Spring Valley tops HHS
HUNTINGTON -- The Spring Valley High School girls basketball team was 10-for-30 30 from the free throw line Thursday night against Huntington High.
But one of those misses proved to be a blessing in disguise as the Timberwolves toppled the Highlanders on Huntington High's home floor, 61-57.
The Highlanders had charged back from a 12-point deficit with less than five minutes to go in the final quarter to trail by only one, 58-57, when Spring Valley guard Sarah Kelly hit a free throw with 7.3 seconds remaining, to push the lead to two.
As Kelly's second shot rimmed out, Timberwolves forward Madison Morris stepped in the lane, grabbed the rebound and stuck it back for two points, putting Spring Valley up by four and denying Huntington High a chance to tie or take the lead as time ran out.
"We fell asleep on that foul shot," Highlanders head coach Lonnie Lucas said. "We should have had one more try with the rebound and we didn't get it."
Morris, a sophomore, finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Huntington High's big gun on offense, Marshall University signee Kiana Evans, was misfiring most of the night, and didn't get her first bucket from the floor until the 2:53 mark of the fourth quarter.
Still, Evans sparked the Highlanders' comeback, hitting two more driving layups until fouling out to put Kelly on the line in the deciding final sequence.
Lucas called it an off-night for the Highlanders leading scorer, while Spring Valley head coach Bo Miller praised his defense.
"You can't let (Evans) get started early, and I think Sarah Kelly did a real good job on her," Miller said. "Then, (Kelly) got into some foul trouble so we had to go to a 2-3 zone, but I think by that time Kiana was kind of out of her rhythm. I think if you let her get in a rhythm, she'll absolutely kill you."
All six of Evans' points from the floor came within the last three minutes. She also added seven free throws for a total of 13 points.
The Timberwolves were led by Madison Morris' older sister, senior Mackenzie Morris, who had 17 points that included three strikes from behind the 3-point line.
It was a three from Mackenzie that gave the Timberwolves their largest lead of the night at 54-42.
"We can always count on those two (the Morris sisters)," Miller said. "Whether it be a rebound or a basket or a three."
Spring Valley has now won six straight for a 6-2 record.
"Anytime you can come up here and beat Huntington, it's a big deal, especially for us," Miller said.
The Highlanders are also 6-2, and Lucas said this loss is a growing pain in the development of a young team.
"This is early, even though it's the eighth game, it's still early," Lucas said. "You haven't had the consistency in practices or games yet with Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the holidays.
"They outplayed us tonight," he added. "We had little spurts of playing well, but they outplayed us."
SPRING VALLEY 20 9 13 16 -- 61: Mackenzie Morris 17, Madison Morris 15, Heck 12, Lemons 6, Kelly 5, Butcher 6.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 13 12 12 20 -- 57: Evans 13, Williams 10, Congleton 10, Johnson 9, Budd 9, Gibson 6.