Hurricane knocks off Highlanders, 60-56
HURRICANE -- In a pressure-cooker of a boys basketball game, Hurricane prevailed over Huntington High, 60-56, Thursday night, locking the Redskins in as the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament, or "Night of Champions."
It was a hectic game in which bodies flew all over the court, and leads exchanged hands more than a few times down the stretch.
Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland said he was almost at a loss for words following the victory.
"In years past, we would have folded when the pressure came on," Sutherland said. "And we didn't handle it great tonight, but we did handle it. It's been a long time since we've beaten Huntington and they're a great team."
Huntington High had overtaken Hurricane in the early fourth quarter and built a three-point lead, but Hurricane answered with a 6-1 run to go up 54-49 with under four minutes remaining.
Senior guard Rasaan Harris spurred the Redskins on in the fourth, scoring 12 of the team's 15 points in the final quarter.
"That's senior leadership," Sutherland said.
"He knows what I expect of him, and he went out there and performed."
Hurricane maybe thought it was safe at 58-51 with just over a minute remaining, when Huntington High's Tavian Dunn-Martin buried a three, the Redskins turned the ball over, and Arick Nicks got a layup. All of a sudden, it was a 58-56 game with less than a minute on the clock.
Huntington had a couple looks to tie or take the lead, but couldn't knock the shots down, and Harris hit two clutch freethrows with 19 seconds on the clock to set the final score.
For Huntington High (12-5), it was a rough night offensively, and the Highlanders looked at times like they were forcing their offense.
"We like to push the ball, and come up, but if we don't have a layup, when we come up we need to pull it back and get into our sets," Highlander coach Ron Hess said. "I would have like to have seen us set up and get the ball inside to Arick (Nicks). I think we got away from that at times when we could have put the ball down low and built on that lead once we got it. I think we just shot the ball too quickly a few times."
Nicks battled foul trouble for most of the game and never could quite get on track, finishing with 9 points.
Hess said he liked what he saw from his team while Nicks was forced to sit, as the Highlanders showed they're not relying just on one player.
Hurricane (15-4) has never played in the Night of Champions before. It's a giant leap for a program that Sutherland took control of in 2008.
"We were hoping when we started this thing a few years ago this would happen, and it has, and these kids deserve it," Sutherland said. "They bust their butts. We thought this could happen, but we didn't expect it this soon."
Huntington is looking to take the No. 3 spot in the tournament, though the Highlanders still have some work to do to wrap that up.
Hess said the team focus is beyond a good seed in conference tournament.
"Our main goal is of course to go to state; to play well in the sectionals and regionals and get to state," Hess said.
HUNTINGTON 16 18 10 12 -- 56: Shaquan Miller 16, Tubbs 4, Nicks 9, Chancelor Wooding 15, Demoss 2, Dunn-Martin 8, Washington 2.
HURRICANE 18 21 6 15 -- 60: Harris 23, Henry Sorsaia 14, Dawson 9, Miles 5, Estep 7, DeFries 2.