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Boys basketball: Sorsaia, Redskins top St. Albans

By Nick Brockman

Forty-two points won't win a lot of basketball games, but the Hurricane boys squad made it count against St. Albans' tough defense Wednesday night.

The Redskins entered as one of the strongest teams in the Kanawha Valley, though Hurricane could not crack the Red Dragons' zone until the second half, eventually winning 42-31.

"We just changed our approach to attacking the zone and it worked," Hurricane Coach Lance Sutherland said. "We were trying to get out of the fog, and they did, and (we) started attacking the gaps and getting the ball in the post, look low. It was there, and it was there the whole game. We just didn't exploit it until we decided it was time to play."

The teams entered halftime tied 18 all with plenty of passing around the perimeter in search of scoring opportunities. St. Albans trailed by just five entering the fourth quarter despite just one field goal in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Hurricane unlocked the key to St. Albans' zone.

Midway through the fourth, the Redskins scored six straight points from junior Henry Sorsaia to push the advantage to 10 points.

On all three plays, Sorsaia slipped behind the Red Dragons' defense as Hurricane guard Rasaan Harris commanded attention attacking the zone. Harris dished each time to Sorsaia below the basket, who converted the bucket.

Sorsaia said Hurricane played with more vigor and focus in the second half, leading to the improved play.

"In the beginning we weren't running our offense very well," he said. "We were just standing around. The second half, I think we picked it up, running through our offense and getting easy buckets."

With a double-digit lead in hand and less than 4 minutes to play, it was more than enough for the Redskins to escape with the win.

St. Albans Coach Marshall Kiser said he was pleased by his team's effort, but some mistakes in the final minutes cost the Red Dragons.

"We played very well for three, three and a half quarters, and we didn't execute very well coming down the stretch," he said. "We had four straight possessions where we turned the ball over on unforced turnovers."

Despite Hurricane's many offensive weapons, Kiser said the zone worked rather effectively for St. Albans.

"They present a lot of problems trying to guard them," Kiser said. "They're fast and they got shooters. We're primarily a zone team this year, and so it's kind of a challenge to get out there and cover those shooters, but I thought our kids did well."

Meanwhile, Hurricane played tight on defense too, led by Ian Miles who matched against St. Albans' top-scoring threat Nathan McNeil.

"We just tried to deny McNeil the ball," Sutherland said. "Ian Miles is a hellacious defensive player, and he did (deny McNeil), and it worked.

"(McNeil) had a couple open shots, but other than that, he worked hard for everything."

McNeil finished with six points, almost 10 below his average (15.6).

For the Redskins, their 42 points was well below average, too. Hurricane entered the contest averaging 69 per game.

After a 47-45 victory at Winfield Friday, Sutherland said he expected a low-scoring affair.

"Coming off the Winfield game, I expected to be a little flat," he said.

"I didn't expect to be that flat. I didn't expect the 2-3 zone to hurt us that much, but it did. We didn't shoot the ball very well the first half. We threw the ball all around the gym. I just don't think we were ready to play."

Sutherland said he credited the Red Dragons' play as well for making a difficult contest.

"They're a very good team and they'll get it turned around," he said. "They'll beat some people."

Sorsaia finished with a game-high 13 points, while Harris scored 11. Sophomore Trey Dawson scored 10, all in the second half.

Quamise Carter, coming off the bench, paced St. Albans with eight points.

Hurricane returns to action to play host to Nitro 7:30 p.m. Friday, while St. Albans next plays at Winfield 7:30 p.m. Friday.


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