First-half slam was spark for Redskins
CHARLESTON -- Early in Hurricane's first-round matchup with South Charleston, the Black Eagles were the aggressor, jumping out to a seven-point lead.
All it took was one burst from the legs of Hurricane's J.T. Rogoszewski to change the complexion of the contest.
Rogoszewski took a pass on a fast break and flushed the ball home one-handed to send the Hurricane fan base -- fittingly nicknamed the Crazy Canes -- into a frenzy.
It woke the Redskins up, and they didn't look back.
No. 5 seed Hurricane (20-6) moved past No. 4 South Charleston (24-2), 63-47, in a Class AAA first round game of the boys basketball state tournament in the Charleston Civic Center.
"It's a great intensity booster," Hurricane guard Trey Dawson said. "We know we had to come out with a lot of intensity, but when he does something like that, that just gets the crowd involved and it gets our intensity going and makes us play better defense."
South Charleston was completely shell-shocked by the dunk as it jump started a 10-0 run for Hurricane.
The Black Eagles weren't the only ones who didn't expect Rogoszewski to rise up and throw down.
"I'll be honest with you, South Charleston probably wasn't expecting that," Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland said. "I wasn't expecting that. And it did -- it kind of made us realize we're here and we don't want to go home."
From that point, the Redskins' defense turned up a notch in the zone, using active hands to force turnovers that led to fast break opportunities and got the frustrated Black Eagles into quick foul trouble.
Anthony Billings, South Charleston's top post defender, and A.D. Cunningham, the team's second-leading scorer and veteran leader, both picked up their second fouls during the run, putting the Black Eagles behind the 8-ball.
From there, the Redskins went to work, attacking the rim at will and getting layups or to the foul line.
Rogoszewski led the way with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting while Henry Sorsaia finished with 11 points. That duo combined for 17 free throw attempts.
South Charleston came into the contest as the team with all the momentum, having won 20 consecutive games. The Black Eagles' success had been predicated on their aggressive nature and a defense that gets up in opponents.
On this day, however, they were beaten at their own game.
And it all started with Rogoszewski rising up, throwing down and taking the Redskins on his back with one above-the-rim move.