Hurricane throws scare into Woodrow Wilson before falling
CHARLESTON -- Not since Jan. 10 had Woodrow Wilson found itself in a tight game entering the late stages of the fourth period.
The Flying Eagles had reeled off 17 straight wins with only one by fewer than 10 points. Wednesday, Woodrow Wilson, which had beaten Hurricane 83-66 in the second game of the regular season, found itself clinging to a 1-point lead (53-52) over these same Redskins in the quarterfinal round in the West Virginia High School Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.
Hurricane actually failed on two attempts to take the lead and then Donte Nabors nailed a three-pointer with 2:30 left to give Woodrow Wilson a 56-52 advantage. Nequan Carrington, Andrew Johnson and Nabors combined to make seven of nine free throws down the stretch to secure a 63-54 win for the No. 2 seed in Class AAA.
"The guys gutted it out. Give them all the credit," Flying Eagles coach Ronald Kidd said. "Donte hit a big three."
"They can shoot. They've got a good team," Johnson said of the Redskins (20-6). "We had to stop the runs. You can't expect to blow any team out. There'll be no gimmies here. The top eight in the state are here."
Hurricane, making its first state tournament as a Class AAA school, trailed 51-41 entering the final period. When Ian Miles made one of two free throws, the Redskins had their vocal cheering section and many in the crowd thinking upset. However, Hurricane had no field goals over the final six minutes.
"That's what our guys did all year," Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland said. "They didn't get rattled, didn't get shook. I had all the confidence in the world they'd make a game of it."
Woodrow Wilson (22-4) returns to the semifinals in the 100th annual tournament for the first time since 2009. The Flying Eagles have won a record 16 state titles, but none since 2008. They'll meet the South Charleston/Morgantown winner on Friday at 9 p.m. South Charleston and Morgantown play Thursday at 7:15.
Johnson led the Flying Eagles with 20 points. Nabors added 15 and Chase Hancock 13.
Trey Dawson led Hurricane with 16 points and Rasaan Harris added 14. Henry Sorsaia, one of the team's top scorers, got into foul trouble early and managed just eight points to go with nine rebounds. From the field, Hurricane attempted 31 threes and made just seven.
"It was a game of runs, of punches," Sutherland said. "I think we took Beckley's punches well. Unfortunately, things didn't go our way at the end. Still I'm very proud of them."
Johnson knows Woodrow Wilson's tradition will make opponents play that much harder.
"We have to live up to the tradition," Johnson said. "Coach told us to pick it up or we wouldn't be here Friday."
"We knew it would be tough," Kidd said of going up against a team it already had beaten soundly. "Hurricane came in with a good plan. When he (Sutherland) gets that program going, look out."
Harris said the Redskins did all they could to give fans a chance to return Friday night and cheer again. On Tuesday, there was a pep rally at the school.
"The whole community was behind us," he said. "They did it for us. We wanted to do it for them, give back. We got stationary at times and that hurt us."
HURRICANE 14 18 9 13 -- 54: Sorsaia 3-6 1-2 8, Harris 3-15 7-11 14, Dawson 5-14 3-3 16, Estep 4-10 0-0 9, Miles 1-5 2-6 5, Renick 0-0 0-0 0, Fenerty 0-3 0-2 0, DeFries 1-6 0-0 2, Carey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-59 13-24 54.
WOODROW WILSON 16 16 16 15 -- 63: Johnson 6-16 5-7 20, Nabors 5-21 4-5 15, C. Hancock 5-7 3-3 13, Carrington 1-2 2-4 4, Osborne 1-4 0-0 2, Deems 0-2 0-0 0, Breckenridge 2-5 1-2 5, Fortune 0-2 0-0 0, N. Hancock 2-3 0-1 4. Totals: 22-62 15-22 63.
3-point baskets: Hurricane 7-31 (Sorsaia 1, Harris 1-9, Dawson 3-10, Estep 1-3, Miles 1-4, DeFries 0-4). Woodrow Wilson 4-13 (Johnson 3-7, Nabors 1-5, Osborne 0-1). Rebounds: Hurricane 42 (Sorsaia 9); Woodrow Wilson 50 (Nabors 8, Carrington 8, Osborne 8).