Girls basketball: Huntington claims MSAC crown
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Little did the George Washington fans, players, and coaches realize that the narrow one-pointy lead Huntington held at halftime Saturday meant the Highlanders had the Patriots right where they wanted them.
At least not for awhile.
Huntington broke the game open and pulled away to a 72-51 win in the Mountain State Athletic Conference girls basketball championship game in front of a crowd of about 700 at the South Charleston Community Center.
"We had a starter out and only nine players," veteran Huntington coach Lonnie Lucas said in a hoarse voice. "So we were hoping to go into halftime with it close and not be in foul trouble."
Senior wing Alexis Williams missed the contest due to illness.
Down just 26-25 and without any players in foul trouble the Highlanders achieved their goal.
In the second half they picked up the defensive pressure and became more aggressive on offense.
Especially senior Kianna Evans, who erupted for 12 points in the third quarter on the way to a game high 27.
"When she gets on a roll it doesn't matter what happens," Lucas said. "She's going to score."
When Evans or any of her teammates did miss Huntington's interior duo of freshman Ericka Budd and senior Dominique Gibson dominated the offensive boards. Budd pulled down 17 rebounds, nine on the offensive end and ended up with 19 points. Gibson finished with 12 rebounds and 11 points.
The Highlanders out-rebounded the Patriots (14-8) by a 43-30 margin.
The game played out very much like the first meeting between the squads won by Huntington 69-50 at George Washington.
The Highlanders (18-4) also led that game by just one at halftime.
Kelly Jo Harrison led the Patriots with 20 points and nine rebounds with Rachel Ward adding 16 and Alanna Mobayed 10.
SPRING VALLEY 82, PARKERSBURG 51 - When Parkersburg (13-9) cut Spring Valley's early lead to just four points at 24-20 Timberwolves' coach Bo Miller called a quick timeout.
"I had to re-explain to them how we run our press-breaker," Miller said. "They were forcing us into too many mistakes."
That little refresher was all his players needed.
Spring Valley proceeded to take off on a 13-2 run and the Big Reds never recovered.
"Our transition defense killed us," Parkersburg coach Kenny DeMoss said. "We weren't getting back."
The Timberwolves hit 54 percent from the floor in each half as their quick ball movement led to one open shot after another. A total of eight different players finished with assists and 12 scored.
Madison Morris paced Spring Valley with 16 points while Kenny Walker and Imani Ward each finished with 11 points to lead Parkersburg.