Highlanders fall late
CHARLESTON — Defensively, Huntington High's boys basketball team was able to keep Martinsburg out of rhythm for nearly 28 minutes.
In the final four minutes, the Bulldogs finally found their rhythm.
Martinsburg got a pair of crucial 3-pointers to jumpstart a 12-2 run to end the game and escape with a 60-50 win over Huntington High in the Class AAA quarterfinals on Wednesday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
"We came into this game with a good game plan, and I think in the first half we played fantastic -- took them out of what they wanted to do," Huntington High coach Ron Hess said. "I'm just so proud of my team and how hard they played. I think a lot of people thought we were going to come up here and take a big loss and we came up and gave them all they wanted."
Both No. 8 Huntington High and top seed Martinsburg went back-and-forth over the first four minutes of the final period with three ties and two lead changes in the short span.
However, Martinsburg's Jordan Robinson broke the final tie of the night, connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers in a 60-second span to turn a 48-all tie into a 54-48 Martinsburg advantage.
The shots ended the Highlanders' upset bid.
Until the shots, Huntington High (18-7) had led for much of the night behind the play of Arick Nicks, who finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
While Nicks was able to see success on the glass, the rest of his teammates struggled against the length of Martinsburg.
The Bulldogs owned a 21-8 edge on the glass in the second half and scored 25 second-chance points.
"That was the biggest key in the second half," Hess said. "We outrebounded them in the second half. In the second half, they got a lot more offensive rebounds in the second half and that was probably the key to the game."
Martinsburg (24-2) started to get into a bit of a flow late in the first half, tying the game at 25 on a jumper by Elijah Freeman with 1:24 remaining.
However, freshman Tavian Dunn-Martin drilled a 3-pointer, then hit Chancelor Wooding for a layup to make it 30-25 at the half. Wooding finished the game with 15 points.
Martin hit a 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the game to give the Highlanders their final lead. He finished with eight points as a spark off the bench.
"He's fearless," Hess said. "I know he's not real tall, but he's fearless and he's going to take the ball to the hole. He's got a good all-around game and he's not just a shooter."
After Martinsburg hit the opening 3-pointer of the game, Nicks went on a personal 8-0 run and had 10 points in the first quarter to push the Highlanders out to the early advantage.
He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half and said the Highlanders weren't intimidated by the Bulldogs.
"We just never back down from a team," Nicks said. "Because they are No. 1, (that) doesn't mean anything. Anybody can be beat."
Donte Grantham led Martinsburg with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Jalen Lewis had 11 points and Robinson added 10 - eight in the final run.
HUNTINGTON 14 16 9 11 -- 50: Miller 1-3 0-0 2, Tubbs 0-1 0-0 0, Nicks 6-7 6-9 19, Wooding 6-17 0-0 15, Demoss 3-7 0-0 6, Dunn-Martin 2-8 2-2 8, Mann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-44 8-11 50.
MARTINSBURG 13 12 15 20 -- 60: Robinson 4-7 0-0 10, Lewis 3-14 4-4 11, Cole 2-4 0-0 5, Grantham 8-15 0-0 16, German 3-6 2-2 8, Freeman 1-1 0-0 2, Jones 1-1 0-0 2, Long 3-8 0-0 6. Totals: 25-56 6-6 60.
3-point goals: Huntington 6-21 (Wooding 3-11, Dunn-Martin 2-6, Nicks 1-1, Miller 0-1, Demoss 0-2). Martinsburg 4-21 (Robinson 2-4, Cole 1-3, Lewis 1-8, Grantham 0-6). Rebounds: Huntington 26 (Nicks 11). Martinsburg 33 (Grantham 13).