Lethargic HHS tops St. Albans, 55-42
HUNTINGTON — For the last two weeks, Huntington High guard Kiana Evans couldn’t wait for the first game of her final year with the Highlanders.
Even though things started out slow, the Highlanders ended with a 9-0 run to earn a 55-42 win over St. Albans on Tuesday night at Lucas-Archer Gymnasium.
“I was so excited that I couldn’t even sleep last night,” Evans said. “We were a little nervous and we were out of it early, but we came on at the end and got the win.”
Evans finished with a game-high 21 points, including back-to-back layups off of steals during the closing 90 seconds to push a tight contest into a double-digit win for Huntington High (1-0).
The final two minutes were a complete contrast to the rest of the fourth quarter for the Highlanders, who had just one field goal in the opening six minutes of the frame.
St. Albans used its defense and a leg-weary Highlanders squad to claw back within 46-42 on a basket by Katelyn Propst with 3:40 left.
“It was like we couldn’t get the gears shifted,” Huntington High coach Lonnie Lucas said. “Instead of shifting up into third gear, we shifted back into neutral and waited for someone to push us.”
It would be the Red Dragons’ final points of the game, however.
“I just said, ‘We can’t let them score anymore. We have to play good defense and get runs. That’s what we do,” Evans said. “That’s who we are, that’s what we do. We run the ball. That’s what we needed to do.”
Until the final burst by the Highlanders, the game had been a slow-paced, nip-tuck affair.
St. Albans’ tandem of Propst girls — Katelyn and Breana — kept the Red Dragons at arm’s length of the Highlanders throughout.
Breana Propst led the way with 15 points while Katelyn Propst finished with 11.
The game might not have been so close down the stretch had the Highlanders been able to knock down free throws. Huntington High finished just 9-of-27 from the foul line.
“Oh, goodness, I don’t even want to know what the percentage was,” Lucas said.
After being told the actual totals, he gave a smirk and looked for the positive in the matter.
“Well, I guess the good news is that we got to the line 27 times,” Lucas said.
Dominique Gibson finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Highlanders, including five points and four key rebounds in the fourth as Huntington High started using its size to dominate the smaller St. Albans lineup.
The Highlanders outrebounded St. Albans 42-24, led by Ericka Budd’s 11 boards.
Freshman Dazha Congleton added 10 points for Huntington High, who plays at Lincoln County on Friday.
ST. ALBANS 14 13 9 6 — 42: Wilson 9, B. Propst 15, K. Propst 11, Cooper 2, Fields 2, Davis 3.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 17 14 11 13 — 55: Williams 6, Congleton 10, Evans 21, Budd 4, Gibson 14.