Elmore's 40 not enough for GW
CHARLESTON -- If someone only looks at the statistics from Huntington High's 72-64 win over George Washington, the initial impression won't be that it was a solid defensive performance after the Patriots' Jon Elmore finished with 40 points.
However, statistics aren't always what they seem to be.
In essence, the Highlanders did a good job of executing their game plan in their third matchup of the season with George Washington in a Thursday first round game of the boys basketball state tournament in the Charleston Civic Center.
"We know he got a lot of points, but we feel like we did a good job of stopping the other kids on the team," Huntington High coach Ron Hess said. "So we feel good about the win."
In the last meeting against George Washington -- a 70-55 Patriots' win in the Mountain State Athletic Conference second-place game -- the Highlanders limited Elmore to two points in the first half and 16 total. However, the Patriots led by 13 at halftime because Elmore was able to facilitate to teammates -- namely post player Anthony Dean and perimeter shooter Dominik King.
The Highlanders learned from their mistakes from that matchup and corrected them, keeping Dean from getting comfortable inside and not allowing George Washington any semblance of offense.
"(Elmore) can score in many different ways and we know he's going to get his points regardless," Huntington High senior Nick Tubbs said. "We wanted to come out and make sure that he doesn't get other people involved, too."
Elmore said despite seeing much of the focus throughout the day, the Highlanders were quick to recover to not allow any passing lanes.
"Their athleticism was really key in that," Elmore said. "They are really long and they can get after the ball. They anticipate really well."
Dean finished with 10 points, but it was on 4-of-14 shooting as the Highlanders were able to get back over off on helpside defense and contest his shots. King finished with zero points and only attempted two.
Even with Elmore's 40 points, the George Washington standout and favorite for West Virginia State Player of the Year had to go outside of his norm to score.
The Highlanders guarded him 94 feet and forced him to use a lot of energy in the first three quarters when he had just 13 points and visibly looked tired from the relentless pressure.
"Playing on this bigger court really makes you tired and drains you when you're trying to go 94 feet with guys hanging on you and chasing you down the entire game," Elmore said.
Furthermore, Elmore's 40 came on a 15-of-35 shooting performance and he got most of it with a 27-point fourth quarter.
The Highlanders did a good job of contesting shots and not allowing Elmore to shoot in rhythm as he finished 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
Those successes are not seen in a box score, but that is what led Huntington High into the state semifinals on Friday.