laying off outside. (Dunn-Martin) came in and hit those threes, and that extended their defense out."

Nicks had 12 of his points in the third quarter, when Spring Valley had to step out to guard Dunn-Martin.

"I think any of us can play inside-outside," Nicks said. "I'm just the only big guy, so when there's a mismatch, we go inside. If there's a bigger guy down there, we go outside."

Hess said he thought the Highlanders did a good job of exploiting that mismatch throughout the game.

"I thought our kids did a great job of getting the ball to him," Hess said. "Our kids recognized the mismatch, and he posted up down low and they got him the ball."

The matchup was a tough one for the Timberwolves, a team that only has two real post players and doesn't have much depth, playing a six-man rotation.

Still, forward Jacob Kilgore managed 24 points for Spring Valley, and the Timberwolves hung tight for most of the game.

The game turned with less than a minute to go in the first half, when Kilgore picked up his third foul, and Dunn-Martin hit back-to-back 3-pointers, stretching what was a two-point lead into an eight-point advantage at halftime.

The Highlanders were able to stretch that to 11 by the end of the third, but Spring Valley didn't go away.

The Timberwolves turned to their press late, forcing a couple of turnovers that led to points, and had the lead whittled down to five with just more than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. But Huntington High was good enough at the free throw line down the stretch to hang on for the victory.

"I didn't like the way we finished the game," Hess said. "When we get out to a lead like that we've got to extend it."

SPRING VALLEY 9 17 19 14 -- 59: Kilgore 24, Austin Keyser 12, Greg Herbert 12, Steele 9, Meade 2.

HUNTINGTON HIGH 9 23 22 13 -- 69: Nicks 32, Dunn-Martin 15, Tubbs 8, Wooding 8, Demoss 4, Miller 2.