HHS tops Spring Valley, 66-57
SPRING VALLEY -- In a Monday night battle of two of the top four teams in Class AAA girls basketball, the victor of No. 2 Spring Valley and No. 4 Huntington High came down to adjustments.
After a foul-laden first half for both teams, Huntington High was able to avoid foul trouble for the most part while forcing the Timberwolves into deep foul trouble in a 66-57 win for the Highlanders.
"I told them at halftime we'd adjust to fouls because they were in more foul trouble than we were," Huntington High coach Lonnie Lucas said. "I just told them to go out there and play and we'd balance it out as we go. They came out and didn't worry about it and just played."
The win put Huntington High (16-3) in the driver's seat in the Mountain State Athletic Conference West Division as the only undefeated team in divisional play while also avenging a loss to the Timberwolves early in the season in a non-conference matchup.
For Spring Valley (16-3), the loss ended a 16-game winning streak and put the Timberwolves second in the division.
Huntington High took control of the game at the start of the fourth quarter.
With a slim two-point lead heading into the final period, the Highlanders scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, including a three-point play by Lacy Johnson to cap the run. Not only did Johnson's three-point play push the lead to 55-45, it also fouled out Spring Valley point guard Sarah Kelly with more than five minutes remaining.
Kelly, who had just picked up her fourth foul to begin the fourth period, knotted the game 45-45 with back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter while teammate Madison Morris was on the sideline with four fouls.
As Kelly exited the game, Morris returned and helped the Timberwolves inch within 56-54, but she fouled out two possessions later after Alexis Williams grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up for a shot.
The Timberwolves didn't get any closer.
"We're not going to win any games with Sarah and Maddie sitting over beside us," Spring Valley coach Bo Miller said. "We have to have those two on the court and when they aren't out there, it affects us a bunch."
Miller said much of the Timberwolves' foul issues were based on a lack of rebounding -- a rarity for his team this season.
Huntington High outrebounded Spring Valley 42-30 and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, which Miller said were crucial.
"We didn't rebound on the defensive end and they were getting second shots and that was causing us to get out of position and to foul," Miller said. "That's what hurt us -- our positioning and our rebounding. We gave up second and third chances and that's when we were getting our fouls."
Marshall University signee Kiana Evans finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Highlanders while Dazha Congleton added 13 points and eight rebounds. Williams added 10 points.
Kelly, Madison Morris and Mackenzie Morris each had 14 points for Spring Valley. Madison Morris added 10 rebounds while Kelly finished with eight rebounds and seven assists.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 17 13 17 19 -- 66: Williams 10, Evans 21, Congleton 13, Budd 8, Johnson 7, Gibson 7.
SPRING VALLEY 14 12 19 12 -- 57: Mac. Morris 14, Mad. Morris 14, Kelly 14, Heck 7, Butcher 4, Mathis 1, Lemons 3.