HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley had no plan for Huntington High’s big men.
Amare Smith scored 26 points and Eli Archer 20 as Huntington defeated Spring Valley 74-67 at the Wolves Den on Friday. Smith also pulled down five rebounds and knocked down four 3-pointers as part of a big night for the junior.
Smith made two deep threes early in the fourth period when Spring Valley (10-9) was trying to rally from a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Nate Ellis had scored a basket to end that period only to have Smith answer with his first 3-pointer of the fourth period.
C.J. Meredith then answered for the Timberwolves with a pair of 3-pointers, six of his team high 21 on the night, only to have Smith follow up with another three that kept Huntington High (11-9) in front 59-55 with 6:24 to play.
The teams stayed within a possession of each other through the early minutes of the final period until Archer and Smith scored big baskets that rebuilt the Highlanders’ lead.
Archer’s big game came after he left at halftime due to illness and was unable to continue in Huntington’s win over Wyoming East on Tuesday in the Little General Shootout.
“I just wanted to play in this one,” said Archer. “I wanted to get down there and play post. This was a big win, one that we needed.”
Both teams started aggressive on offense with Huntington emerging from the first period with a slim 22-19 lead. Archer and Smith however built that to a 12-point lead through the 6:08 mark of the second period.
Spring Valley managed to cut the lead to 41-32 by halftime behind Brock Booth’s 11 first-half points, but managed just 11 combined points from its leading scorers, Meredith and Corbin Page.
Meredith scored nine points in the first half but got more involved in the offense after halftime.
Meredith knocked down a three and followed that up with a two-point field goal to cut Huntington’s halftime lead to 41-38 at 5:32 of the third. Meredith was even with Smith for 26 points until the Spring Valley senior knocked down a three with four seconds left that set the score.
After four lead changes and a tie in the first quarter, though, Spring Valley was able to cut the lead to one point but could not draw within a tie or take a lead for the rest of the way.
“Where we are in the sectional isn’t as big a deal to us,” Meredith said. “This is just more of a mental loss and how we’re playing at this point of the year means a lot more. We just need to come back and be more focused.
The game was the final matchup against a sectional team for Spring Valley which went 2-3 against Cabell Midland, Huntington and Hurricane. The Timberwolves lost twice to the Knights and split with the Highlanders.
Spring Valley will play at Ironton on Saturday, then finish with the MSAC placement game and then host St. Albans in its regular season finale on Feb. 25.
Huntington will be home to Boyd County on Tuesday and then finish with its MSAC placement game on Feb. 22.
HUNTINGTON 22 19 14 19 — 74: Patterson 6, Page 6, Lochow 3, Smith 26, Archer 20, Sims 11, White 2.
SPRING VALLEY 19 13 15 20 — 67: Maynard 6, Booth 16, Meredith 29, Page 6, Livingston 4, Caldwell 2, Ellis 4.