Boys basketball: Hurricane will play in first MSAC Night of Champions
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- Lance Sutherland's coaching journey at Hurricane High began in 1997 when he guided the Redskins freshman team.
Sixteen years later, the last three as Hurricane's varsity head coach, Sutherland stood on his homecourt sideline, beaming with the knowledge that his team has reached a position it never before has reached.
Led by senior guard Rasaan Harris' game-high 23 points, the Redskins held on to beat Huntington High 60-56 on Thursday night, a win that locked the team into its first berth in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Night of Champions. Hurricane (15-4) cannot fall out of the No. 2 spot in the MSAC's West Division.
"I'm kind of numb," Sutherland said. "I was hoping we'd get here eventually. Our first goal was to have that first winning season, then back-to-back winning seasons and, down the road, hopefully that would happen."
It happened thanks to Harris' fourth-quarter scoring barrage. The senior had a hand in every one of the Redskins' final 14 points of the game. He scored 12 and found Trey Dawson for a basket during that streak. The Highlanders (14-5) had taken a 48-46 lead on a Chancelor Wooding basket right before Harris' flurry.
But the senior scored to tie the game at 48, then hit a runner and a driving layup to force Huntington to take a time out with 5:24 left, trailing 52-49. The Highlanders never led again, as Harris closed out the game by hitting 4-of-5 free throws in the final minutes.
"I went into the game with a chip on my shoulder," said Harris, who also finished with eight rebounds and seven assists. "Huntington is a really scrappy team and really athletic. I knew going into the game what I was up against and I knew what I wanted to accomplish going into the game."
Harris has been a starter for Sutherland since he was a freshman, first for one season on junior varsity and every year in Sutherland's three as varsity coach. Sutherland knows Harris is capable of this type of performance.
"He's a leader and he knows how to win a game," Sutherland said. "He knows what it takes."
The Redskins and Highlanders began the game in a full sprint, zipping back and forth between the hoops. It looked like Hurricane would begin to cruise, jumping out to a 16-6 first-quarter lead. Yet behind senior guard Shaquan Miller, the Highlanders were able to pull nearly even with Hurricane. Miller hit two 3-pointers at the end of the quarter to cut Hurricane's lead to 18-16.
Neither team led by more than six until Harris' fourth-quarter scoring torrent. Huntington Coach Ron Hess said the team performed admirably in the first half, despite missing center Arick Nicks for most of that span due to foul trouble. Nicks, who scored 24 in a win over St. Albans on Tuesday, finished with nine points against Hurricane.
Hess said the Highlanders' shot selection needed to be better against the Redskins. Huntington was 25 for 57 from the floor (43.8 percent) and made only 1-of-7 free throws in the game. Nicks made one of five and Antwan Washington missed both of his.
"We just weren't making any shots at the beginning," Hess said. "Then again, we need to get the ball inside. It's got to go inside out rather than our shots coming from the outside. That's how we usually run our offense.
"We'll get better," he added. "It's definitely not a good loss, because it was big on our side of the conference.
"What we're looking for is into sectionals and regionals. This shows us we've got to get better."
Miller led Huntington with 16 points, with Wooding scoring 13. Henry Sorsaia added 14 points for Hurricane. Now the Redskins can get ready for the Night of Champions. It's an unknown territory for Hurricane, but it's a trip Harris said the entire team will cherish.
"I think it'll be a great experience for our young guys, to get their feet wet for the years to come," Harris said. "I'm here playing for them. They're here playing for us. We're together as a team, so I think it'll be great for all of us to get that experience."
Huntington (14-5) FG FT Pts
Shaquan Miller 7-15 0-0 16
Nick Tubbs 3-6 0-0 6
Arick Nicks 4-8 1-5 9
Tavian Dunn-Martin 3-5 0-0 8
Antwan Washington 1-2 0-2 2
Chancelor Wooding 6-14 0-0 13
Nathan Demoss 1-5 0-0 2
Totals 25-57 1-7 56
Percentages .438 .142
Hurricane (15-4) FG FT Pts
Henry Sorsaia 7-10 0-0 14
Rasaan Harris 9-14 5-7 23
Trey Dawson 4-7 0-0 9
Alexander Estep 3-7 1-2 7
Garrett DeFries 1-1 0-0 2
Joseph Rogoszewski 0-1 0-0 0
Ethan Renick 0-0 0-0 0
Totals 26-43 7-11 60
Percentages .604 .636
Huntington 16 18 10 12-56
Hurricane 18 21 6 13-60
Rebounds: Huntington 28, Hurricane 23
Assists: Huntington 11, Hurricane 12
Steals: Huntington 6, Hurricane 8
Blocked shots: Huntington 4, Hurricane 3
Fouled out: None
Technical fouls: None